It is unlikely that a person will face a life-threatening situation if they broke a large section off a tooth, but it can be painful and might lead to infection if not soon treated. On the other hand, a sudden toothache that seems to be deep in the gum plus swelling suggests a deep infection. This can be life-threatening, as it might lead to septicemia. If it needs to be fixed on short notice, then it is time to find an emergency dentist.
The most important thing is to find a dentist that can provide a quick diagnosis. Depending on the problem, the fix could be a conventional filling or a challenge for an oral surgeon since most dentists operate on a regular schedule.
When Should a Dental Issue Be Considered An Emergency?
An emergency is any situation when it is not feasible to wait a month or longer for treatment. The sufferer might be in significant pain, or the problem could be quickly spreading. It might not be bad enough for the emergency room, but it probably is painful. If over the counter medicine cannot cure it, then it is necessary to see a dentist for an immediate evaluation and possibly a temporary filling.
If a person does find a toothache to be acutely painful and if it seems to be spreading to the jaw, then they should see a dentist or oral surgeon sooner rather than later. If the jaw appears inflamed, then it could be a medical emergency, and a trip to the hospital would be the best move.
Emergency dentistry does not have to involve life-threatening conditions. Some problems become more severe if not treated very quickly. A broken tooth might only need a filling if treated soon, but it will become infected if not cleaned and at least covered with a temporary filling. Since the mouth is wet and full of bacteria, a broken tooth is like an open wound.
Situations that do not require immediate attention are broken crowns, normal toothaches, and lost fillings. It is not a disaster if a retainer or clear braces are lost. If conventional braces break, it could be a frustrating setback but still correctable within the normal schedule of a dentist. With a borderline issue, the dental assistant is usually experienced enough to separate routine procedures from emergencies.
Bleeding from the mouth is a major sign of a problem. Some people bleed a little if they brush their teeth and are rough on their gums, but normal oral tissue tends to clot very quickly. If it does not clot but continues to bleed, then it is a sign of an infection or ulcer. A dentist can pull teeth, but emergencies of this scale require a surgeon.
What To Do In The Event Of An Oral Emergency
A person with a lousy problem might initially be confused as to what route to take. If it is a bad problem, then it is not wise to sit it out for a normal dental visit on the grounds of being tough. Real infections can spread quickly and can terminate robust individuals. If it is a growing problem, go to the dental office and describe the issue. If it is an immediate danger, then go to the emergency room.
Calling a Richmond BC dentist could be faster than driving to one office just for an appraisal. Calling the front desk is faster, and sometimes the dentist gets on the line if the situation is bad. Some dentists answer calls right from their cellphone, although such dentists tend to take walk-in patients with bad problems anyway. A phone can also be used to call a hospital or emergency responder and describe the problem if it seems serious. They can direct you to take the right steps.
It can be a real problem to have an oral problem when deep in the countryside. There might not be a local dentist, and driving to the city might not be an option. In this case, a phone call is the best bet. A relative or friend might be able to assist in transportation, especially if an ambulance service does not operate locally.
It is quite common to walk into the emergency room. People do this all the time for problems that are serious but not life-threatening. They do this both to avoid drama and because they do not want the extra fees attached to an ambulance service. A trip to the emergency room invariably means seeing an oral surgeon since hospitals do not usually deal with routine oral care. All records should be sent to a regular dentist after the procedure.
Waiting On a Dentist or Surgeon
It can be frustrating waiting for a response from someone who is supposed to be interested in treating a serious condition. Of course, most surgeons and dentists deal with progressive but non-threatening conditions all the time. They seldom call between the initial visit and the scheduled surgery. It is important to stay calm and avoid further harm.
A cracked tooth should be kept covered with whatever device is given to fill the hole. Otherwise, the mouth and the tooth should be kept clean with regular brushing. It is important not to brush too hard if spongy material is exposed. A loosened or broken tooth should be cleaned and kept in its socket. It might start to knit on its own, but a surgeon should examine it and set it right.