Most of us see the dentist once or twice a year for a planned general check-up, to fill cavities, polish our teeth and to remove any buildup of plaque. Unfortunately, we cannot predict when dental emergencies might happen, like a broken or fractured tooth or severe pain, and when they do it is critical for you to consult with your dentist to help preserve your tooth and surrounding tissue, relieve unbearable pain with anaesthetics and stop an infection in its tracks.
What is not a dental emergency?
Deciding what is serious and what can wait a few hours or days is difficult. What causes you anxiety and considered threatening to your health might be viewed differently in the eyes of your dentist.
For example, due to the social impediments of a slightly chipped tooth, in how it looks and impacts your speech, you might want to book an appointment immediately. However, unless it is causing you acute pain, illness or runs the risk of you losing your teeth completely, the problem can wait. What we see as a crisis is often not.
On the other side of the coin, people tend to ignore serious issues out of fear. But neglecting the issue could result in you losing a tooth or run the risk of contracting severe health issues, like advanced periodontal disease, an illness likely to inhibit your life in the long term.
When should you consider emergency dentistry?
For extensive damage or fractures to your tooth that if left untreated, could result in you losing your tooth completely. Time is critical and the sooner you see your dental practitioner, the better your chances are of preserving your tooth.
Receiving medical attention for sudden pain in your tooth or surrounding tissue helps to relieve it with anaesthesia. At the same time, knowing where the pain originates helps your dentist identify and diagnose the cause, and how best to treat it.
Signs of infection that stem from the mouth, which include running a high fever, swollen mouth and gums and a foul smell protruding from your mouth.
Your injury, infection or pain is considered severe, what next?
Your dentist conducts a full examination first. In the case of a broken tooth, the site and extent of the damage is identified, which determines how it is likely to be treated. X-rays and dental impressions are taken to determine the next steps. Best case scenario, your tooth is restored, and worst case, the damage is irreversible, and tooth extraction is necessary.
What are regular working hours at dental practices?
Times and days vary between practices, but standard working days usually apply Monday to Friday, Saturdays typically by strict appointment only or between specific times. Bank holidays, Christmas, Easter and same-day appointments typically fall outside of that bracket.
To be seen outside those times and dates should only occur in a dental emergency as outlined above.
Experience a dental emergency is undoubtedly terrifying and unpleasant. Assessing the extent of your injuries to conclude whether emergency dentistry is required, is necessary. What is critical in your eyes might not necessarily be the case, and visa versa.