Dental emergencies can happen anytime, day or night. And not everything is a result of sudden trauma — even something so innocuous as nighttime teeth grinding can sometimes lead to an after-hours dental crisis, if years of grinding have finally resulted in a chipped or fractured tooth. Unfortunately, 24 hour dentists can be few and far between.
Your first inclination may be to drive (or be driven) to the emergency room of your local hospital. But try to remain calm and decide if that’s really the best course of action. Emergency rooms are rarely staffed with dentists. The main function of any ER is to perform life-saving procedures. A chipped tooth — even a missing tooth — is very rarely life-threatening. Unless the broken tooth is blocking your airway or won’t stop bleeding, it may be best to wait until the morning to schedule an urgent appointment with your local dentist.
In the meantime, treat the symptoms. You’ll want to take something for pain, even if it hasn’t set in yet. In the case of serious mouth trauma, mild shock can delay the onset of pain — don’t assume that just because it doesn’t hurt right away, it won’t hurt like the dickens in twenty minutes or so. Applying ice to the affected area can help to preempt any swelling as well.
Consider, too, the kind of dentist you might need to see once you do get a chance to schedule an appointment. Your general dentist can ensure there isn’t any major damage, but will most likely refer you to a cosmetic dentistry specialist for any restorative procedures you might need. If your symptoms are manageable in the meantime, you may be better served to wait until you can schedule an appointment directly with a cosmetic dentist, and save a step.
Just as with emergency phone numbers and contact information, finding a dentist for emergencies ahead of time can save you stress and worry. Remember: the best time to research whether or not there’s a 24 hour dentist in your area is before you desperately need one. More like this blog: Delta dental kirkland