How to Know When You Have a Dental Emergency

How to Know When You Have a Dental Emergency

It never fails. Have you ever spent months planning that perfect family vacation only to have something happen at the last minute to throw everything off schedule — or threaten to cancel it altogether? Emergencies happen. It’s an inconvenient fact of life.

Don’t dental emergencies always seem worse somehow? Questions start spinning through your head. Will I be able to get in touch with my dentist? Can I get an appointment right away? Will I need medicine? Or worse yet, can the tooth be saved?

Take a deep breath and don’t panic, says Dr. Meriem Boukadoum, here at 54th Street Dental. We’ll be there for you with our emergency dental care regardless, whether the office is open and you get a same-day appointment, it’s after hours, or even a holiday. 

We’ll treat you as quickly as possible so you can get back to feeling better and resume your normal activities more comfortably.

Inconvenience versus a dental emergency

A good place to start is to define a true dental emergency. Familiar routine dental appointments like dental examinations and checkups, hygiene appointments and professional cleanings are just that — routine. 

The same goes for cosmetic services like the teeth whitening you meant to have done prior to your sister’s wedding.

Dental emergencies are similar to other medical emergencies that have red flags, like pain coupled with swelling and fever. Or perhaps you have fallen and you are bleeding from the mouth.

Can’t talk or eat without pain

A good rule of thumb is if you can’t eat or talk without pain, your issue needs to be addressed quickly. If you’ve ever had a severe toothache, you know that waiting is not an option. 

A bacterial infection from an abscessed tooth could be the culprit, but it’s not the time to play dentist and try to relieve the pain on your own, or do nothing and wait to see if the pain subsides.

Mouth trauma from falls and accidents

Similarly, if you’ve fallen, tripped or have been in a car accident and you have mouth trauma like bruising or bleeding from the mouth, gums and jaw, contact us right away. Sometimes cuts, lacerations, and mouth trauma can look worse than they are, but get checked out right away to make sure. 

Knocked out teeth from accidents and sports injuries

Beyond causing bleeding and bruising, accidents and sports injuries can knock out one or more teeth. Every year, about 5 million teeth are knocked out, or “avulsed,” from some sort of impact accident. And up to 40% of all emergency dental issues are related to sports injuries.

If you have an accident that knocks out a tooth, job No. 1 is to contact us right away. Job No. 2 is to attempt to preserve the viability of the tooth while in transit to our office. 

If you have the tooth, you can gently rinse it off and put it back into the socket by holding it by the crown, not the bottom or root area. Hold it in the socket by gingerly biting down on a clean cloth or gauze until you get to our office.

If you can’t get it back in the socket, the goal is to keep the tooth moist. After you rinse it off, place it in a small container of milk or saline solution. Another option is to place it between your cheek and gums, taking care not to swallow it.

Other issues that may cause pain or initiate an emergency dental visit are damaged fillings or crowns and broken dentures. If you have a dental emergency, contact 54th Street Dental right away.

To reach us, use the online booking tool or call our office at 212-333-3200. If it’s after hours, simply follow the prompts on our outgoing message. 

Rest assured that 54th Street Dental will be there for you to provide quality routine dental care, plus dental emergency care when you need us the most.

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