Whether you need a dental filling or porcelain, most dental procedures are pre-planned and based on appointments. However, there are certain cases where immediate dental treatment is required. For example, if you or a loved one has uncontrolled bleeding due to an oral injury, this constitutes an emergency, and it must be treated right away. Dentists who specialise in providing immediate dental care in the case of an injury or life-threatening dental conditions are called emergency dentists. Unfortunately, many people do not understand a dental emergency and when to see an emergency dentist. If you are also wondering what an emergency dentist does, this article is for you. Continue reading to find out more about emergency dentistry.
What Does An Emergency Dentist Do?
Emergency dentists are dental professionals who, in addition to being dentists, obtain additional specialisation and training to treat dental problems and injuries that may be potentially life-threatening and require immediate treatment. While dentists from other specialities only offer their services during business hours, many emergency dental offices are open round the clock or at least have emergency hotline numbers for patients to request an urgent appointment in the case of an emergency.
What Is A Dental Emergency, And What Is Not?
According to the American Dental Association, any situation that may prove potentially life-threatening if not treated immediately is a dental emergency. For example, dental conditions involving uncontrolled bleeding, severe infections, and extreme pain constitute a dental emergency. On the other hand, cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening and veneers and non-essential. Hence, they are not considered a dental emergency.
What Are The Common Dental Emergencies?
Some common dental emergencies include, but are not limited to the following:
- Uncontrolled bleeding due to the accident or trauma
- Severe dental infection that extends to other body parts
- Pericoronitis – a condition where the soft tissues surrounding an impacted tooth get inflamed
- Dry socket – a painful condition related to clot dislodgement following tooth extraction
- Tooth fracture or chipped teeth that cause pain
- Knocked-out teeth
- Dislodged filling or crown
- Something stuck between two teeth
- A dislodged orthodontic wire that impinges on oral soft tissues
- Dislocated or fractured jaw
- Severe toothache that is not relieved with pain medication
- Tooth decay that causes tooth sensitivity
What Do People Think Is A Dental Emergency But Actually Isn’t?
A dislodged orthodontic bracket may seem like a situation that needs urgent treatment. However, it is not. A dislodged bracket may delay your orthodontic treatment slightly but it is not something you should be extremely worried about. Unless you accidentally inhale the bracket – an actual emergency – you can wait until the next business day to fix the problem.
How Long Can A Tooth Abscess Wait For Treatment?
A dental abscess forms inside the oral cavity due to long-standing dental infection that causes pus-filled collection in a localized region. If a dental abscess remains localized, it will cause significant pain, discomfort, swelling and redness in the area. However, if the infection travels to other body parts, it can constitute a medical emergency causing systemic symptoms like fever, lethargy and shortness of breath. Left untreated, an abscess can turn into a life-threatening dental emergency. Therefore, an abscess should be treated as soon as possible. The sooner the treatment is sought, the lower is the risk of side effects and complications.
What Is An Emergency Root Canal Treatment?
A root canal treatment is a procedure in which your dentist will remove the inflamed pulp tissue from inside your teeth and replace it with an inert material. An emergency root canal is typically required when an infection of the dental pulp tissue builds up pressure inside the tooth and causes extreme pain and discomfort. In such cases, dentists usually drill a hole in the tooth and expose the tooth’s interior that houses the pulp tissue, to relieve the pressure and pain. After emergency treatment, the next steps of a root canal procedure are performed routinely.
When Should I Contact An Emergency Dentist?
If you feel that you or a loved one are in a situation that requires immediate treatment, such as bleeding, knocked-out or fractured tooth, or severe dental abscess pain, you should contact your emergency dentist immediately. Even if you have an emergency after business hours or over the weekend, you can still contact your dentist over the emergency hotline for further advice. If you’re unsure whether it is an emergency or not, better to call your dentist and confirm with them.
How Do You Determine If You Need Emergency Dental Work?
You may need emergency dental treatment if you have either of the following:
- Loss of dental function
- Difficulty in opening or closing the mouth
- Severe toothache
- Swelling that causes fever and difficulty in breathing
- An avulsed or broken tooth
How Can An Emergency Dentist Help You?
An emergency dentist is trained in treating all kinds of dental emergencies – from fractured teeth to dislocated jaws. For example, if you have an avulsed tooth and you manage to see your dentist right away, they may be able to put the tooth back into its socket so that it can re-attach. Similarly, your dentist may be able to re-attach a dislodged crown without the need for repair or replacement. Therefore, it is essential that you visit an emergency dentist as soon as possible when suffering from an injury or another emergency situation.
I Have A Dental Emergency. What Should I Do?
Depending on the type of your emergency, take measures to minimise the damage. For example, in the case of bleeding, place a clean cloth over the area and gently press on it to control the bleeding. Alternatively, if you have an avulsed tooth, try reinserting in into its socket. However, don’t use excessive force if it does not sit properly in the socket. Meanwhile, you should call your dentist right away for an emergency dentist appointment. If you are out of town, walk into a nearby emergency dentist office or an ER for immediate treatment.
If you or a loved one experiences a dental emergency in Watford, The Smile Practice is there to offer immediate treatment. Whether you have severe tooth pain or bleeding due to an injury, we will fix the issue in no time. We also provide high-quality non-emergency dental services to give you a beautiful, healthy, and attractive smile. So, if you want your entire family’s treatment done under one roof, book a free video consultation with us today, and we will be happy to take care of all your oral health issues.
This post has been written by Dr Ajay Murgai, he is a highly experienced General and Cosmetic Dental Surgeon. Dr Ajay runs clinics in Hertfordshire, South Oxfordshire and Harley Street, and carries out a full spectrum of treatments from Aesthetic Dentistry to routine examinations.