- Oral Health
How to Find an Emergency Dentist
A friend of mine loves to play hockey. He currently plays in a roller hockey league. Though hockey players have the reputation of being toothless goons, my friend certainly wasn't toothless. In most recreational hockey leagues, checking and fighting are forbidden, and many people wear full cage helmets to protect their face. My friend, however, did not wear a cage. This would be no worries if he didn't get into a fight or get hit in the face with a puck. Imagine his surprise, then, when during a game a high velocity slap shot hit him square in the jaw, sending his teeth flying around the rink. My friend needed help; he needed an emergency dentist.
Many of us go to the dentist once or twice a year for regular checkups. We receive a cleaning and an oral exam, all to prevent the slow decay of our teeth, nasty cavities, and gum and root problems. There are other times, however, when trauma to our teeth and mouth may require emergency services. Getting in touch with an emergency dentist may seem to be a tough task, as there is no "emergency room" equivalent at most dentists' practices. This article will give you some tips and hints about how to find an emergency dentist if you ever need one. You'll also learn what to do in case of trauma to the mouth in order to minimize the damage done and decrease recovery time and expense.
Teeth falling or getting knocked out is not the only reason you may have to find an emergency dentist. Perhaps your mouth is bleeding for no reason, or you have a severe toothache. Perhaps a crown or filling fell out, and your next appointment is months away. Whatever the reason, you'll probably need to act fast, especially in cases of trauma.
- Your dentist may already be on-call for his or her patients. Find out if your dentist is available at any time in case of emergencies. Have his or her phone number (or even emergency cell phone number) easily accessible.
- If your dentist isn't on call 24/7, ask for a recommendation. He or she should be able to provide you with the name and number of dentists who would be able to help you in case of a crisis. If you have dental insurance, make sure any dentist you consult is covered by your insurance plan. If you can't find an emergency dentist covered by your plan, or you don't have dental insurance, you may just have to take the risk of paying out of pocket.
- If you don't have a dentist, or are new to an area, check online or in a phone book. There are many websites and services for emergency dentists, though their value may vary depending on your respective geographical locations. It is always good to prepare ahead of time; while it is possible to find an emergency dentist in an emergency, it is always a good idea to find all this information out before it is ever needed.
- If your teeth have been knocked out, try to find the tooth. Make sure the treat the tooth carefully; don't touch the root. Put the tooth in a glass of milk to preserve it. If you act quickly, the tooth may be able to be reinserted into your gums by the emergency dentist. If you don't have milk, try to keep it moist by storing it in between your cheeks and gums. (Don't swallow it!) If you put pressure on the bleeding, using sanitary gauze; icing up the wound to prevent swelling is also a good idea.
- Depending on the severity of the trauma, your dentist may recommend oral surgery. With toothaches and other chronic problems, you may be able to be treated in house. But with more serious issues, drastic measures may be required. Be prepared for any case.
- As a preventative measure, see a dentist for regular checkups. Many people are afraid of the dentist, or are embarrassed to go after not going for an extended period of time. These people may be more likely to have dental emergencies without regular care, and thus may eventually need to seek the services of an emergency dentist.
- Follow up with your dentist to ensure the problem is solved. Those who have knocked out teeth, for example, may need a root canal to clean the nerve.
My friend's story has a happy ending: he found an emergency dentist and had his three front teeth fixed. He now plays hockey with a full helmet - lesson learned!