Dental Emergency – What can you expect?
Dental emergencies pretty much fall into two categories, the true emergency which is the result of trauma of some sort such as a sports accident, bike accident, fall etc. and that which is a result of poor planning or procrastination. In both instances you are likely hurting and need something done ASAP. In the case of trauma, time is of the essence; depending on the exact injury, the outcome may be affected by the elapsed time from accident to treatment. In the case of poor planning or procrastination involving pain, the outcome is probably not going to be affected; only the duration and intensity of the pain may change. Maybe it will go away are the 5 most dangerous words in the English language. The best treatment obviously is to not put yourself in that situation. Not procrastinating and finding problems that can easily be treated and avoid the emergency is the best choice. If you have put off treatment and are now in pain you must decide if it can wait or are you willing to pay extra to be seen after hours. There are a couple of things you may be able to do as a short term, temporary fix until you can get in, including rinsing, flossing the area to be sure it is free of food debris. If you have any oil of clove, you can place a drop of it on a piece of cotton and place it in the hole. Do not place aspirin in it or on your gums. Aspirin will burn your gums and give you another reason to hurt. Remember, these are just short term, call the office and get the source of the problem treated. In the case of an accident, you are far better off to seek treatment immediately. A prime example of this is the accidental avulsion (knocking a tooth completely out). The sooner it is back in, the greater the chance of keeping it. Okay, you are in the office, what happens now. Pt information must be obtained, including a health history. A history of this problem will be obtained including the details of how it happened, how long it has been going on, what aggravates it etc. In the case of an accident, most of the attention will be just the traumatized area. One or more x-rays will likely be taken. In the case of a toothache due to a cavity that has been there an extended amount of time, the chosen treatment may be influenced by your overall dental health. For instance, is it worthwhile to spend money on a root canal and crown on one tooth when there are other missing and decayed teeth. After information has been gathered, treatment options will be discussed, with you making the decision on how to proceed.