A: That really depends on the type and extent of the injury. If it’s a broken tooth or broken teeth and not too large of fracture of the jawbone—we can see you here at my emergency dental office.
If it involves large fractures of the jaw or crushing trauma to the face, those need to be treated in the hospital by oral surgeons.
If you’ve ever experienced dental trauma such as getting hit in the teeth with a ball or faceplanting on the concrete—it’s scary. Unfortunately, these events often seem to happen at the most inconvenient time—like outside normal dentist’s hours. That can leave you in pain for an extended period and then the panic sets in.
When You Experience Dental Trauma Your Thoughts Might Be…
- Do I go to the ER, urgent care, emergency dentist, wait for my dentist—I don’t know what to do!
- Does the ER have dentists?
- Is this dental trauma and emergency or am I being dramatic?
- Is a toothache considered dental trauma?
- How do I know if this is detrimental to my health or not?
- Should I go to the ER first or the emergency dentist first, what if they send me to the ER anyway?
- How am I going to afford this? Will my insurance help out at all?
If you’re experiencing dental trauma that we can treat, we’d love to help you!
Our San Antonio emergency dental clinic wants to help as many people as we can with their dental trauma. However, there are some traumas that an emergency dentist can effectively treat, and some that we can’t.
We don’t want you to waste precious time if this ever happens to you. So, we’ve created a quick guide to help you make the right choice—emergency dentist or ER?
Whatever you do, don’t leave any dental trauma untreated, but knowing what to do and when to do it goes a long way.
First—Call The Best Emergency Dentist In San Antonio
When you experience dental trauma you should call us or your dentist first. We’ll ask you a few questions about the situation so we can determine your next move. If it sounds like something we can treat here in our office, we’ll have you come in. If it sounds like something more serious we may recommend you go to the nearest ER.
How Do You Know If It’s A Dental Emergency Or Not?
Just because your dental trauma is painful, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a dental emergency. The general rule is, if the pain is sudden and then drops off quickly, it can wait. However, if the pain is excruciating, and does not subside, or you’re bleeding non-stop then yes, you have an emergency.
Common Dental Emergencies:
- Excruciating pain
- Heavy bleeding or constant bleeding of the gums
- Fractures to the jaw or teeth
- A knocked-out tooth
- Swelling accompanied by severe pain
- Painful toothache that will not go away
- Swelling around the mouth in conjunction with a toothache
When Should You Visit An Emergency Dentist Or An ER For Dental Trauma?
After experiencing dental trauma you may or may not need to get immediate attention. It depends on the severity of the situation as Dr. E mentioned. Minor trauma may be treated fine in an emergency dentist. However, in more serious cases as Dr. E. mentioned, you may be better off at an ER.
If you act quickly after getting a tooth knocked out a dentist might be able to re-implant the tooth back into the socket and save it. You do need to make sure you take the right precautions though to give the dentist the best chance:
- Carefully pick up the tooth by the crown only never touch the root.
- Rinse the tooth off gently with water and do not scrub it.
- Gently try and place the tooth back in your socket. If you can’t, soak it in a small sealable container in some milk and go straight to an emergency dentist.
Fractured or Chipped Teeth
Sometimes dental trauma results in an injury that causes extreme pain, but only for short period. For example, when something has chipped your tooth—if it doesn’t hurt, it’s not a dental emergency. You should just be careful and eat soft food until you can see your dentist. Watch how you chew as well and put as little pressure on that tooth as possible.
However, if you crack or fracture your tooth and are in extreme pain—that’s a serious dental emergency. You could have damage inside the tooth as well as the outside and it might even need extracting.
For painful fractures, you’ll want to rinse your mouth with warm water to help reduce the pain. Then, follow with a cold compress to ease swelling. You can take a little Tylenol for pain but never apply a topical painkiller.
A dental abscess is a life-threatening dental emergency because it can lead to a blood infection referred to as sepsis. Abscesses are usually caused by a bacterial infection and show up as a pus-filled inflammation around your tooth and gumline. You typically would have accompanying symptoms such as:
- tooth sensitivity
- a throbbing toothache
- tender lymph nodes
- facial swelling
- a bump on your gums that oozes puss and is inflamed.
Rinse your mouth with mildly warm salt water a few times to draw the pus out and reduce pain, and get to your emergency dentist ASAP.
Facial Trauma, Gum Tissue Injury, or Facial Swelling/Pain
It’s an automatic dental emergency if you’ve been hit in the face with a hard object or punched in the jaw and swelling severely. Additionally, you may have extreme pain, cuts on your gum line, or a swollen jaw.
In general, all of these signs point to a dental emergency that can be treated at an emergency dentist except in severe cases. For example, a jaw that is just swollen may be treated at an emergency dentist. However, if the jaw is swollen because it’s a large fracture—that needs an oral surgeon and should be treated at the ER.
If bleeding in the mouth or from the gums for any reason, you need to clean the area with warm water immediately. Get to your emergency dentist right away for an evaluation.
WARNING: Always use Tylenol for pain relief of a dental emergency, NEVER ibuprofen or aspirin. These are anticoagulants and will exacerbate bleeding and cause further problems.
We’re Here To Help You With Your Dental Trauma
JH Emergency Dental is known for offering the best emergency dental care in San Antonio. We’re known for being ready to treat emergencies at a moment’s notice and will get you on the road to recovery.
The next time you have a dental emergency don’t forget—you can book an appointment right on your phone or computer. We also offer preventative and routine dental services for those that can’t get away during normal dental office hours.
Contact us today to book your appointment!