Tooth aches and pains are common and you’ve probably experienced one at least once. Most kinds of toothaches are minor and can be tolerated until the next dental appointment, but sometimes the pain is severe and can be your body’s way of telling you that something needs to be attended to fast. How then do you differentiate a regular toothache from a dental emergency?
The Dental Emergency Checklist
Knowing when to act quickly to schedule an emergency visit with your local dentist can save you money in the long run and from more pain. Here are the signs that you might be facing a dental emergency scenario:
1. You’re feeling severe pain.
If the pain is recurring, severe, or won’t let up even with the use of over-the-counter pain relievers, it’s time to contact your dentist. This is even more true if you are also currently experiencing fever, a swollen jaw, or difficulty swallowing, which are all serious signs of infection. Go for emergency dental care now!
2. Your gums are bleeding.
Gums that bleed during brushing or flossing may point to early signs of gingivitis. You might want to book an appointment to have this looked at by your dentist, although this isn’t cause to go the emergency route yet. However, when aching gums accompany the bleeding, the bleeding is recurring, or the bleeding is excessive, this requires immediate dental care.
3. You have a loose, cracked, or knocked-out tooth.
Permanent or adult teeth should never feel loose. If it is, it could be a sign of infection or injury. This needs to be looked at immediately and treated to prevent the condition from worsening.
If your tooth has a large fracture or is missing a big piece, it is time to contact your dental care provider.
The same goes for a knocked-out tooth. Your fast action might be able to save your lost tooth, especially if you follow the American Dental Association’s recommendation of placing the tooth between your gums and cheeks or in a container of milk while you wait for the dentist to see you.
Booking an Emergency Visit
If you think you’re dealing with a dental emergency, contact your regular provider immediately and see if they have a slot available for you. Even if your emergency happens during off-hours, your dental clinic’s voicemail may leave instructions for what to do or who to contact during emergencies.
You can also try searching for an emergency dentist near you using ADA’s dentist locator. Going to the emergency room of your local hospital should be your last option because hospitals will usually limit treatments to painkillers as most aren’t equipped to treat dental conditions.
Is Emergency Dental Care Expensive?
Typically, the bill will be higher with emergency care when compared to a regular dental appointment. Location also plays a part in the costs, so expect to pay more if you are in a large city or near the coasts.
Dental insurance can significantly reduce costs of treatments and procedures, but if you don’t have one, many dental clinics offer payment plans for their patients. There are also various government programs that you can check out that offer assistance for qualified beneficiaries.
Don’t wait to have your dental condition seen!
If you are in need of emergency treatment and care, give us a call at 541-708-6288 to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.