What To Do When A Dental Emergency Occurs

Imagine this: it’s Friday evening and you are excited to start work at a new job this upcoming Monday. You are on your way to meet up with some friends to enjoy a celebratory meal when, out of nowhere, a car runs a red light, t-boning your vehicle and leaving you with a broken front tooth. It’s a frustrating – and painful! – situation, but also one that can be aided by a skilled emergency dentist!

At Smile Design Dental of Coral Springs, Fort Lauderdale, and Hallandale Beach, FL, we offer same-day and next-day emergency dentist appointments to both new and established patients. If you suffer a dental emergency after our normal business hours, we even offer a 24/7 emergency line designed to get you the rapid help you need so you can start feeling relief soon!

Whether you are simply experiencing persistent tooth pain or you have suffered substantial trauma to your smile, education is key! To learn more about emergency dentistry, as well as the steps you need to follow when seeking it, read on.

What Is A Dental Emergency?

Like many things in the medical field, there are different types of dental emergencies with varying degrees of urgency. The American Dental Association splits dental emergencies into two distinct categories: serious dental emergencies and urgent dental care.

Serious dental emergencies are potentially life-threatening instances that require immediate medical attention. Some examples of this include:

  • Uncontrolled and ongoing tissue bleeding
  • Bacterial infection that is compromising the airway
  • Trauma to the facial bones that is obstructing the airway

If you are experiencing any of the situations outlined above, it’s best that you call 911 or go straight to the emergency room. Once treated, contact your dentist for followup treatment.

On the other hand, urgent dental care focuses on the management of conditions that require immediate attention. Typically, these conditions can be treated by most emergency dentists. The conditions include:

  • Severe dental pain and sensitivity
  • Abscess that is causing pain and swelling
  • Abnormal bleeding or pain following an oral surgery
  • Tooth fractures, knocked-out teeth, and other trauma to the teeth or gums

The conditions outlined above may not be as serious as the first category, but they still require immediate care by a dentist. If you experience any of them, it’s important to call an emergency dentist right away to schedule an appointment and receive instructions.

3 Tips To Follow When You Experience A Dental Emergency

Not every dental condition constitutes an emergency, but if you are experiencing prolonged pain, dental trauma, or uncontrollable bleeding, it’s important that you stay calm and seek help immediately. While you are doing this, follow these 3 tips to ensure you have everything in order to get the quality care you need.

1. Assess Your Emergency

As mentioned, there are varying levels of dental emergencies whose symptoms will determine the type of care required. If you are experiencing uncontrollable bleeding, or if you are having trouble breathing, it’s important that you call 911 or visit an emergency room immediately. If you are experiencing pain or a dental injury without bleeding or breathing problems, schedule an emergency dentist appointment right away.

Tip: Review the serious dental emergencies and urgent dental care lists above to determine the level of care you need.

2. If Possible, Bring A Trusted Caregiver To Your Appointment

Depending on the severity of your dental emergency, you may require an emergency extraction or root canal, treatments that may call for some level of sedation. If this occurs, you will not be able to drive following the appointment, so make sure you have someone to get you home safely and care for you afterward.

Tip: Before attending your appointment, ask the doctor or dental staff if your condition necessitates a caregiver being there, too.

3. Preserve Your Knocked-Out Tooth Or Restoration

This is an important one! If you have knocked out your tooth, or if a restoration (like a crown) has fallen off, it’s important that you bring the remainder along with you. When you are scheduling your appointment, you will receive instructions on how to best care for the tooth in the meantime.

Tip: In the case of a knocked-out tooth, every minute matters! Calling a dentist sooner rather than later can help you avoid pricier dental work in the future.

Now that you know all about the emergency dentistry process, we hope that you have the education you need to be fully-prepared whenever emergencies arise. If you have any questions about our urgent dental care services, give our South Florida dental offices a call today!

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