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Emergency Dental Services
What are Dental Emergencies?
An emergency is not something you plan. Emergencies disrupt your schedule and force you to make quick decisions. We believe that the more you know about potential dental emergencies, the better equipped you will be to handle them when they arise.
There are two broad categories of dental emergencies requiring urgent care: infections and injuries.
- Dental Infections – Both cavities and gum disease are bacterial infections. When they progress without treatment, they can lead to serious infections that spread far outside of the tooth and surrounding gums. In rare instances, people die from dental infections.
- Dental Injuries – Dental injuries can occur during contact sports, auto accidents, or even just taking a bad fall. These injuries often break or reposition teeth in the front of the mouth. They can also cause serious lacerations (cuts) in the soft tissues of the mouth.
Dental Emergencies that Require an ER Visit
It is important to understand that some dental emergencies send you to an emergency room or urgent care facility instead of to your dental office. These include any large swellings of the face, tongue, and neck due to dental infections. Because these infections can spread into areas such as the airway, bloodstream and brain, immediate antibiotic administration via IV is necessary.
Another reason you should go to the ER instead of your dentist is any cut that requires stitches or does not stop bleeding after you apply pressure with a gauze or towel.
How Do I Receive Emergency Dental Care from Bixby Family Dentistry?
Simply call our office! The staff members who answer the phones know exactly when and where we can accommodate unplanned appointments. We hold space in our schedules every day so that we can see patients with emergencies as quickly as possible.
You do not have to be an established patient of ours to receive emergency dental care. We are happy to see new patients on an emergency basis!
What does Emergency Dental Care Involve?
That depends on what type of emergency you have. In most cases, our goal is to help you reach a stable condition during the emergency visit and proceed with final treatment later. The exact treatment differs depending on the type and extent of emergency.
First, we must diagnose the infection with a clinical evaluation of the tooth and an x-ray. Because dental infections are bacterial, we will prescribe any necessary antibiotics to help you fight the infection. In many cases, when the source of infection is within the tooth, we can remove the source of infection by performing the preliminary stages of a root canal treatment. This helps relieve your toothache pain and begin the healing process. It is emergency care only, and not the final treatment for the tooth.
When a tooth has a poor or hopeless long-term prognosis and extraction is necessary, we are often able to extract it the same day.
The injuries that require quick care are those that break large pieces of a tooth, move the tooth into a different position, or knock a tooth out completely. Minor chipping of front teeth that does not cause any sensitivity is not an emergency and can be repaired any time. If a large piece of tooth has broken off exposing the nerve, then treatment is necessary as soon as possible.
Teeth that were moved by an injury and those knocked out need immediate attention. We will reposition or re-implant teeth in order to achieve the best long-term success.
What Should I Know about Dental Emergencies?
It is extremely important for you to follow through with any necessary follow-up treatment. It can be easy to forget once the pain subsides, but emergency dental care does not completely solve the problem. Its goal is to stabilize you to a point where you can return to normal function and seek out the final treatment on your own schedule.