Did you know that if you have a dental emergency, the best place to go is your local dental office? While many people may assume that a visit to the emergency room is required, this is not the case. In fact, many emergency rooms are not equipped to handle dental emergencies and end up referring patients to a local dentist anyway. Therefore, you might as well skip a step and head straight to your dentist’s office.
Why the dentist?
Ultimately, your dentist knows more about your oral anatomy than an emergency room doctor. For most types of dental emergencies, your dentist will be able to provide better care. Some possible exceptions to this are cases of extensive soft tissue trauma that may require multiple stitches, as well as cases that involve dislocated or broken jaws. If an injury to the jaw is suspected, it is likely that an oral and maxillofacial surgeon will be called for an evaluation.
Additionally, your dentist’s office is well-equipped with all the necessary tools to handle most dental emergencies. This is because most dental emergencies can easily be fixed with restorative dental procedures. While emergency rooms may have the proper equipment for things like stitches or broken bones, they are lacking dental crowns and restorative dental materials. For this reason, many local dental offices offer emergency dental services.
How do I know if I need emergency dental services?
At this point, you are probably wondering what constitutes a dental emergency. After all, problems with your teeth are rarely life-threatening, so it can be difficult to determine if you need to see an emergency dentist or not.
In the simplest sense, a dental emergency is a dental problem that requires immediate or timely attention. Some examples include:
- A loose dental restoration
- A dental restoration that has fallen off
- Loose or knocked out teeth
- Chipped or cracked teeth
- Severe or sudden toothache
- Some types of soft tissue trauma
However, certain types of soft tissue trauma may be better treated in an emergency room. Additionally, if you are unable to open your mouth or believe your jaw is dislocated or broken, then you should skip the dentist and head directly to the emergency room. If you are not sure where to go, call your dentist for advice.
What are emergency dental services?
In most cases, emergency dental services are basically unscheduled restorative dental treatments. Depending on the type and extent of the dental emergency, there are various treatments your dentist may recommend. These can include:
- Replacing a dental restoration
- Stabilizing or extracting a loose tooth
- Replacing a missing tooth
- Repairing damaged teeth
- Root canal therapy
It is important to note that even though emergency dental services may be unplanned, emergency dentists will do everything in their power to fit you into their schedule. In fact, most set aside time each day for unexpected emergencies. Additionally, services performed for a dental emergency will use dental anesthetics and possible dental sedation to make your treatment easier.
If you find yourself with a possible dental emergency, be sure to call your dentist’s office before anything else. Although most dental emergencies can be treated at your local dental office, your dentist can recommend exactly what you should do for the type of emergency you are experiencing. When visiting your dentist is recommended for a dental emergency, know that you are in good hands with the expertise needed to provide emergency dental treatment.
Dr. Dokhanchi earned the degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) with clinical honors in 1992. Dr. Dokhanchi attends numerous continuing education courses every year in order to stay current with the latest techniques and technology in the world of dentistry. He considers Ethics, Quality, Safety, and Comfort the pillars of his dental practice and believes that communicating with patients is essential to quality dental care.