Dental emergencies might not be a life or death situation, but sometimes the pain will make you think otherwise.
If you’re experiencing severe mouth pain, or if you have a tooth ache that just won’t go away, chances are good you’re in need of a 24-hour dentist.
In this post, we’ll examine the five main reasons why you should keep a 24-hour dentist available near you in order to prevent a dental emergency from getting any worse.
Why You Need a 24-Hour Dentist
Sometimes getting dental treatment simply can’t wait. In fact, if a dental emergency is left untreated, it can quickly develop into something more serious.
But don’t fool yourself by thinking a trip to the nearby hospital emergency room will be good enough. According to the American Dental Association, the number of emergency room visits for dental treatment has risen dramatically. But the majority of these cases are for conditions which could have been easily prevented.
Listed below are five signs that you need to go in to see a dentist right away. If your regular dentist office is closed, search for a 24-hour dentist near you to prevent your condition from getting any worse.
1. You Have Chipped or Cracked Teeth
It’s okay, everybody has tried at least once to open something they shouldn’t have with their teeth. Or maybe your face collided with something you wished it hadn’t. At any rate, you chipped or cracked one of your teeth and you don’t know what to do about it.
If it’s a minor chip or crack, you might be able to get away with waiting to see your normal dentist. If the chip or crack is causing high levels of pain or discomfort, however, it’s recommended you go in to see a 24-hour dentist as soon as possible. An emergency dentist will likely fix the chip or crack with a veneer or a bond after giving it a thorough cleaning.
If you can’t make it to an emergency dentist, though, you should still take steps to prevent the condition from getting worse. If this is the case, rinse the tooth with warm water immediately to clean the area. Then, to keep swelling down, place a cold pack on the affected area.
2. Your Headache Won’t Go Away
Headaches are the worst, and if yours is being caused by an unknown dental problem, it won’t get any better unless you seek medical attention.
Sometimes the cause of headaches that persist can be directly related to a dental problem. For example, if you experience a headache upon waking up in the morning, it might be a result of excessive teeth grinding while you’re sleeping.
Other times, however, a headache can indicate something much more serious, such as tooth decay, infection, or abscess. If these conditions are left untreated, they can spread to other teeth, or even create cysts in your mouth. If infections are left untreated, the consequences could be even worse. If this is the case, consult a 24-hour dentist immediately.
3. You Experience Constant Tooth Pain
Many people have experienced acute tooth pain before. But sometimes the pain is only present when a tooth is exposed to extreme hot or cold temperatures. While this isn’t abnormal, it could point to a more serious problem.
Severe tooth pain by itself, on the other hand, is a sure sign that you need to get into see a 24-hour dentist promptly. Constant pain, or even the previously mentioned infrequent pain of temperature sensitivity, could mean that you’re in desperate need of an emergency root canal.
The pain could also indicate that you have a tooth abscess, which requires a different type of treatment. Whatever the case may be, constant tooth pain should not be ignored. If you need temporary relief, visit a CVS or Walgreens to find something to help manage the pain.
4. You Have a Missing Tooth
If there was ever a sign that you need to see a 24-hour dentist immediately, missing a tooth is it.
A missing tooth is not something that can wait to be treated. In fact, it should be treated as quickly as possible. It doesn’t matter how the tooth was knocked out, whether it be a sports injury or a drunken fall, it needs to be addressed shortly after it happens to avoid any further complications. Also, the more quickly you seek treatment, the more likely saving your tooth will become.
If you’re unable to seek immediate treatment, however, there are a few steps you should take to keep things from getting worse. First, locate the knocked out tooth and clean it with water. Then submerge the tooth in milk to preserve it for the treatment. Also, ensure the open wound is kept clean.
5. You Lost a Crown or Filling
Losing a crown or a filling might not seem like a dental emergency. But don’t fool yourself, a missing crown or filling can quickly result in a root canal operation.
Crowns and fillings are used to repair the damage which already exists. If a filling or crown is knocked from its place, the damaged tooth is exposed again. This puts the tooth at risk of becoming even more damaged.
If necessary, consider visiting your local 24-hour pharmacy to pick up some dental cement. This can be used to temporarily replace the missing filling or crown. If that isn’t an option, try placing a piece of sugar-free gum over the affected area until you can get it treated properly. However, it should be stressed that these are only temporary treatments and in should no way be used as a substitute for visiting a 24-hour dentist.
Keeping Your Teeth Healthy
The best way to avoid a visit to a 24-hour dentist is to take care of your teeth properly. Be sure to brush and floss every day and schedule routine cleanings with your regular dentist.
But even a healthy mouth can need emergency treatment. Accidents do happen, and when you’re experiencing acute pain, the value of an emergency dentist can’t be stressed enough.
Do you have a dental emergency experience you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it! Tell us about your experience in the comment section below!