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Frequently asked questions

What kind of dental problems should be treated immediately by emergency dentists?

When you experience a dental emergency, see a dentist as soon as possible. Some problems should not wait more than 24 hours. Immediately be treated for a knocked-out tooth and soft tissue bleeding that lasts longer than 30 minutes. Make an appointment with an urgen care dentist if you notice signs of advanced infection, such as swelling, inflammation, abscess on your gums, pus, or a fever. Left untreated, these can lead to trouble breathing and be life-threatening.

How can I relieve tooth pain at home while waiting for an appointment with a dentist?

We understand that dental pain can be excruciating. If you have to wait before seeing an emergency dentist, try to alleviate tooth pain at home. Apply a cold compress by wrapping a bag of ice in a towel. Another method is holding a peppermint tea bag against the affected tooth. Rinsing your mouth with salt water is a common practice. This will reduce inflammation and cleanse oral wounds. If home remedies are not enough, take an anti-inflammatory painkiller, such as ibuprofen.

Do emergency dentists near me accept walk-ins?

Yes. The whole idea of an emergency dentist is that patients can go when something sudden happens. It’s a good idea to call ahead to make sure the office tean will have the time and resources to treat you, and to give them a chance to prepare for your arrival.

Can you go to the ER with a dental emergency?

Yes, you can. The hospital emergency rooms are professionally prepared to deal with all medical emergencies. In less urgent cases, you will receive no more than a temporary solution there. This is usually just an antibiotics or painkillers prescription. Nevertheless, it is still the best option in case of serious emergencies, like a broken jaw or infection complication.

How much does an emergency dental visit cost?

Emergency visits at the dental office are typically charged as normal. This means that whether you need an extraction, a root canal, or an X-ray, you will pay as much as you would at a regular dental appointment. Some clinics offer loyal patients discounts on several dental services. Talk to the dental receptionist to know more about this. Visiting an ER for problems focusing on teeth and gums, on the other hand, can be excessively expensive. You are better off going to a dentist. They will provide specialist care at a smaller fee.

Can you go to an emergency dentist near you with no insurance?

Yes. The walk-in dentist will charge you as they would normally. If, however, you are insured, your plan is likely to cover the fees in accordance with your rates. Make an inquiry to your insurance company to know the different methods of payment available to you.

Are emergency dentists open on Saturday and Sunday?

Emergency dentists are open on Saturday and Sunday, 24/7. The goal is to provide care to those who need it in urgent situations, which can happen at any time. Patients will usually aim to visit their regular doctor during working days, but weekend dentists are also available to provide emergency services.

Are emergency dentists open during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Even when regular dental offices were closed due to the pandemic, there’s always a possibility that you can find an emergency dentist near you. While check-ups and cleanings can wait, bleedings of fractured teeth have to be taken care of right away. Despite the situation, we will help you find a dentist at any time.

How can I find an emergency dentist who is open now?

You don’t need to call every nearby office while suffering from acute toothache. Many of our readers use Authority Dental to search for and book a same-day appointment in a convenient location. Our service is available 24/7, so we can help you get a healthy smile anytime.

How can I save a knocked-out tooth before visiting the dentist?

If you act quickly, it’s possible to keep the knocked-out tooth alive and reimplant it. Before visiting an emergency dentist, pick up your tooth and rinse it with clean water. Try to place it back in your mouth. Hold only the crown and don’t touch the root. If your gums are swollen or bleeding, don’t put the tooth back in. Instead, keep it moist in milk (not water!) or dedicated substances from a dental first-aid kit.

Can emergency dentists extract a tooth?

Yes. Emergency dentists are qualified to perform tooth extractions. If the tooth is severely damaged, an emergency extraction might be the best option to prevent further oral issues.

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What is a dental emergency?

A dental emergency can be a potentially life-threatening situation that requires action to alleviate pain, stop bleeding, or prevent damage to the body. Emergencies are sometimes caused by traumatic injuries. More often, however, they are the result of long-term neglect of oral health and hygiene maintenance.

Knowing about first aid or where to go for help if something happens can protect your health. For your own good, you should be able to differentiate between issues that are dangerous and those that are simply unexpected. The latter can safely wait until your next scheduled appointment.

Here is a comprehensive guide about the most common dental emergencies you might have to deal with.

Immediate dental emergency

The category of immediate dental emergency compiles a wide range cases that need fast action. This usually means you have about an hour.

Immediate emergencies often involve intense pain. There are a few things you can do from home. But this may not be enough.

A large majority of dental emergencies are due to tooth decay, periodontitis, and infection. You should seek 24 hour emergency dental care as soon as possible. Not acting might mean losing a tooth, serious damage to your health, or even danger to your life.

Knocked out tooth

A tooth that completely falls out of the socket is usually caused by an impact such as a fall or other traumatic injuries, like sports injury. If you act quickly and seek emergency dentist appointment, the tooth may be reimplanted and kept alive.

What to do?

  • Pick up the tooth by the chewing part but don’t touch the root.
  • Rinse it with water if it’s dirty. Do not use soap or any other chemicals.
  • Try to place the tooth back into the hole. Push it in gently and hold in place. You can bite down softly.
  • If you are bleeding or swollen, keep the tooth moist and just bring it to a dentist.
  • Transport the tooth in your cheek, in milk, or in an emergency preservation kit (if you happen to have one). Water can make the cells on the root expand and burst, while milk and dedicated substances contain antimicrobials and keep the correct pH.

Visit the nearest dentist, endodontist specialist, or oral surgeon within 30 minutes for an emergency appointment. They may be able to perform reimplantation.

Infection

An abscess or severe infection can be life-threatening. It can spread to other areas of the body. If the infection reaches your throat, you could have trouble breathing or swallowing. The symptoms you should look for are:

  • swelling (sometimes even on your cheek or jaw),
  • abcesses on your gums, or tooth abscess
  • pus, or
  • a fever.

Act as quickly as possible if you are in severe pain or have trouble breathing.

What to do?

  • Seek a same-day emergency dentist appointment. Call a dentist’s office and make sure they will accept walk-in patients.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm salt water a few times. This can reduce pain and will bring the pus to the surface.

If you can’t reach a dentist, go to the nearest general doctor or an emergency room. All hospitals have a department with a team of specialized doctors that offer full range of emergency services.

Facial pain and soft-tissue bleeding

Soft-tissue bleeding is usually a sign of gum disease but can also be the result of trauma or infection. If the second, you should immediately seek medical help. If you are taking blood thinners, that is likely to make the bleeding worse.

What to do?

  • Rinse your mouth.
  • Try to locate the source of the bleeding or pain. If this is near a tooth that is loose or moving, visit a dentist immediately.
  • If your teeth are secure, gently brush them and drink plenty of water.
  • You can take OTC painkillers if necessary.

If bleeding doesn’t stop within 30 minutes, you should seek help, ideally from a dentist. You will have X-rays that will help determine if all your teeth are intact.

Urgent dental emergency

Urgent emergencies should be treated within a few hours. The situations described below are contingent upon the risk of getting a serious infection.

You can often control damage or manage pain using at-home solutions and methods. Bearing long-term effects of emergencies, professional help is still necessary.

Cracked or fractured tooth

A cracked or chipped tooth is commonly the result of an injury. In order to classify it as an emergency, there must be pain. You may feel:

  • erratic pain when chewing, or
  • sudden pain when your tooth comes into contact with hot or cold temperatures.

If you act quickly, not only you will get rid of the painful toothache, but also there is a high chance your tooth will continue to function as normal for many years.

What to do?

  • Immediately rinse your mouth with warm water.
  • If you have any swelling, use a cold compress to slow it down.

Go and see a dentist or endodontist regardless of how severe the crack is. You will have an X-ray and the tooth will be mended if necessary. If the fracture is more severe, the tooth may require a crown or may need to be extracted.

Loose tooth

A tooth loose in its socket is most commonly a sign of gum disease. Other causes include injury and teeth grinding. The second case is when it is considered an emergency.

What to do?

  • If you see swelling, gently brush your teeth.
  • Rinse your mouth with salt water.

Search for an emergency dentist on the day you notice a problem. If you have gum disease you might have an emergency SRP, preceded by an X-ray. If any of your teeth are moving, they will probably be secured with a dental splint temporarily.

Fractured dental work

Dental work requires care and maintenance, but sometimes even when you do everything right, something goes wrong. Damage to crowns, bridges, or fillings is common and can negatively affect your health. This mandates prompt dental service.

What to do?

  • Remove the piece from your mouth to prevent you from swallowing it or breathing it in.
  • Contact your dentist, and book the next available appointment at the dental clinic.
  • Try to keep the piece that fell out, it might be used again.
  • If your entire crown fell off, you can take advantage of dental glue, available in drug stores. This should be done as an emergency measure. It is not an alternative to a professional fix. You should see a dentist as soon as possible.
  • In case of a lost filling, your dentist would likely place you a new restorative filling to your dental cavity.

Your dentist will probably take an X-ray to assess the damage. He or she will put the dental work back in or install a temporary restoration, so you can have your beautiful smile back, while they fabricate a new prosthesis for you.

Moderate dental emergency

Depending on how severe the injury or pain is, the following issues can wait to see your dentist on regular hours the following day. If symptoms subside, you might be able to forgo a visit until your next checkup.

In the case that you are unsure, you can contact a dental professional by phone before setting up an appointment or simply showing up at the office.

Tooth pain

Most often, a toothache appears because of decay, fracture, or infection. The pain can make it difficult to chew, concentrate, or even sleep.

What to do?

  • Take care of your dental health. Brush, floss, and rinse your mouth to remove any food debris.
  • Wash your mouth with saltwater solution or hydrogen peroxide rinse.
  • Keep a cold compress on the area that is most painful. Ten minutes on, ten minutes off.
  • Take OTC pain relievers. Do not chew aspirin or hold it on your gums, as some online sources instruct to do. This could cause gum issues later, such as chemical burns.

If the pain does not subside for a few days, visit a dentist or endodontist. In the case of decay or broken tooth, you might need a filling or even a root canal treatment.

Orthodontic problems

Traditional metal and ceramic braces can sometimes behave unexpectedly. The biggest concerns in terms of an emergency are wires that have snapped or become loose, and ones that need to be clipped. Other cases include protruding and poking wires.

What to do?

  • If your wire has become loose or if it snapped, contact your orthodontist (not a regular dentist). You will probably need to make an emergency dentist appointment and visit to the office.
  • In the case that a wire has slipped out of the bracket and is irritating your gum or cheek, snap the sharp end off with nail clippers or place a cotton swab or orthodontic wax between the metal and tissue.
  • If the main problem is that wires are irritating your gums or cheek, you can use dental wax to make edges less sharp. It can be removed in an emergency room if it is causing you serious discomfort.
  • Mouth sores caused by such issues can be treated with numbing gel, such as Orasol.

Call your orthodontist and schedule the nearest appointment, especially if the oral pain becomes unbearable. During the visit your wires will be adjusted or replaced as necessary.

Denture adjustment

Dentures need to be relined once in a while, but if it is causing you discomfort it is a good idea to contact your dentist. This is especially true if you are undergoing chemotherapy, as you will be considered a high risk patient and will be seen as an emergency patient. An ill-fitting denture can lead to an infection or even oral cancer.

What to do?

  • Remove your denture and rinse your mouth with chlorhexidine mouthwash if available, otherwise use a salt water rinse.
  • If your gums are inflamed, don’t wear your denture for at least 24 hours. You might have to keep a liquid diet.

Call your dentist and discuss your problem. Something might be simply trapped in your denture and lead to inflammation. After your gums heal you might be able to wear it again. Your dentist will instruct you on whether you need to make an office visit for an adjustment, a reline, or a new denture fitting.

Non-emergency dental issues

Distinguishing between what is and isn’t a dental emergency is especially important during the spread of COVID-19.

The following are not dental emergencies:

  • Regular visits for exams and cleanings
  • Recall visits
  • Routine radiographs
  • Preventive therapies
  • Regular visits for braces
  • Treatment of cavities that aren’t painful
  • Removal of teeth that aren’t painful
  • Restorative dentistry including treatment of asymptomatic carious lesions
  • Aesthetic dental procedures
  • Fallen dental crowns, which can be temporarily managed by dental adhesives.

If any apply to you, you can safely reschedule your visit until a later date. It is vital for your own safety as well as the safety of dental staff.

You should only break quarantine if the procedure you need is indispensable for your health or life, or if you are in moderate to severe pain.

Avoid dental emergencies

Prevention is always the best measure, especially when it comes to your health. You should take care of your mouth, just as you would with any other body part.

  • To prevent physical injuries, avoid physical activity without a mouthguard. Traumatic injuries are the most common cause for lost tooth.
  • Do not use your teeth as tools. They are not meant to serve as bottle or can openers, or to pierce through tape.
  • Keep up with regular checkups and cleanings. Prevention is always cheaper than emergency treatment, especially if you find a budget-friendly dentist in your area.
  • Make sure to care for your hygiene. Brush your teeth after each meal and floss at least once a day to prevent swelling and caries. Using a mouth rinse following brushing/flossing is also beneficial.