What is a Dental Emergency?

During the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many New York State dental offices are open for dental emergencies. Yet, many people are left to wonder what constitutes a dental emergency. The American Dental Association (ADA) describes a dental emergency as an “urgent need for dental treatment in order to relieve severe pain and/or risk of infection and to alleviate the burden on hospital emergency departments.” Furthermore, there are a variety of situations that warrant a dental emergency appointment, so it is important not to downplay any symptoms that you are having.

What Symptoms Constitute a Dental Emergency?

Some of the following symptoms (but not limited to) may signal that you should see your dentist as soon as possible for an emergency appointment:

Chipped or broken tooth

When a tooth gets chipped or broken, the nerve ending can become exposed causing significant pain and vulnerability to infection. The minute this happens, try to save the broken piece of tooth by keeping it moist and call your dentist right away.

Abscess (pus-filled lump) in the mouth

This may be indicative of an infection which requires immediate attention in order to prevent it from spreading and getting worse.

Severe pain within the mouth and/or jaw

Pain usually signals that something is wrong. In order to get to the root of the problem, you need to see a dentist. Pain could mean anything from a cavity to a severe infection, which will only get worse if they are not treated.

Swelling of any kind

Inflammation is usually a sign of an issue that should be taken care of to prevent it from worsening.

Broken dentures that need repairs in order to function

Dentures that cannot function properly may severely impact your ability to speak and eat. Thus, denture repairs require prompt attention.

Suture removal

If you have had oral surgery that involved removable sutures, the removal is required for proper healing and infection prevention.

Misplaced, defective or broken temporary dental restoration (for example: a crown or filling)

Dental restorations may be necessary to prevent pain, protect the tooth from further damage, and/or allow the tooth to function. If a restoration is defective, broken or lost, you may experience pain, as well as difficulty chewing and/or talking.

In the case that you are experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, or even if you have a question regarding whether or not what you are experiencing is a dental emergency, it’s always best to call your dentist. Advanced DDS is a full-service dental practice in Garden City, NY where we provide a comforting and comprehensive dental care experience- especially for dental emergencies, as we know they can be scary. Call 516-825-1100 for prompt dental emergency care.

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