Since the outbreak of COVID-19 has begun, most dentists, including your emergency dentist in Green Hills, are postponing all elective treatments. Instead, they are only treating dental emergencies. How can you tell if you truly have an emergency on your hands? What should you do in that situation? Keep reading to learn the answers.
Is It Urgent?
Some “emergency” situations are less urgent than others, and can wait a few days for treatment. If you are experiencing any of the following problems, however, you should contact your dentist right away:
- Knocked-out tooth
- Chipped or broken tooth
- Severe toothache that affects your day-to-day life
- Intense tooth sensitivity
- Swollen face or cheeks in conjunction with a toothache
- Injured jaw
- Oral bleeding that will not stop after 15 minutes
On the other hand, there are some instances where you may have an emergency on your hands, but it can wait a couple of days for treatment. These situations include:
- A dull toothache
- Lost filling, crown, or bridge
- Damaged retainer or nightguard
- Small chip in tooth
- Mild sensitivity
Even if you experience one of these milder dental emergencies, it’s still highly recommended that you call your dentist right away to schedule an appointment. Problems like these can quickly spiral into more serious oral health issues if you don’t seek treatment in a timely fashion.
Who Should You Call?
In the case of a dental emergency, your dentist is the person you should call first. If your dentist is not open and they don’t have an emergency hotline that directs you to another open dentist, then it’s fine to visit your local emergency room as a last resort. However, keep in mind that they usually don’t have the specialized training required to handle specific dental emergencies, and that your dentist is your best bet for treatment.
There are a few instances where it’s beneficial to visit the ER instead, though. If your jaw is broken or dislocated, or if you have swelling that obstructs your airway, you need general medical attention.
How Can You Prevent Dental Emergencies?
You may be wondering what you can do to keep another dental emergency from cropping up down the road. Here are some steps you can take to lessen their likelihood of happening:
- Visit your dentist for checkups and cleanings at least twice a year.
- Complete any recommended treatment on time. Putting off a filling, crown, or root canal can leave you at risk for developing other oral health problems.
- Avoid bad habits like teeth grinding and chewing on ice, pencils, or your fingernails.
- Brush and floss every day to prevent bacteria from accumulating and wreaking havoc.
The most important takeaway here is to contact your emergency dentist in Green Hills first thing if you have any of the urgent dental problems listed above. Doing so could save your smile!
About the Author
Dr. Clayton Cummings earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry. He maintains active memberships in the American Dental Association, the Tennessee Dental Association, the Nashville Dental Society, and the Volunteer Study Club. His practice is only open for emergency patients due to the pandemic. However, his team will do their utmost to see you on the same day as your call. If you’re undergoing a dental emergency, contact Dr. Cummings’ practice at 615-460-0123.