There are no set rules that can direct you on what to do in an emergency – but there are some things you can do to positively contribute to any treatment you receive. You aren't totally helpless if suffering from dental trauma or from dental problems that flare up intermittently. Most people would tell you to go straight to the hospital if you're experiencing an emergency. However, that is not the best option if you have injuries or conditions that are purely dental in nature and don’t need to be seen by a doctor.
EMERGENCY DENTAL CARE
Let’s take a look at some tips on what to do after a dental emergency has developed, so that you can get the best out of the treatment and have an easier time recovering.
· Keep calm – This is key for most emergencies. Panicking or getting hysterical is not going to help the situation. if you are able to stay calm and look at your problem objectively, you could really see a difference with your dental care further down the line. Some people will certainly struggle with this element of an emergency; if this sounds like you, it’s a good idea to speak to your family or friends to see if a second opinion can help you decide whether you should go to the hospital or the dental clinic for treatment.
· Think about transport – Following from the previous point, consider how you are going to get to the clinic, if you decide that you need to see a dentist. In some cases, patients with dental trauma should not travel or surgery alone. Speak to someone you trust or ask a friend if they can give you a lift or accompany you for moral support – and to make sure you get to the clinic and back safe and sound.
· Act quickly – This is important for any sort of emergency, but more so when it comes to broken or knocked-out teeth. This sort of damage must be treated in the early stages to avoid tooth loss. Ideally, get broken teeth repaired within a couple of hours of the incident to combat infection. The good news is that the vast majority of emergency dental clinics are open twenty-four hours a day, so you won't have trouble arranging an appointment and getting yourself treated on short notice.
· Call a dental line – You don’t actually have to do this if you are trying to find a dentist to help you, but it could be useful if you aren't sure whether yours is a dental emergency or a medical one. Dental lines are not usually free to call but they are staffed by trained professionals. Not all dental emergencies are obvious ones – some symptoms, such as a toothache or painful gums, might not make it clear that you need to see a dentist right away. It may be that you don’t need to make an appointment because your condition is not serious, or you can arrange treatment over the phone to save time. Emergency dental lines are often available twenty-four hours a day. They are a service provided by larger clinics, alongside care and treatment.
· Get in touch with the clinic – If you are not registered with the particular clinic or you have never received emergency treatment before you might feel better if you spoke to a member of the team first – rather than simply turn up unannounced. It could save you a night in the waiting room if there are no appointments available right away.
It is also worth remembering that there are other ways to get in touch with a dental clinic you need emergency care. Larger clinics with greater resources will have e-mail and text messaging services that are checked regularly and often. This sort of service can be very helpful if you are not able to get to a phone or a dental injury of some sort has compromised your ability to communicate verbally – such as badly broken teeth or a broken jaw.
What are the different types of dental emergencies that can occur? Other than decay and gum disease, traumatic injuries to teeth are a major cause of tooth loss. Here are several:
A tooth concussion means the tooth-supporting structures have suffered injury, without the tooth being displaced or gums bleeding; however the individual feels pain if the injured area is sensitive to tapping or touch. Since a concussion cannot be diagnosed several days after it happens, the individual should go to a dental emergency care clinic at once. When a tooth is concussed, the blood supply to the pulp may be damaged; this can cause the nerve and blood vessels within a tooth to die. This results in a discolored or painful tooth some time after the accident – it can take days or months. The tooth will require a root canal treatment and sometimes crowns or bleaching to rid it of the discoloration.
A fractured tooth can be complicated (exposing the nerve) or uncomplicated. A complicated fracture can result in tooth death and require root canal treatment for the tooth. Small fractures can be repaired by using composites or amalgam fillings, but larger ones may require veneers or crowns.
When the force of the accident causes the tooth to be pulled out of the socket, this is called a dental avulsion. An avulsed tooth should be placed back into the socket, immediately, if possible. If the tooth is covered in debris, gently wash the root with water avoiding contact with the root surface. If you are unable to re-implant the tooth due to an obstruction or pain, clean the tooth carefully and place in a glass of milk or under your tongue and see a dentist immediately. An avulsed tooth can be re-implanted successfully if the procedure takes place within an hour of the dental avulsion taking place. It will require root canal treatment after the bone heals and the tooth is held firmly in place again.
Lacerations are cuts that can occur in the soft tissues of the mouth as a result of an accident. If small, they are usually left to heal by themselves; however, if the laceration is large, it has to be sutured closed. Muscular tears or cuts must be sutured to ensure that healing takes place with limited scarring and loss of function.
DENTIST OR HOSPITAL?
Go to the dentist if you have …
· Knocked out one of your teeth – As long as there are no other injuries that take precedence – such as head trauma – then a dentist is the only person who can correct this quickly and easily. A knocked-out tooth can be successfully reattached within a couple of hours but time is of the essence; otherwise, the nerves and minerals will die and reattachment will be impossible.
· Broken one of your teeth – The treatment needed depends on the extent of the damage and whether the inner pulp has been exposed to the outside elements. The average nurse and/or doctor won’t have the right training or equipment to repair enamel damage – particularly if it extends beyond the crown of the tooth. An emergency dentist can easily fill small cracks and repair chips using composite bonding material.
· Developed an abscess – Most abscesses will not be a danger to your health but if they are a regular occurrence then you should certainly seek treatment before the infection can move deeper into the tissue and into other areas of the body. The swelling needs to be drained and excised and antibiotics might be prescribed to fight the bacteria from within.
Go to the hospital if you have …
· Cut your face – Doctors and surgeons are needed to carry out surgery if the laceration is deep. If this happens to you, a medical professional should monitor you. Any dental injuries can be seen to when the initial risk has been reduced.
· Dislocated your jaw – Dislocation can be an on-going problem and warrants a consultation with an oral surgeon; however, seek immediate treatment from a doctor to replace the bone and get a prescription for pain relief.
· Developed a large abscess – Although small abscesses can be treated by a dentist, larger ones have to be examined by a doctor before they start to affect bodily functions. If you notice other symptoms, such as nausea, dizziness, and high fever, then go to a hospital instead of a dental emergency care clinic; your life could be at risk.
· Fractured your jaw – Most dental clinics won’t have the necessary surgical equipment to pinpoint the exact location of a jaw fracture. It is important to take the right precautions to test for head injuries. A crack in the bone should be identified using an x-ray and treated accordingly to prevent further problems. Go for follow-up appointments, as your jaw will take time to heal. Compresses will allow the tissue to heal without too much discomfort.
Think about registering with Brooklyn City Dental in case of emergencies. You don’t have to be registered with a particular clinic to make an appointment, but if you have a lot of problems with your teeth you should seriously consider it. People who have ongoing dental issues, such as gum disease or regular bouts of toothache, should definitely think about registering with a clinic that can provide twenty-four hour treatment
If you think you need to see a dentist on short notice, contact Brooklyn City Dental and ask about a consultation Call today to learn more about the emergency treatment options available.