How To Know If You Need A Dental Emergency Visit

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How To Know If You Need A Dental Emergency Visit

Upset girl at a dental visit getting her teeth fixed

Patients visit their dentists for multiple reasons, from toothaches to cleanings to dental X-rays. However, there are some instances in which many patients don’t know whether they should or should not go to the dentist, such as when they knock out a tooth or damage a dental restoration. Emergency dental visits are available for patients who suffer from these experiences, and are important in maintaining the health of teeth, especially when they’ve been damaged in some way. Find out how to know if you need to make an emergency dental visit and what to do if you are having an emergency with these tips!


Dental Emergencies

Dental visits for cleanings, examinations and X-rays are usually planned out in advance and scheduled, but we can’t always prepare for dental emergencies that many patients will experience at some point in their lives. Many times, though, patients report confusion about what necessitates a dental emergency and what to do if they have one. Accidents can happen at any moment, so it’s important to know which injuries need immediate attention and which can wait until your dentist can fit you in. Some of the most common dental emergencies include cracked/broken teeth, knocked out teeth, severe tooth pain, lost/damaged tooth restorations (fillings or crowns) and injuries to the soft tissue of the mouth (gums, cheeks, tongue, etc.). An extruded tooth, which is a partially knocked out tooth, is also considered a dental emergency since the tooth has been pushed out of its correct position. Oral injuries can be especially severe if you are wearing an orthodontic device, such as braces or a retainer, so special care will be needed in those instances. 


Dental emergencies are those injuries that are not considered life-threatening but still need quick care. Sports’ injuries to the mouth or even getting punched in the face, although painful, can wait until the dentist is in to be treated. If after hours, serious injuries should be taken to the emergency room for immediate care.


When The Dentist Isn’t Available

Many times, dental emergencies occur at the worst time of day or whenever the dental office is closed. If your injury occurs over the weekend or during a holiday, you can still call your dentist to see what they recommend you do. Most dentists have after-hours emergency care or on-call hours in which you can be seen. Common injuries, however, like decayed and abscessed teeth, aren’t considered an emergency unless they are preventing you from breathing or swallowing, so make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible in those cases. Other times, though, your injury should be reviewed by a medical professional. Trauma to the face and mouth, such as a jaw fracture or dislocation, infections that affect your breathing and lacerations to the face/mouth are serious injuries that necessitate a hospital or ER visit. Don’t wait to hear back from your dentist if you’re experiencing a life-threatening situation; go immediately to the hospital for treatment. If you have experienced trauma to the head or neck, even if it has affected your smile, you should always see your primary care physician first or go to the ER before seeing your dentist. These types of injuries require in-depth testing and evaluations that dentists aren’t always qualified or able to perform. 


How To Protect TeethCloseup of a teenage male football player with a mouthguard hanging off his helmet

Prevention of trauma is always recommended over treatment, and there are a few things that you can do to avoid oral injuries. Try to avoid hard foods and candies as they are notorious for cracking or breaking teeth when biting into them. Even if you haven’t had a problem with eating hard foods before, one wrong bite can cause a lot of pain and be expensive to fix. Wearing a mouth guard during physical activity or when playing sports protect your teeth from almost all injuries to the face and mouth. While they may seem bulky to use at first, their use has prevented thousands of sports’ injuries in the U.S. each year. Additionally, if teeth aren’t cared for through proper brushing and flossing, they can be more sensitive to tooth decay and disease, which weakens them. Teeth that aren’t strong have a higher chance of breaking or chipping, so it’s important that you have a regular oral hygiene routine to keep teeth free from destructive bacteria. Scheduling regular dental checkups will also protect your oral health by allowing your dentist to monitor teeth movement and identify any underlying issues, like gum disease, that put your teeth at a higher risk for injury. 


Scheduling Your Next Dental Checkup

If you’re dealing with a dental emergency or need a dental checkup, call Mountain Aire Dentistry at (303) 731-7755! Dr. Berry and his staff are dedicated to your oral health needs and are equipped to provide you and your family a quality dental experience. Whether you are experiencing an emergency or need to establish care with a new dentist, Mountain Aire Dentistry is here to help. Call our office today to schedule your next appointment and get your oral health back on track!