Are You Able to Go to a Different Dentist for a Dental Emergency?
Like visiting the emergency department if you become ill or seriously injured, many dentists offer emergency dental services. These are typically to fix unexpected problems with your mouth, teeth, and jaw.
If you’re like many people, you might have a dentist who you and your family have been seeing for years. The only problem is that emergency situations are rarely expected, and it seems like they never happen at a convenient time. It’s possible that your family dentist doesn’t offer emergency appointments or after-hours callouts.
In a situation like this, it’s totally acceptable to find another dentist who offers the service because dental emergencies are often time-sensitive. Keep reading as we discuss what is considered an emergency and what isn’t. We’ll also cover a few preventative tips because prevention is always the best cure.
What Is a Dental Emergency?
Things that are considered dental emergencies are fairly standard in most cases. But sometimes, you may need to call your dentist and explain the situation. Then they will let you know whether they can get you in for a same-day emergency appointment.
Some things that are common emergencies include:
- Toothache: This one is a bit of a grey area. A phone call to your dentist explaining all your symptoms will determine whether you get in right away or wait. Until you see the dentist, over-the-counter pain medication and ice packs should help ease some discomfort.
- Knocked-out tooth: If this happens, hope isn’t lost. If it’s a permanent tooth, it can often be placed back in the socket, and it will take root again. Time is of the essence, though. If the tooth is put back in its spot in under 2 hours, the chances are good that it will take.
- Dislodged filling: The whole point of a filling is to prevent tooth decay from destroying a pit in your tooth called a cavity. It’s not unheard of for them to fall out. If this happens, you should see a dentist as quickly as possible to have it repaired.
- Severe bite: Whether it’s your tongue, lip, or cheek, a severe bite is definitely worth an emergency trip. If you can stop the bleeding with pressure, you may be able to wait to see a dentist. However, if you cannot stop the bleeding, it’s essential to go to the emergency department at your local hospital.
- Broken or chipped tooth: If addressed quickly, a broken tooth can typically be repaired. There are usually a couple of options, depending on the severity of the break. For example, a minor crack may simply need a white filling that essentially “glues” the tooth together. A more severe break may need a root canal and crown to “cap” the tooth.
- Infections or swelling: Any infection in your mouth should be dealt with quickly because of the location. If you notice signs of infection like swelling, bleeding, or strange discharge, it’s important to see a dentist quickly.
Can You Go to a Different Dentist for an Emergency?
There are no rules stating you must see the same dentist all the time. There could be times when your regular dentist doesn’t offer the service you need. In this example, maybe they don’t offer emergency appointments. Or maybe you’re traveling, and something awful happens that requires immediate attention.
A quick Google search will usually help you locate a dentist near you that offers emergency or same-day appointments.
Going to a Doctor for a Dental Emergency
Remember that a dental emergency isn’t usually an immediately life-threatening condition. But if something happens to your mouth or jaw that is life threatening, a trip to the emergency department to see a doctor is typically the better option.
Preventing a Dental Emergency
It may seem unrelated, but adequate oral hygiene is one of the best ways to prevent a dental emergency. This includes recall dental exams and cleanings twice a year, brushing at least twice a day, and flossing at least once daily (preferably after every meal).
By taking care of your mouth, you’re decreasing the chance of getting cavities, gum disease, or infections, all of which can lead to emergencies.
Other ways you can prevent a surprise visit to the dentist include:
- Wearing protective equipment like face shields or mouth guards.
- Take vitamins to improve tooth strength and mouth health—vitamins A, B, C, D, and calcium are beneficial for our mouth.
- Avoid “tooth-breaker foods” like popcorn or taffy and excessively acidic or sugary food and drinks.
If You Have a Dental Emergency
With the right action, a dental emergency doesn’t have to be the end of the world. It’s common for teeth to be repaired and infections successfully battled when dealt with promptly. Finding a dentist who offers emergency services should be easy to do.
If you’re in pain or need emergency assistance, give us a call at Rockwood Dental. The professional staff is available to answer your questions and help you determine how quickly you need to see a dentist to prevent further damage.