A broken tooth can be an incredibly stressful and painful experience, and it often requires a prompt trip to the emergency dentist. Such incidents usually happen at an unexpected time and can lead to pain and concerns of not knowing how to handle the situation. While everyone should take precautions to prevent breaking a tooth…
Does an Emergency Dentist Perform Oral Surgery?
An emergency dentist provides much-needed relief to patients whose dental needs are not confined to normal business hours. While an emergency dentist can provide many services, there are various procedures that are usually performed only by other dental professionals, such as oral surgeons, and certain issues that are not as time sensitive as they may appear.
What an emergency dentist does
When a dental crisis hits, the first thing to do is call your dentist's office. If it does not provide emergency services, it can likely refer you to an office that does. Failing that, you can visit an urgent care facility for immediate assistance. If that is not an option, a trip to the emergency room may be in order.
Be forewarned that not all dental issues are emergencies, however. Generally speaking, there are four primary situations that may require the services of an emergency dentist:
An abscessed tooth
Symptoms of a bacterial infection at the root of your tooth include swollen glands, pus, a fever and a bad taste in the mouth. Pain can be moderate to severe an necessitate emergency care.
A numb tooth
An infection that has spread to the root of the tooth can be serious. When the associated aching in your jaw disappears because the tooth has gone numb, it is time to call the dentist ASAP.
A common sign of advanced gum disease is excessive or recurrent bleeding of the gums. Excessive bleeding may require the attention of an emergency dentist.
Wiggly teeth can be caused by an injury, nerve or jaw damage or an infection. In many cases, they should be treated immediately.
What an emergency dentist does not do
While an emergency dentist is equipped to handle a variety of issues at a moment's notice, there are certain oral concerns that they generally do not handle. These include oral surgery and dental difficulties that, while inconvenient, can wait for an appointment during normal office hours.
Procedures that can wait
Patients suffering from generalized pain, chipped teeth, or lost fillings or crowns can likely wait to visit their regular dentist. In these situations, however, it is often wise to call the dentist's office for a quick consult over the phone. The dentist and/or their on-call staff can advise patients how to best care for their specific dental issue and address any related aches or pains.
While certain dental concerns can wait until regular office hours and therefore do not require the attention of an emergency dentist, there are other situations — some more time-sensitive than others — that require the skills of an oral surgeon. They include the following:
- Impacted teeth
- Implant failure
- Jaw-joint problems
- Oral cancer
Generally speaking, dental issues that necessitate the removal of teeth require the skills of an oral surgeon. In these cases, a patient's dentist can refer them to a qualified oral surgeon.
Dental emergencies come in a variety of shapes, sizes and levels of severity. Some require immediate attention; some necessitate a visit to an oral surgeon, and others are not as pressing as they initially appear. If you have a dental issue that you believe requires urgent care, contact your dentist's office for prompt advice.
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