Dental Emergency: Should You Go to the ER or Dentist?

June 16, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — dentaldistinct @ 9:33 pm

Young woman with a toothacheNo one ever expects a dental emergency to happen to them, but it’s a common situation. 1 in 6 Americans has a dental emergency every year. If the unexpected should happen, don’t panic! Instinct may tell you to head to the closest hospital, but that may not be the best decision. Although the emergency department can save your life, they can’t save your tooth. Instead, here’s why it’s better to contact your dentist.

A Hospital Isn’t the Best Option

Hospitals can prescribe antibiotics and pain relievers, but they aren’t equipped to treat the underlying problem. As a result, you’ll still need to see a dentist to resolve the issue. 

Unless you’re having a medical emergency, it is better to contact your dentist. They’ll get you into the office quickly and address your pain while treating the issue at the source.

Common Dental Emergency Treatments

Dental emergencies can take many forms, like knocked-out teeth, toothaches, or jaw pain. Therefore, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to treat dental emergencies. Depending on your situation, common procedures include:

  • Root Canal Therapy: A root canal extracts the infected tissue deep within a tooth to save it from needing extraction.
  • Dental Crowns: Bonding a crown over the portion of a tooth above the gum line can resolve many issues, like cracks and chips.
  • Dental Bonding: A composite resin can fix minor issues quickly, like chipped teeth.
  • Tooth Extractions: Sometimes a tooth cannot be saved. Your dentist will extract it and replace it with a prosthetic, like a dental implant.
  • Dental Splints: Knocked-out and dislodged teeth can be saved if you act fast. Your dentist can use a dental splint to stabilize your tooth.

Preventing Dental Emergencies

You can’t always stop emergencies from happening, but you can do many things to lessen your risk of one, like:

  • Brush and Floss: Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily to keep preventable dental problems at bay, like tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Break Bad Habits: Stop any bad habits that can damage your teeth, like using them in place of scissors or chewing on your fingernails.
  • Wear a Mouthguard: Wear an athletic mouthguard if you play sports to protect your smile. If you have a habit of grinding and clenching your teeth, ask your dentist for a nightguard to safeguard your teeth.
  • Visit Your Dentist: Visit your dentist every 6 months for a cleaning and checkup. Research has found that every $1 spent on prevention can save up to $50 on emergency services. A semi-annual appointment is a simple way to preserve your natural smile and avoid costly dental bills later.

Time is of the utmost importance. Don’t lose a minute by going to the ER for a dental problem. Instead, contact your dentist right away.

About Dr. Nabeela Khan

Dr. Khan earned her dental degree at the University of Illinois Chicago and has regularly continued her education to provide advanced services. She provides the most cutting-edge solutions to treat the most complex oral health issues. If you have a dental emergency, request an appointment through our website or call (972) 433-9722.

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