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What Is Considered A Dental Emergency?

A dental emergency can be any common tooth problem that, left untreated or unaddressed, prevents you from being able to go to work, to school, or even eat a meal. If you’re in pain or have a chipped tooth that’s too embarrassing to be seen in public, it’s a dental emergency. Anything that requires immediate dental treatment so that you can get back to normal life as soon as possible is worth a call to our emergency dentist. 

Common Dental Emergencies

Here are some of the most frequent dental emergencies that our Chattanooga dentist sees on a fairly regular basis:

Tooth Pain:

Toothaches can cause such severe discomfort that you’ll need a dental emergency appointment on the same day. Especially if it’s preventing you from being able to perform normal daily activities. Our dental emergency services will work to address that area of your mouth to get you comfortable again and create a care plan that offers long-term results. 

Broken or Chipped Tooth:

Chipped teeth are dental emergencies that we frequently see in children and athletes. But adults aren’t immune from this dental emergency either. A simple slip in the bathroom or car accident may be to blame. You’ll want to seek out emergency dental services within the first hour so that we can try to bond the broken tooth back together. 

Knocked Out Teeth:

Avulsed (knocked out) teeth are a dental emergency requiring immediate attention. Your other teeth may be completely fine, but you’ll still need an exam to make sure their roots are not damaged. If possible, place your tooth back into the socket and apply gentle pressure, then come straight to our dental office. If it’s after hours, leave a detailed message on the answering machine and someone will be in contact with you as quickly as possible. 

Gum Swelling or Bleeding:

Gum disease and abscesses can both cause swelling in your mouth. Some of these dental emergencies require immediate attention. Whereas others can be talked through over the phone until we can see you for an appointment. However, if there is swelling that extends into the side of your face or further, you will need to seek out immediate care at the nearest emergency room. 

Broken Crowns or Fillings:

Injury or recurring decay can cause existing dental restorations to break or fall out of teeth. Avoid chewing on this area as those teeth can break apart further, requiring more advanced restoration. Even if you aren’t in pain and feel like you can chew on your other tooth, you’ll want to fix it quickly before additional damage occurs. 

Abscessed Tooth:

One of the most common dental emergencies to cause severe pain is an abscessed tooth. Abscesses occur when decay, trauma, or infection compromise the nerve of the tooth, triggering hypersensitivity, swelling, pain, or throbbing. Abscesses also cause gum swelling in that area of your mouth. 

Denture Emergencies: 

Denture wearers sometimes need emergency care, too. If you dropped or broke your denture, it may be impossible to wear it in your mouth without it causing discomfort. A denture repair or replacement is considered a dental emergency because it significantly impacts your quality of life and everyday activities. 

Pain Relief Tips for Tooth Pain

If you have a toothache or abscessed tooth, here are a few tips to try:

  • Rinse with warm water with about a teaspoon of salt mixed into it. 
  • Apply a cold compress on that side of your face for 20 minutes at a time. 
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever that is an anti-inflammatory, such as Motrin or ibuprofen.
  • Seek out emergency treatment at your earliest opportunity.

Should You Visit an Emergency Room?

Some people with tooth pain go straight to their local emergency room to seek out relief for their tooth abscess or other dental problems. Unfortunately, you won’t find an emergency dentist at a hospital. The only dental emergency relief you’ll find is temporary relief to alleviate pain. But your dental problem won’t resolve with medication or a trip to the ER. The only way to prevent recurring dental problems and a severe toothache is to seek urgent dental care with a family dentist or oral surgeon. Hospital emergency dental care does not treat the actual source that’s causing pain or infection. Their main goal is to stop bleeding, manage any life threatening facial swelling, or to address related issues like broken jaws. The hospital would address whether you’re experiencing severe pain, but they wouldn’t be able to provide immediate care that prevents recurring dental emergencies. So, unless you’re experiencing a life-threatening injury, it’s best to visit a dentist immediately instead of an emergency room. 

Preventing Sports Injuries and Broken Teeth

Make sure you’re prepared for any dental emergency by wearing a protective, custom-fitted sports mouthguard. Our Chattanooga dentist will fit the appliance so that it snuggly hugs each of your teeth, preventing it from slipping out of place during contact sports. Even if you fall or get hit, you’re at a lower risk of a knocked out tooth, broken tooth, and most especially, a concussion. Wearing protective oral appliances significantly reduces emergency dental needs. Even if you experience dental pain or injury, the extent of dental treatment needs is usually much less than without wearing a mouthguard. 

Another way to avoid unnecessary, painful dental problems is to treat decayed or cracked teeth as early as possible. Oftentimes all that’s necessary is to replace lost fillings or repair cracked teeth with a crown. But wait too long, and it can evolve into a dental abscess requiring a root canal. You should consider a dental emergency as something requiring urgent care before it gets worse or you suffer tooth loss. 

Emergency Dental Clinic in Chattanooga

Do you need emergency dental treatment? Are you in severe pain? We offer urgent and same-day emergency dental care. Call us during normal office hours to request an emergency dentist appointment. It’s important that you reach out as soon as possible so that our dentist can provide you with immediate dental care. 

McOmie Family Dentistry is always available to provide you and your family with urgent dental care, whether it’s for a chipped tooth or general tooth pain. Call now

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