Problems with your teeth can happen at any time and any place. Your tooth feels sensitive to cold and heat seemingly out of nowhere. A tooth breaks while you’re eating something hard. You notice swelling and tenderness at the gumline. When these things happen, you’re not sure if you should get emergency dental care or if you can just call your family dentist when they open. After all, you don’t want to rush to the dentist if you don’t have to! To help you know what to do during your next dental emergency, we’re outlining some common problems people experience and what steps to take next. 

Your Tooth Gets Severely Damaged

Emergency dentist in RaleighIf something severely damages your tooth, you need to see an emergency dentist in Raleigh as soon as possible. If decay causes the broken tooth, they can assess the situation and do what they can to save and repair the tooth, whether it’s placing a filling or doing a root canal and setting a crown. In some cases, removal may be necessary, but that’s only a last resort. Having it cared for immediately reduces your risk of severe pain and infection and permanently losing the tooth.

In the event that your tooth is knocked out, getting urgent dental care means we may be able to save your tooth and re-affix it. Waiting means the tooth may be lost and other treatments will be necessary. For the best outcome, if your tooth gets knocked out, rinse the tooth to remove any visible dirt and keep it in a container of milk or even your saliva. Meanwhile keep a cool, wet compress on the socket if there is bleeding as you wait to see your emergency dentist. 

Extreme Pain Is a Dental Emergency

If you are experiencing severe pain that doesn’t respond to over-the-counter medication, a warm salt water rinse, or a topical numbing ointment, this is an emergency. You may have an abscess, damaged dental work, or other complication that needs to be cared for fast. While you’re waiting to be seen, a cold compress on the cheek or jaw where the pain is may provide some relief.

However, if your ache is mild, goes away with ibuprofen or acetaminophen or other natural remedy, you can call your family dentist to schedule an appointment. Just be sure to let them know that you have been experiencing mild pain. 

Your Dental Work is Loose or Damaged

Unfortunately, dental work like fillings and crowns are not permanent. While they may last ten years, especially if you take care of your teeth, they also may need to be replaced. If you have had restorative dentistry procedures done, the filling or crown may come loose, fall out, or get damaged.

If that happens, or if your mouth has a metallic taste and you have amalgam fillings (also known as silver fillings), you need to receive emergency dental care. Waiting for days while you have an open filling or an open area where you had a root canal leaves you vulnerable to infection and severe pain, especially when a dentist can get you patched up with a new filling or temporary crown quickly and with little to no discomfort. 

An Abscessed Tooth Requires an Emergency Dentist

If you are experiencing pain that may radiate to your ear or down into your neck, swelling at the gumline or on your jaw, or see a blister-like bubble on your gum, you most likely have an abscess. An abscess may also cause a foul taste in your mouth, especially if it ruptures, or the tooth feels loose.

An abscess occurs when infection develops in the root of the tooth or in the surrounding area. This can be due to decay or a foreign object in your gum. When left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of your body, including your brain. Fortunately, emergency dental care can have you feeling better fast.

If you have a high fever, extreme swelling, rapid heart rate, or difficulty swallowing, you should go to the emergency room instead of your emergency dentist, as these are signs of a more serious infection.

Contact Our Emergency Dentist for Care in Raleigh

At our Raleigh dental office, we offer comprehensive services, from cleanings and checkups to complex root canals for the whole family. Because we know that dental emergencies don’t happen between 8:30 and 4:00, we offer extended hours and weekend times. If you aren’t sure if your tooth problem is an emergency, please call us at 919-834-4450 to schedule an appointment!