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Should I visit a hospital or dentist for a dental emergency?

Perhaps you’ve been in an accident, and your tooth is fractured, loose, or knocked out. Perhaps your tooth is damaged because of a sporting injury or fall. Or maybe you have a severe toothache that hasn’t receded for days. Dental emergencies are unpredictable — you can never know when you might need emergency dental care. When dental emergencies occur, most patients panic because they don’t know what to do or whom to contact.

Should you visit a hospital or dentist for a dental emergency?

However, the answer isn’t always simple. It varies from one situation to the next. Like all medical emergencies, dental emergencies also fall into several categories requiring different levels of care and attention. Depending on the type of dental emergency, you may need to visit different specialists for optimal emergency dental care. Below, we help you determine when you should visit hospital emergency rooms or emergency dental clinics in Midtown Houston, TX.

You should visit a hospital emergency room if…

You should visit a hospital emergency room if you have a potentially life-threatening situation necessitating immediate attention and you don’t know if your emergency dental clinic is open or available. If you have a severe trauma involving jaw dislocation, severe bleeding, fractures, serious lacerations of the face and mouth, or infections/ abscesses that prevent you from breathing or swelling, you must call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room. In these situations, you won’t have the time to call your emergency dental office and determine if they can see you.

However, you should avoid visiting a hospital emergency room if you have a dental emergency that isn’t life-threatening but still serious. For example, if your tooth is knocked out, you must contact an emergency dentist instead of the hospital emergency room. That’s because hospital emergency rooms don’t have specialists who can perform oral surgery or re-attach knocked-out or broken teeth. They’ll likely stop the bleeding, provide antibiotics, and refer you to a dentist. However, knocked-out teeth must be re-attached as quickly as possible — and going to a hospital emergency room will eat away at precious time.

You should visit an emergency dental office if…

You should visit an emergency dental office if you have serious dental conditions necessitating immediate attention without being life-threatening. If you break or fracture your tooth due to an injury or while eating something crunchy, you should contact an emergency dentist. That’s because an emergency dentist can handle situations specifically concerned with the dental anatomy, such as re-attaching knocked-out teeth. They can handle these situations immediately without delay, thereby improving your chance of success. Furthermore, emergency dentists can also handle dental abscesses — unless the infection prevents you from breathing or swallowing.

However, dental emergencies don’t always occur when your emergency dental office is open or available. Most dentists offer their patients after-hours emergency care services or recommend substitutes. As such, if a dental emergency strikes and you’re unsure where to go, contact your emergency dentist’s number and speak to them. If they’re available to see you, that’s great. However, if they’re not available, have someone drive you to the nearest medical professional, hospital emergency room, or healthcare facility. Please talk to your dentist to ensure they provide walk-in dental emergency services even on the weekends.

Do I need an emergency appointment for a lost dental crown?

Losing your dental crown isn’t considered a dental emergency, i.e., you don’t need immediate attention within a few minutes or hours. However, you should schedule an appointment at your nearest dental clinic during their regular hours. When your dental crown falls off, pick it up by the crown and rinse it clean. If you’re in pain, use over-the-counter pain medications to reduce the discomfort.

If the dental crown is intact, use store-bought dental cement to reattach the crown to your tooth. Hold the crown in place until the cement hardens. If the dental crown isn’t intact, you can apply dental wax or dental putty to your tooth for protection. Contact your emergency dentist and describe the situation to schedule an appointment at the nearest available slot.

Can a broken or missing tooth lead to complications if left untreated?

A broken tooth may be the result of dental infections, abscesses, injuries, or various other factors. Furthermore, a broken tooth is often vulnerable to bacterial infections and disease. As such, if your tooth is broken, you must contact an emergency dentist near your location for immediate assessment. The dentist will fix your broken tooth using fillings, dental bonding, or dental crowns. In some situations, if the damage is severe, the dentist may have to remove the tooth and recommend alternative tooth replacement options.

What are the symptoms of a dental abscess or dental infection?

  • Severely throbbing toothaches
  • Toothaches that radiate into the neck and jawbone
  • Extreme sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
  • Fever
  • Facial swelling
  • Tender lymph nodes in the neck and jaws
  • Ruptured abscesses that release foul-smelling, foul-tasting, and salty fluids
  • Difficulty while breathing or swallowing

How is a dental abscess treated?

  • Drainage: The dentist may cut the abscess to drain the pus.
  • Root Canal: The dentist may perform a root canal to remove all the infected parts of the tooth.
  • Extraction: The dentist may extract the affected tooth and drain the abscess.
  • Antibiotics: The dentist may prescribe antibiotics if the infection has spread to the surrounding teeth.

Schedule an appointment for your emergency dental treatment.

URBN Dental is one of the most reputable emergency dental offices in Midtown Houston, TX. Our dental clinic is open on Saturdays and accepts last-minute walk-in appointments for dental emergency treatment. Please schedule an appointment to learn more about your emergency dental treatment in Midtown Houston, TX.