A urgent-care dentist should be the first person you contact in case of a dental emergency in NYC. But in case you face a dental issue during a busy time, at the end of the day, or in the middle of a vacation, how do you decide if it is urgent enough to contact a dentist immediately?
Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
What should you consider as a dental emergency?
According to the American Dental Association, 1 in 5 Americans faced a severe dental issue within the past 6 months, which just goes to show that dental emergencies are a frequent and regular occurrence. If you are facing a dental issue and need to decide on whether you need emergency treatment in NYC, consider the following questions:
- Are you facing a lot of pain? Extreme pain points to an emergency
- Have you knocked out a tooth? Immediate treatment might save your tooth.
- Are your teeth loose? Adults should never have loose teeth. Even if there is no pain, this points to a major dental problem.
- Is your teeth or mouth infected? An oral infection, or an abscess in the mouth can prove to be dangerous, and should be treated immediately.
- Is there any oral bleeding? This should be considered highly irregular and considered an emergency.
In short, any dental issue that requires immediate treatment to restrict bleeding, lessen and relieve major pain, restore a lost tooth, or counteract severe oral infection would be considered to be an emergency.
In case you recognize any of these symptoms, you might potentially be suffering from a dental emergency. You should contact a dentist at once and share your symptoms. If it is outside of working hours or you do not have access to a dentist, you should visit an emergency dentist or go to your nearest ER.
What should you NOT consider as a dental emergency?
In simple terms, if your dental issue does not fall under the points mentioned above, you can probably wait a couple of days to make an appointment for your dentist to treat you. Some issues might seem extremely serious, but can actually be managed for a couple of days if you handle them sensibly.
For instance, a cracked tooth would be considered an emergency if it leads to extreme pain, or if the break has left sharp edges that can or do result in oral bleeding. Outside of this situation, if the chipped tooth is not causing any pain, you can wait for an appointment to visit your dentist.
Even a toothache would not be considered a dental emergency unless it is extremely painful or there are symptoms of the presence of an abscess like a swollen face, small bulges along the gums, or a high fever.
If you are facing a loose crown or a lost filling, it would be perfectly fine to wait for a couple of days before visiting your dentist. If it is proving to be an irritation, you could even try temporary solutions such as inserting a piece of gum (sugar-free) inside the cavity in case of a lost filling. For a lost crown you could use denture cement or adhesive to put the crown back temporarily.
What are the common dental emergencies?
It is helpful to know what the common dental emergencies are and what you should do to take care of the problem till the time that you can visit a dentist.
Lost tooth: Even if you have knocked out a tooth because of a blow or a sports injury, it is possible that your tooth can be saved and that a dentist can re-insert it without any long term effects. Just make sure that you pick up the tooth by holding it from the top or the crown, and avoid touching the root. Place it under running water to clean it, but make sure you do not scrub it or handle it in a rough manner. Once clean, try to put it back in your gum socket, if possible. In case you cannot, store your tooth in a jar or box of milk before rushing it to a dentist. This would significantly improve your chances of retaining your tooth.
Cracked or chipped tooth: If you have cracked or chipped your tooth, and it is proving to be very painful, you need to first use warm water to gently clean inside and around your mouth. In case there is swelling on your face you should apply an ice pack on it to reduce the discomfort. Do not take any drugs without consulting your dentist because numbing gels or painkillers can harm your gums. In case of extreme pain, acetaminophen is recommended till you can rush yourself to a dentist.
Abscessed tooth: Bacterial infection might lead to the formation of pockets of pus inside your tooth. This is called a dental abscess and can be extremely dangerous if left untreated. An abscessed tooth might lead to a swollen face, fever, high dental sensitivity to both cold and hot, continuous severe tooth ace that might extend to your neck at the lymph nodes, and a small swelling like a pimple on your gum. A dental abscess can spread its infection across your mouth to your jaw as well as other parts of your body and needs to be treated as an emergency, You should immediately call your dentist, and in the meantime try rinsing your mouth with saltwater to lessen the pain and pull out the pus.
What can you do to lessen the chances of a dental emergency in NYC?
As always, following a regular oral hygiene regime is the best way to avoid dental emergencies. Make sure you brush and floss your teeth regularly, and set up appointments for routine check-ups with your dentist. This will ensure your dentist the chance to inspect your crowns and fillings for loosening, as well as identify and treat any potential risks such as tooth decay or gum infections.
While you should make sure you follow all these preventive steps, be aware that dental emergencies happen frequently, and in case you have identified a dental emergency, you should immediately contact a dentist to make sure you get treatment as soon as possible.