What Constitutes a Dental Emergency?
An emergency arises when you find yourself needing immediate dental attention without prior notice. Imagine waking up one day, experiencing sudden pain, or perhaps something has broken in your mouth, causing discomfort that demands immediate care.
In these instances, there's usually no scheduled appointment, and often no one is aware of your need for urgent attention. This prompts questions like, "When should I rush to the dentist as an emergency? When is a visit to the emergency room more appropriate? And when can I simply schedule a regular appointment?"
When to Seek an Emergency Dental Visit?
Let's begin with the scenario where you're going about your day as usual – eating, working, or whatever the case may be – when suddenly, you feel a sharp pain, notice something has cracked, or even taste debris, which can indicate a dental issue. In such cases, an emergency dental visit is warranted.
What if it's after hours, and you're dealing with swelling, making it impossible to wait for a dentist's office to open at 2 or 3 in the morning? When you find yourself swollen, struggling to breathe due to something obstructing your airway, or experiencing excruciating pain, especially during those late-night hours, heading to the emergency room might be the best course of action.
On the flip side, if something has broken but isn't causing pain and isn't significantly disrupting your daily life – no need for pain medications, no work or routine interruptions – then scheduling a regular dental appointment would be more suitable.
What Are Common Types of Dental Emergencies?
Tooth pain can result from a range of issues. It could be related to a filling you've neglected, one you've been meaning to address, or an unexpected need for a root canal due to a cavity that has caused infection and inflammation in the tooth's root.
A common dental emergency involves wisdom teeth. When you suspect a problem with your wisdom teeth, it's often wise to consult your general dentist first for an evaluation. They may use X-rays or review your treatment history to determine if a referral to an oral surgeon is necessary.
Bleeding & Inflamed Gums
Bleeding and inflamed gums signify a different kind of dental emergency. These symptoms often point to an underlying periodontal disease that requires attention. Treatment options include thorough cleanings, laser treatments, site-specific antibiotics, and medicated mouth rinses to reduce inflammation and eliminate bacteria beneath the gum line.
Tooth sensitivity can also become an emergency situation, often linked to unnoticed clenching and grinding habits or an untreated cavity that has allowed infection to reach the nerve, causing intense pain. In dental terms, we refer to this as a "hot tooth."
Broken or Fractured Teeth
Another dental emergency is a broken or fractured tooth. This can occur when you're chewing, and suddenly a piece of your tooth breaks off or you can visually see a fracture. Such incidents can result from persistent clenching and grinding habits or the progression of an untreated cavity, rendering the tooth soft and prone to damage.
Broken Fillings and Dentures
A broken filling is a common dental emergency, particularly with older silver fillings. Chewing or biting down on hard objects can cause your natural tooth to crack or fracture, leading to a dental emergency.
In the case of broken dentures, it may result from neglect or accidents. Repairs are possible, and sometimes, we can even complete them on the same day. However, if the damage is extensive, a new set of dentures may be necessary. We'll also explore alternatives like dental implants.
Loose Crowns and Bridges
Loose crowns or bridges are situations we frequently encounter as dental emergencies. This may occur due to clenching, grinding, or improper use, such as using your teeth to open items. Our dental professionals will assess the situation and determine whether the restoration can be reattached or if a new one is needed.
When Would I Need An Emergency Tooth Extraction?
There are times when an emergency tooth extraction becomes necessary. This can be due to severe pain, a tooth that's broken beyond repair, or significant bone loss around the tooth. In such cases, the tooth may need to be removed promptly. Our dentists will discuss the procedure and possible replacement options with you.
In certain instances, a patient might require an emergency dental extraction, particularly if they have wisdom teeth causing pain. Wisdom tooth extractions typically involve surgical procedures, often performed by an oral surgeon. However, simpler extractions may also be necessary, depending on the condition of the tooth.
In most cases, when we perform an extraction, we aim to preserve bone in the area where the tooth was removed. This prevents further bone loss and maintains the height of the bone, making you a more suitable candidate for dental implants if you choose that path to replace lost teeth. We also offer painless anesthesia delivery using topical gel and skillful techniques.
How SweetHart Dental Can Assist in Dental Emergencies
Here at SweetHart Dental, we understand that dental emergencies can happen at any time. That's why we offer same-day care to address your urgent needs. Simply call our office, and we'll do our best to accommodate your schedule. While we don't typically see patients on weekends, exceptions can be made when necessary.
If you have additional questions, need more information, or are currently experiencing a dental emergency, please don't hesitate to contact us at SweetHart Dental by dialing (954) 437-9288. Alternatively, you can conveniently book an appointment through our website.