When do you need emergency dental treatment?

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Dental emergencies can happen anytime – day or night, but how do you know if you need emergency dental treatment? Can it wait till your dentist is open during normal business hours, or should you go immediately to an emergency room?

Minor and major oral injuries

The most common types of oral injuries occur when biting down on hard food, playing sports or other physical accidents. In these instances, you may have experienced a cracked, fractured, chipped or even knocked-out tooth.

If you have experienced a minor oral injury such as a loose crown, chipped tooth or small fracture, then you can hold off until your dentist is open. The same goes for toothaches.

However, for more severe cases of these types of injuries – where a large portion of tooth has broken off or the fracture has resulted in nerve damage – you should seek emergency dental treatment. Knocked-out teeth also require immediate attention because you may only have a one hour window of opportunity – to get the tooth reimplanted successfully by your dentist.

Other dental emergencies

Other dental emergencies include: soft tissue trauma, bleeding and severe oral infection. Oral infections, including abscesses, are potentially life-threatening so seek immediate treatment to prevent the infection from progressing to other parts of your body.

Dental emergency checklist

To help work out the difference between a non-urgent dental problem and a dental emergency, use the following checklist:

  1. Are you experiencing oral bleeding that won’t stop?
  2. Are you experiencing intense tooth pain?
  3. Do you have a loose tooth, or one that has dislodged or shifted?
  4. Has your tooth been knocked out?
  5. Do you have a serious oral infection or abscess?
  6. Are you experiencing facial swelling?

If you have answered “yes” to any one of these dental emergency conditions then you should seek emergency dental immediately. Essentially, any dental problem that requires treatment to manage or stop intense oral pain, continuous bleeding, severe infections and knocked-out teeth, is considered a dental emergency.

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Where to go for a dental emergency

That might seem obvious, but not all dental emergencies happen when dental clinics are usually open.

If your dental emergency occurs during business hours, then you should have no problem contacting your nearest dentist and booking an immediate appointment. Most dentists keep slots open in their daily schedules to accommodate unexpected dental emergencies. To seek emergency treatment at Complete Smile Dental, call our reception on (07) 3300 3388 during opening hours, to make an emergency booking, and receive crucial first aid advice.

If your dental emergency occurs after hours, drive to your nearest Emergency Room or after-hours dentist to seek emergency dental treatment.