Losing a filling or chipping a tooth may feel like a dental emergency, but chances are it can wait until morning, when your dentist’s office re-opens for business. So then what constitutes a true dental emergency, and how would you know if you should seek emergency medical attention at a hospital or urgent care clinic, vs. making an appointment with your dentist? Here’s some guidance to help you make that determination.
Dental emergencies and trauma most often require immediate medical attention. Examples include fractures of the jaw and jaw dislocations, severe cuts and lacerations, infections or abscesses, or an oral medical condition that is preventing you from breathing or swallowing. If the condition is life-threatening, waste no time and call 911.
In most cases, unless there is a serious injury or infection, pain is the key. When the pain becomes unbearable that it can’t wait until the dentist’s office opens, seek emergency medical attention. In some cases, such as with orofacial trauma, surgery may be required. If the pain from an abscess becomes unbearable or you are experiencing an excruciating toothache, it could be time to seek emergency care, especially because oral infections can lead to high fevers and other life-threatening conditions in both children and adults.
When it seems like an emergency…
Breaking a tooth, cracking an implant or losing a filling may seem like a dental emergency, but it likely is not life-threatening and would merit a visit to your dentist. In cases such as this, your dentist will take the time to address the problem, usually the next day. Your best bet is to phone your dentist; if this should occur outside regular business hours your dentist or the dentist on call will return your call in a timely manner and advise you what to do. Especially when dealing with children who might have experienced a dental incident, the most important thing is to keep them calm and call your dentist for further direction. Unless it is a serious or life-threatening emergency, most likely it can wait, but it’s advised to call just in case.
If you are experiencing a dental emergency, or aren’t sure, Dr. Ernie Soto is a phone call away. That’s why patients in Plantation have come to trust Dr. Soto, who has been providing expert dental care for families there for nearly 30 years. Dr. Soto routinely performs cosmetic and general dentistry and is known for his kindness and compassion. Need a whiter or straighter smile? Dr. Soto has you covered there too! To make an appointment with Dr. Soto, call (954) 368-6264, or make your appointment online today.