A hurting mouth can make the rest of a person feel miserable and there isn't anything quite as painful as a dental emergency. Dental emergencies can happen in several ways from breaking a tooth to pain from wisdom teeth to some sort of infection. All you know is you want relief now.
Most dentists treat dental emergencies the same way so here are some things you need to know upfront:
It may be challenging to get an emergency dental visit if you don't have a regular dentist. Dentists will only look for the source of the problem and will offer pain-relieving options. You may not get the problem entirely corrected that day.
Finding a Dentist
Like having a regular doctor, it's always best to have a regular dentist. Then, you will have someone you can call if there is a dental emergency. Your dentist will see you right away but wouldn't likely see someone for an emergency visit who wasn't already a patient.
Those who don't have a regular dentist could go to a chain-owned dental group in a dental emergency. Many of those are open until later in the evening. This could be helpful if your dental emergency happens after regular hours.
What to Expect Once You Arrive
Like any other appointment, you will be required to fill out paperwork and provide insurance information. There may be a co-payment required, depending on your plan. You may also need to wait a few minutes because there are patients with other scheduled appointments there.
Emergency visits are worked into the schedule as time allows. Although the dentist tries to get you in quickly, there can be a wait to get you in to see the dentist between appointments.
What to Expect of the Exam
Unlike a regular dental appointment, emergency dentistry is centered around your immediate problem. The dentist or an assistant will first talk to you about your problem. They will ask you about your pain level.
The first thing that happens is they will do an x-ray of that area. That can be painful and may take a few minutes to accomplish.
You will need to wait a few more minutes until the x-rays are given to the dentist.
The dentist will look at your mouth. He or she may give you a pain-relieving injection if you are in severe pain. He or she will do a general observation of your entire mouth and then concentrate on the problem area. At that point, they will offer their recommendations.
What to Expect After the Exam
Many dental problems relate to issues that require follow-up treatment. The dentist will explain what will be required to get to the root of your problem.
It may take a couple of days to get you in for a regular appointment. The dentist will typically prescribe some pain medication for you to take until your appointment. He or she will also offer other advice about other pain remedies you can do at home along with teeth care changes to avoid pain until you can come back to the office.
The dentist will likely give you an antibiotic if you have an infection that is causing gum swelling or pain. The prescription will be sent to your pharmacy.
In some cases, the doctor may do some work to resolve immediate pain and problems while you are at the office. They may sand down a broken tooth that is sharp to your tongue or perhaps do some other gum procedure to prevent rubbing or inflammation.
Your Dentist May Consult Your Doctor
There are cases where a dental emergency is merely a symptom of an underlying health issue. For instance, those with severe sinus problems will complain of their gums hurting. You could have canker sores that are the result of something in your diet or an infection.
A sign of heart problems is the complaint that the teeth hurt. A dentist who finds no obvious dental issues related to the patient's pain may seek a consultation with the family physician. The dentist may even set up an emergency visit with your regular doctor. The dentist may then give you something for pain and send you to your doctor for a medical exam.
Don't Put It Off
Some people try to be tough and put off seeing a dentist when they have a dental emergency. They think they can get by with a home remedy and let whatever they have healed.
That is often because many still fear dentists and will put off making an appointment as long as possible. That is a bad idea when it comes to a dental emergency.
First, you never know what the real problem is until you see a dentist. A broken tooth could have affected the gums or an infection could spread to the rest of your mouth.
The problem will not go away on its own, so you will need to see a dentist. It's best to go when the event first happens rather than wait. Waiting could result in an infection or damage to your gums or nerves.
Dental emergencies can be some of the most painful experiences a person can have in their life. That's why it's vitally important to have a regular dentist you can call when these types of incidents occur. Having a dentist you trust will help you in your pain, assist you in addressing the problem faster, and aid in you recover more quickly.