Most of the time, when people have an emergency, they go to the hospital emergency room or urgent care clinic. This is most often the case even with dental emergencies. Not all problems require a visit to the hospital, although many do. With dental issues, most hospitals are not sufficiently equipped to handle dental emergencies. There is seldom anyone in the dental field available foremergency dental careand this can be problematic for the patient.
What Constitutes a Need for Emergency Dental Care?
There are times when a person may have a dental issue, but emergency care is not necessarily required. Some dental problems can be treated with home remedies until the patient can be seen by a dentist, some problems will resolve on their own over a period of time and some are urgent, but not necessarily considered emergencies.
If there is trauma to a tooth or to the mouth, then emergency dental care is necessary. Examples of this would be a sporting event where a person was hit in the mouth with a bat, or a skateboarding accident where a fall caused a tooth to lacerate the lip. In the latter case, the lip would need attention, and the tooth would need to be examined to ensure that it did not suffer any damage.
Anytime a tooth is knocked out, it calls for emergency dental care. Keep the tooth on ice and try not to touch it any more than absolutely necessary. In the best case scenario the dentist may be able to put it back in the socket, although it may need root canal therapy at some point.
Toothaches sometimes, but not always, require emergency treatment. In the early stages when you first notice sensitivity with a tooth, it should be examined by a dentist. Waiting or ignoring the signs only makes it worse until emergency dental care is necessary.
The Abscessed Tooth
One of the most common reasons people seek emergency dental care is for an abscessed tooth. Generally this is the final stage of a long process. A cavity begins when the enamel, or outer shell of the tooth begins to decay. At this stage a dentist can detect the problem and attend to it. With kids, the area may be cleaned out, filled in and the tooth surfaces with fissures and grooves sealed to prevent decay from developing.
When decay is allowed to spread it moves faster through the second layer of the tooth which is the dentin, a softer substance than the hard enamel. Usually patients will feel sensitivity or sometimes pain at this stage. The final stage of decay is when the pulp or nerve of the tooth is attacked. At this point a tooth may become abscessed and the pain can be very intense. This is also the stage where emergency dental care is needed.
If an abscessed tooth is not dealt with it can lead to infection spilling out of the abscess into the blood stream. For this reason, a bad tooth can have fatal consequences. Root canal therapy may be necessary to save the tooth, if there is enough healthy structure left. If not then the tooth needs to be extracted.
Accidents and trauma happen out of the blue, but many dental issues can be minimized or eliminated with regular dental checkups. At Kids 4 Ever, we offer exceptional dental care to keep your kids in the best oral health possible. Make a call today for an appointment.