What Constitutes a Dental Emergency?

dental emergencyIt’s fair to say that when it comes to a medical emergency at least, most people know what they need to do. They know who to call and whether they should visit an urgent care facility or a doctor’s office.

But what about dentistry?

Many people remain confused about when they need to make an immediate emergency call or make an appointment at the earliest possible opportunity. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at what constitutes a dental emergency and when you should make the call…

It’s estimated that 22% of people have experienced some type of dental discomfort in the last 12 months, showing just how common oral problems are. But does every type of dental pain result in a trip to ER, or can it be dealt with by your dentist? Here are some things you need to consider…

Absolute dental emergencies

  • Are you in severe pain that can’t be controlled by over-the-counter medications?•
  • Do you show signs of bleeding from the teeth or mouth that won’t stop?
  • Do you have a serious infection that makes breathing or swallowing difficult or
  •  Have you just experienced a knocked-out tooth or teeth?

If the answer to any of the above is yes then these situations are most definitely dental emergencies. As a result, you should always call your nearest emergency dentist or visit your nearest emergency room for immediate treatment – whatever time of the day or night.

To sum up…

Any dental symptoms needing immediate treatment to control severe pain, bleeding, or to aid breathing are classed as dental emergencies of the highest priority and should be treated as such.
Lesser problems but still dental emergencies nonetheless.
Alternatively, If you experience…
• Long-lasting dental discomfort that comes and goes sporadically
• A problematic infection such as an abscessed tooth that isn’t causing breathing problems or
• A broken tooth that remains attached
…then we would still recommend that you speak to a local dentist offering emergency dental care. They will decide the best course of action after speaking to you over the phone. It could be that they suggest you come in immediately or alternatively, they may decide that the best course of action is to wait until the following day when the dental office is open and slot you in during normal working hours. Either way, in any of these situations, it pays to be seen sooner rather than later.

So now you know what constitutes a dental emergency, let’s take a look at what doesn’t…

In reality, any dental issue that can wait until your dentist can see you over the next 48-72 hours shouldn’t be classed as a dental emergency. Of course, it’s ideal in these situations if you can get seen at the earliest opportunity, but typically, these scenarios are not life-threatening or life-changing and therefore do not warrant an emergency dental visit. Factors like…

• A chipped or cracked tooth that isn’t causing pain
• A broken denture or orthodontic appliance or
• A lost crown or filling
…are not normally classed as emergency treatments. Priority treatments yes, but typically, they do not warrant immediate treatment unless of course, there are underlying problems.

Same-day emergency and priority dental appointments

That said, here at Chesterfield Dentistry, Dr. Melba Akinwande and her team leave gaps in their busy schedule to accommodate both emergency and priority cases. For this reason, they provide same-day appointments enabling them to fix particular dental issues or at the very least, relieve discomfort within 24 hours.

If you are concerned about what you should do then don’t worry. Give us a call and we will talk you through the exact steps you need to take before you visit us to ensure you remain comfortable.

If you believe that you have a dental emergency or a priority case, give the team at Chesterfield Dentistry a call. We have access to a wide range of payment options and dental insurances enabling you better access to the treatment you need when you need it most. Call today on 314-786-3360