A: Really, the honest answer is—not much. They can give you antibiotics, they can give you some pain medication. There are some instances where hospitals have an oral surgeon on staff. For teeth that are hugely infected; if there’s an oral surgeon available—they may be able to treat you.
But generally speaking, for a toothache or an early infection, the hospital is just going to give antibiotics and pain medication.
It may surprise you to know that over 40% of people have dealt with tooth pain in the last year alone. Even more sobering is the fact that over 80% of adults in America will have had at least a single cavity before they’re 40.
Dental pain is a problem for many Americans and it can signify a minor oral health issue, or it can be something far more dangerous. Under all normal circumstances, you should not have a toothache, so when you do, it’s important to see your dentist ASAP.
However, what happens when that tooth pain occurs at 8 pm at night or on the 4th of July weekend—when your dentist is likely closed? What do you do then?
Do you wait it out? Should you go to the ER? What about some home remedies?
Struggling to come up with an answer? You’re not alone. Most people know exactly where to go when they have chest pain, or trouble breathing. They head to the ER and get checked out.
However not many think about tooth pain as a major life and death issue. Maybe because often it’s not. However, for the times that tooth pain is a life-or-death situation—you need to be able to identify it. You need to know what you should do immediately.
Emergency Dentist In San Antonio Or The Emergency Room?
The fact of the matter, as Dr. E expressed—there’s not much the ER can do for dental issues. Even with a serious abscess, they can only treat the infection, not the root cause. That is because most emergency rooms do not have dentists or oral surgeons on staff.
So, in the example above—a cracked tooth, the proper call would be to an emergency dentist in San Antonio. In most cases, a cracked tooth is not a life or death issue—unless you have let it get seriously infected.
Even if it has gotten seriously infected, you’d need to see the ER and then an emergency dentist in San Antonio. The ER to treat the infection, and the dentist to treat the cause of the infection.
What If The ER Is Necessary?
Now, that doesn’t mean that a dental problem can’t warrant a trip to the ER. However, usually, it’s because the dental problem is a result of something more serious. Additionally, it could be that the problem is having a domino effect and causing issues that are best suited for an ER.
What Dental Emergency Should I Visit The ER For?
As Dr. E has mentioned before, some issues would warrant you taking your dental emergency to the ER, including:
- Dental trauma from a severe injury to the head or neck
- Sudden, overwhelming pain that spreads rapidly
- Bleeding that won’t stop
- Extreme swelling
- Inability to breathe or swallow
It should also be noted that those with compounding conditions such as diabetes, or immune disorders should go straight to the ER.
Knowing that, the question now turns to whether your dental issue warrants a visit to your normal dentist or an emergency dentist in San Antonio. The more you know about dental trauma, the better prepared you’ll be to make the right choice.
Naturally, an emergency dentist is going to cost a bit more than your primary dentist. Knowing your situation’s appropriate action can have a serious effect on the outcome and your wallet.
Does A Broken Tooth Warrant An Emergency Dentist In San Antonio?
We’ve covered this before in several vlogs, so bear with us if it sounds repetitive, but the information is just as valuable. First off, we have a lot of patients that get confused between a broken tooth, and a cracked/fractured tooth.
We know, it all sounds the same—as if it’s just a different euphemism for cracked and vice-versa. However, while they’re related, they’re not the same— a broken tooth is always a fractured tooth, but not all fractured teeth are broken teeth.
Ok, we know, it’s confusing when it doesn’t have to be so, let us break it down. A fractured tooth is one that is not completely broken into two or more pieces.
Like the bones of the leg can get a fracture but not be completely broken in two, the same goes for teeth. A broken tooth is what happens when a tooth fracture progresses due to not being treated. That’s how they’re related, one is an escalation of the other.
When Is It A Dental Emergency?
While a fractured tooth is only an emergency based on the severity, a broken tooth is different. At JH Emergency we err on the side of caution. So, we say always treat a broken tooth as an emergency since it’s more compromised than a fracture.
Its structural integrity has been severely compromised which means normal activities such as eating could exacerbate things. That alone can lead to far more serious conditions such as infection which can lead to sepsis.
Which Is Worse? Fractured Or Broken?
Typically, given the nature of a broken tooth, it will be worse than a fractured tooth—even if the pain from the fracture is excruciating. Teeth and gums contain thousands of very sensitive nerves so even the slightest issue can feel worse than it is.
If for example, you break the cusp, which usually happens around a filling—it’s unlikely to cause pain. However, sometimes a fracture can extend into the soft pulp which might be more painful than a cusp break.
That’s because it’s not completely broken but the tissue is exposed and sensitive to the friction that occurs with normal speaking and eating.
Additionally, if a tooth is broken to the root, that can be extremely painful and a far more serious injury than a fracture.
So, there isn’t a definitive right or wrong answer. Both situations should be addressed by an emergency dentist in San Antonio ASAP and considered a dental emergency. This is a healthy way to deal with tooth pain while being proactive about dental care and preventing further damage.
Skip The ER—Contact JH Emergency Instead
So, the main takeaway is that the ER really cannot fix the problem for you. So, don’t waste your money unless you’re experiencing life-threatening issues as a result.
The easy way to deal with a broken tooth after hours is to contact us and book your appointment today with JH Emergency Dental!