4 Guidelines For Patients Who Need Emergency Dental Treatment

Dentists provide emergency care to patients who are experiencing dental emergencies. Oral pain, trauma, and infections all count as dental emergencies that should be treated promptly. Here are four guidelines that you should keep in mind when seeking emergency dental treatment:

1. Don't put off your treatment.

Some dental emergencies can seem less pressing than others. For instance, a lost filling that isn't actively causing you pain might not seem like an immediate cause for alarm. However, it's important that you don't delay dental treatment. Even minor dental emergencies can quickly become painful and severe if they aren't treated in a timely manner. Call your dentist to schedule an emergency appointment as soon as you notice a problem. If your dentist isn't available, for instance, if it's the middle of the night, you can leave a message describing the nature of your problem.

2. Bring dislodged teeth, dental crowns, and fillings to the dentist's office.

People often seek emergency dental care because a tooth, dental crown, or dental filling has been dislodged. Sometimes, you may swallow a filling or shard of a tooth by accident. However, if you're able to retain the dental hardware or tooth that fell out of your mouth, you should save it and bring it to your dentist. Seeing the dental hardware that got dislodged can help your dentist better diagnose the problem. In the case of broken teeth, your dentist may be able to reattach them using dental bonding or a tooth splint.

3. Apply first aid.

Head injuries can bleed profusely, and this includes injuries to the mouth. If your dental emergency was caused by trauma, you might experience bleeding from your lips or gums. Clean the area with saline or warm water to flush away dirt and germs. You can staunch bleeding lips and gums using a clean wad of gauze or a cotton pad. Bite down on the gauze or cotton or hold it firmly in place until the bleeding stops.

4. Have your dental insurance information handy.

In an emergency, your dental insurance may not be the first thing on your mind. However, having your dental insurance information ready can save you from having to pay an expensive bill out of pocket since many dentists ask for payment upfront. Bring your insurance card and ID with you to the dentist's office, especially if you're visiting a dentist whom you haven't seen before.