Winter is almost here, and sports activities can find a way to bring a dental emergency into your life during the busy holiday season. Whether you are skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, swimming, or surfing, accidents can happen. It can mean running into a tree while sledding, falling on your face at an ice skating rink, or knocking a tooth out on your surfboard. Your mouth can sustain a dental emergency all year round!
Protecting Your Smile
Whether you are out having fun hitting the snow-covered hills, playing hockey with friends, or even celebrating the season with friends, you usually are not thinking about how you can prevent a dental emergency. It’s what you can do beforehand that will really count! Protecting your smile is as easy as wearing the right gear for your recreational activity, whether that’s a mouth guard, face cage, or helmet.
So, what happens when the unthinkable happens? Seeking help right away can help stop your oral pain and lower the risk of having permanent oral damage. During business hours, calling our office is simple, but what if you have an accident on a holiday, weekend, or in the middle of the night that can’t wait? It might require getting help from an emergency room visit. But first, let’s look at what constitutes a dental emergency.
What Is a Dental Emergency?
Some emergencies can wait until the next morning, but others could result in a lost adult tooth if treatment is not sought out immediately. Ask yourself the following to make that assessment:
- Do you have severe pain along with bleeding?
- Do you have a partially dislodged or knocked-out adult tooth?
- Do you have a loose permanent tooth (but no pain)?
- Do you have an oral abscess or infection combined with swelling in the mouth or face?
- Do you have a severely bitten tongue or lip?
- Do you have a cracked or broken tooth?
- Have you lost a dental crown or filling?
- Do you have an object stuck between your teeth that shouldn’t be?
- Have you broken your jaw from trauma/injury?
Please call us right away if you have any of those conditions, and if you can’t reach us for emergency dental care, visiting the ER is your next best option.
What Is Not a Dental Emergency?
The easiest question you can ask yourself here is, “Can you wait to see your dentist in the next day or so?” It means that a chipped tooth that isn’t causing you pain can be delayed, but a chipped or cracked tooth that hurts or has sharp bits that hurt cannot wait. Sometimes, even a painful toothache can safely wait if it is not accompanied by an abscess or facial swelling, bumps on your gum tissue, or a rising fever. Losing a filling or crown can typically wait several days if necessary.
Dental emergencies benefit from remembering to stay calm. Knowing what to do beforehand can help facilitate that needed self-control, especially when pain is combined with stress, making it harder to think clearly. When should you visit an emergency room if you can’t reach our dentist?
Visiting Your Nearest Emergency Room
- You’ve sustained an injury to your head or eye
- You’ve suffered a concussion and are experiencing confusion
- You’ve broken a bone or dislocated a joint in your jaw
- You have a cut or facial laceration likely to require multiple stitches
When it comes to your oral health, remember to never ignore dental injuries, illnesses, or conditions. Sometimes a problem can wait until you see your dentist, but many times, early intervention is necessary. When in doubt, call our office to make sure! And if you can’t reach us after hours, please seek help at your local ER.
In between dental visits, stay on top of your oral hygiene habits to help keep your teeth and gums healthy and strong throughout the year. And if you are participating in recreational activities this winter, wear a mouth guard and helmet as needed. Speak to our team about what you can do today to prevent a dental accident. Your smile deserves your best care!