Dental Emergencies 101: 3 Situations That Warrant Emergency Care

When your mouth begins to hurt, you probably dial your dentist and make an appointment. While minor pain should be addressed by a dentist, it's usually not an emergency – in fact, it may just go away within a day or two. However, severe pain or other issues may require immediate attention. This can make it difficult to determine when emergency care is required.

So when should you seek emergency dentistry? Here are three situations that warrant it.

1. Sudden or Severe Pain

Perhaps one of the most common reasons for emergency dentistry is pain. There are many different reasons your mouth might hurt. However, infection is usually the number one culprit. It's also the most worrisome, as dental infections can quickly spiral out of control.

So if you suddenly notice that you are in severe pain that isn't remedied by over-the-counter pain medications, call your dentist immediately. If infection is the cause, you'll likely need a course of antibiotics – along with a filling, root canal, and/or extraction of the offending tooth.

2. Tooth Loss

Another reason to seek emergency dentistry is when you've lost a tooth. Whether the tooth has come loose due to sports or trauma, it is important to seek dental care as soon as possible. With quick action, the dentist may actually be able to re-root the tooth. However, even if that isn't possible it's important to see the dentist quickly so that you can replace the tooth in a timely manner. After all, you don't want to be walking around with a hole in your mouth.

3. Chipped or Broken Tooth

Finally, a chipped or broken tooth could cause you to seek emergency dental care. Both chipped and broken teeth can be painful. In addition, it could make it easier for infection to enter your mouth. Plus, it can make chewing or talking difficult. So if your tooth is chipped or painful, contact your dentist immediately.

If your dentist cannot see you immediately, treat the area with care. Do not chew or bite on the affected tooth. In addition, make sure you brush and floss gently. If there are sharp edges on the tooth, apply a piece of dental wax or sugarless gum to the area to prevent mouth sores.

While minor pain or discomfort isn't usually considered an emergency, these three situations are. So if you find yourself suffering from any of these, contact a dentist, like Matthew C. Cheney, DMD, immediately for help. As always, if you are in doubt, give your dentist a ring. They'll be happy to let you know whether you need immediate care or if you can wait until your next scheduled appointment.