A toothache always feels urgent when you’re experiencing it. But what constitutes a true dental care emergency and when should you visit an urgent care dental clinic?
When you’re dealing with tooth pain or other dental problems, your dentist is usually your first call. But what if your problem occurs on a weekend, holiday, or in the middle of the night? When you’re dealing with a dental emergency and can’t get to your usual dentist, you need an urgent care dental clinic. But before you frantically type “emergency dentist near me open now” into your browser, let’s go over what constitutes a true dental emergency, when you should visit urgent dental care, and when you can wait until morning.
What Is Urgent Dental Care?
Urgent dental care focuses on the management of dental conditions that need immediate attention to relieve high levels of pain, limit your risk of infection, and to alleviate the burden on hospital emergency rooms.
An urgent care dental clinic is a private dental office that is available for immediate emergency services like toothaches, sore gums or jaws, a chipped tooth, or a lost filling. Dean Dental Solutions is a full-service family dentist that also offers emergency dental care.
Are Urgent Dental Cares More Expensive?
This depends on what type of treatment you need. Some dental insurance covers emergency dental care while others don’t, which could directly affect your final expenses.
In an emergency situation, you may have to undergo more expensive treatments (like an x-ray, root canal, or anesthesia), but the care you receive will not cost more just because it is urgent.
What Is a Dental Emergency?
A true dental emergency is different from a dental issue that may require the services of an urgent care dental clinic–although both cases may bring you to a dental urgent care. Some dental emergencies may require you to visit an emergency room rather than a dentist’s office or an urgent care facility.
The ADA defines dental emergencies as, “Potentially life-threatening and requiring immediate treatment to stop ongoing tissue bleeding, alleviate severe pain or infection,” including:
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Cellulitis or a diffuse soft-tissue bacterial infection accompanied by severe swelling inside or outside the mouth that could interfere with breathing
- Trauma to the facial bones that could compromise your airway
You should seek immediate attention from an emergency dentist in these situations.
If you are bleeding, vomiting, running a high fever, or are experiencing dizziness or difficulty breathing, get to an emergency room as quickly as possible. You may need medical care before your dental issues are addressed.
Should I Find an Urgent Care for Dental Pain Near Me?
There are many dental issues that can cause pain, swelling, or difficulty chewing or biting. If you experience any of the following symptoms or need any of the following procedures outside of normal business hours, you should find an urgent care dental clinic as soon as possible:
- Severe dental pain from pulpal inflammation
- Pericoronitis or third-molar pain
- Surgical post-operative osteitis – also known as dry socket
- Abscess or localized bacterial infection resulting in localized pain and swelling
- Dental trauma resulting in tooth dislocation or complete displacement
- Final crown/bridge cementation if the temporary restoration is lost,
broken or causing gum irritation
- Tooth fracture resulting in pain or causing soft tissue trauma
- Final crown/bridge cementation if the temporary restoration is lost, broken or causing gum irritation
- Biopsy of abnormal tissue
This is by no means a comprehensive list. Other dental problems that may require you to Google “emergency dentist near me open now” include suture removal, denture adjustment and repair, replacing temporary fillings that are causing pain, and snipping orthodontic wires that are poking or causing bleeding.
A good rule of thumb when you’re evaluating whether or not you need to visit an urgent care dental clinic is to run through the following checklist and see if you have any of these symptoms:
Your Gums Are Bleeding
If you’ve experienced trauma to your face or mouth and your gums are bleeding as a result, you should seek emergency dental care. The bleeding could be a sign that a tooth has been dislocated or that you have lacerations on your gum that need to be stitched up.
Bleeding gums can also be a sign of less serious dental issues like gingivitis. Gingivitis is a minor gum disease that occurs when plaque irritates your gums, causing them to become swollen, irritated, red, and sometimes bleed. Gingivitis is not a serious dental problem, but it can become one if left unaddressed.
It Hurts to Chew
There are several possible explanations for why it hurts when you chew, but all of them should be addressed as soon as possible. Impairment of normal function is one of the criteria for classifying a dental problem as urgent. Not being able to chew for more than a few days can lead to malnutrition and weight loss.
If you are experiencing pain related to temperature sensitivity (it hurts when your food or drink is too hot or cold), you’re likely suffering from a loss of enamel–the hard coating on your teeth that protects your inner tooth and nerves. This usually presents as a sharp, “stinging” pain when you eat or drink something hot or cold.
If your tooth hurts when you bite down on something, one or more of your teeth may be cracked or damaged. You could also have a bacterial tooth infection that is causing inflammation and irritating the nerves in your teeth.
Your Jaw or Mouth Is Swollen
Swelling of the face or jaw may be a sign of a very serious dental infection, especially if it is accompanied by tooth pain, sensitivity, fever, or a bad taste in your mouth. These are the symptoms of a dental abscess, which is a bacterial infection that breaks down the soft tissue of your mouth into pockets of pus. If it is not treated properly, abscesses can have serious consequences, up to and including death.
It’s important to know that a dental abscess will never go away on its own; you must seek treatment. The longer you have an abscess, the higher your chance of the infection spreading to other parts of your body. If you think you have an abscess, seek emergency dental care immediately. Abscesses are treated with root canals, although in severe cases, the tooth may have to be removed completely.
Emergency Dentist Near Me Open Now!
If you are experiencing severe pain or you think you may need urgent dental care, contact Dean Dental Solutions at 501-771-2911 (office number) or 501-554-5343 (emergency number) after hours. Just call ahead to let us know you’re on your way and we’ll set aside one of our rooms for you!