Should You Go to the ER or Your Dentist for a Dental Emergency?

April 12, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — skylinedental @ 6:04 pm
Patient holding their cheek due to a dental emergency

A sudden dental emergency can be alarming and painful, leaving you unsure of the best course of action. Should you rush to the emergency room (ER) or call your dentist? Knowing where to go can save you time, money, and unnecessary discomfort. So, if you want to learn when it’s best to visit each one, continue reading. You’ll see some common dental emergencies and expert advice on where you should go in a crisis.

Common Dental Emergencies

Understanding what is considered a dental emergency is the first step to solving your issues. Here are some typical situations you may encounter:

  • Severe Toothache: Intense pain that doesn’t go away with over-the-counter painkillers.
  • Broken or Chipped Tooth: A tooth that is visibly cracked, chipped, or fractured.
  • Knocked-Out Tooth: A tooth that has been completely dislodged from its socket.
  • Abscess: A painful, swollen area in the gums, often accompanied by fever or a bad taste in the mouth.
  • Soft Tissue Injury: Cuts or lacerations to the lips, tongue, or inside of the mouth.

When to go to the Emergency Room

While most dental emergencies can be handled by your dentist, there are situations where medical intervention is necessary:

  • Uncontrolled Bleeding: If you have a severe injury that causes continuous bleeding, seek immediate help at the ER.
  • Severe Infection: Signs of infection, like swelling that affects breathing or swallowing, high fever, or facial swelling, call for medical attention.
  • Traumatic Injury: An injury that affects more than your teeth, like a jaw fracture or other facial trauma.

When to Visit Your Dentist

For most other dental emergencies, your dentist is the best person to call:

  • Severe Toothache: Your dentist can diagnose the cause of your pain, whether it’s a cavity, abscess, or other issue, and provide treatment.
  • Broken or Chipped Tooth: Dentists can repair and restore damaged teeth using bonding, crowns, or other restorative methods.
  • Knocked-Out Tooth: If possible, gently rinse the tooth and try to place it back in the socket. If not, keep it in a container of milk or saline solution and see your dentist immediately.
  • Abscess: Your dentist can drain the abscess and prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection.

Deciding between the ER and your dentist for a dental emergency depends on the severity and nature of the issue. By knowing where to go, you can ensure you receive appropriate care quickly, protecting your health and preserving your smile.

About the Author

Dr. Aliana Henkin is a knowledgeable and talented dentist with a doctorate from the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine. She has since then taken many advanced courses to continue her education in multiple fields of dentistry. Dr. Henkin is committed to helping her patients get out of pain and live better lives. Call (973) 846-9334 to schedule an emergency dental appointment at Skyline Dental of Morristown or visit the website to explore other treatments they offer.

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