It is essential to learn what is considered a dental emergency and when to rush to the dentist. Do you have a mild toothache? Has your minor gum bleeding continued for several hours? Before you contact Westchase Dental Institute, make sure you understand the difference between a dental emergency and one that is not. Recognizing the distinction between an emergency and non-emergency situation can save your life or the lives of others.
What Is a Dental Emergency?
For patients wondering what is considered a dental emergency, the answer varies depending on who you ask. The American Dental Association (ADA) narrowly defines a dental emergency as potentially life-threatening and includes:
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Bacterial infection with swelling inside or outside of the mouth
- Facial bone trauma that may restrict the airway
The ADA classifies most other serious dental issues as urgencies, not emergencies.
While the ADA remains one of the most authoritative bodies in dentistry, some dentists and patients would define a dental emergency more broadly. Most people would consider the following dental issues to be an emergency:
- Knocked-out teeth
- Cracked or chipped teeth that cause pain
- Lost crowns or fillings that cause pain
- Severe dental pain
If you don’t see your specific dental issue listed above, that doesn’t mean it represents a non-emergency. Use your best judgment before deciding on an emergency dental visit.
What Isn’t a Dental Emergency?
The vast majority of dental issues do not constitute emergencies. Aside from the obvious non-emergencies, like discolored teeth and minor cavities, the following dental problems also do not qualify as emergencies:
- Chipped teeth that don’t cause pain
- Mild toothaches
- Lost crowns or fillings that don’t cause pain
- Minor soreness caused by braces
- Denture repairs or adjustments
- Removal of sutures
While some of the above dental issues may cause mild pain and distress, they are not considered a dental emergency. Many non-emergencies require treatment within a few days; however, they do not necessitate immediate or same-day dental care.
How to Prevent Dental Emergencies
The best way to deal with dental emergencies is to avoid them altogether. By taking certain precautions, you can prevent most emergencies. While some dental emergencies will happen regardless of what you do, others will give you warning signs long before they occur. Some of the ways to prevent dental emergencies include:
- Brushing and flossing after every meal
- Scheduling checkups with your dentist every six months
- Adhering to your dentist’s aftercare instructions
- Developing a customized treatment plan with your dentist
- Wearing a mouthguard during contact sports
While these tips may not prevent every dental emergency, they will make them less likely to happen. If you want to avoid an emergency trip to the dentist, always maintain proper oral hygiene and protect your teeth from trauma.
Contact Westchase Dental Institute During a Dental Emergency
If you find yourself experiencing a dental emergency, run over to Westchase Dental Institute. Call us at (813) 920-9144, and state the nature of your emergency and your expected arrival time. Westchase Dental Institute sets aside a block of time each day, so our patients always have access to an emergency dentist in Tampa.