Life events don’t always happen during regular business hours. That’s why many dentists offer emergency dental services to their patients. When it comes to an “emergency dentist” compared to any other general dentist, there is usually no difference in their experience and training. In fact, an emergency dentist is simply an oral health care provider who is willing to offer those services. So if you’re wondering who offers 24-hour emergency dental extraction, the answer is simple: any dentist who offers emergency services on a 24-hour basis. And the best way to find out who those dentists are is to seek them out online. Most dentists who provide treatment on an urgent basis will list “emergency services” or even a separate emergency phone number that patients can call.
What Qualifies as a Dental Emergency?
Before seeking out emergency dental services, you should know that not every situation requires emergency care. In fact, only a few conditions warrant treatment by an emergency dentist. As it turns out, having a tooth pulled isn’t one of those (although certain urgent situations may result in a dentist extracting a tooth). When it comes to tooth extraction, most dentists would agree that it’s always better to keep your natural teeth for as long as possible, and having a tooth pulled is often considered to be a last resort. Having said that, if you experience any of the following conditions, you should feel justified in seeking out the services of an emergency dentist:
- Extreme pain – Most of us experience a toothache from time to time. But if you experience extreme pain that doesn’t go away in a relatively short period of time, it’s appropriate to contact an emergency dentist. This is especially true if the tooth is suddenly sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, and if the pain increases when you bite down on the tooth. That, combined with swollen and tender gums, can be an indication that an infection has formed inside the tooth. And infections of any sort are considered to be emergencies.
- Bleeding – Anytime you experience significant bleeding, you can consider it to be an emergency. The same holds true with your mouth. If you are bleeding from your gums, your tongue, or any soft tissue in or around your mouth, contact an emergency dentist right away. It’s possible that the dentist may recommend that you go to the hospital or an urgent care facility depending on the severity of your condition, but calling an emergency dentist is an appropriate first step in seeking treatment.
- Loose or lost teeth – Although the topic of this article revolves around who to call for an emergency tooth extraction, in reality losing a tooth is considered to be a dental emergency – NOT needing to have a tooth pulled. If you have a tooth that is loose in the socket, do your best not to move the tooth – and certainly don’t chew on it – to try to keep it from falling out entirely. If you’ve already lost a tooth, try to retrieve it if possible since your dentist may be able to save it. Pick it up by the tip (not the root), rinse it off in clean water, and store it in a container of milk. Then take the tooth with you when you visit the emergency dentist. It’s quite possible that the dentist can reinsert the tooth into the socket.
- Sudden swelling – If you experience any type of sudden swelling inside or around your mouth and you don’t know the cause – particularly if that swelling is accompanied by pain and knots under the skin or pimple-like bumps – contact an emergency dentist. These symptoms could be a sign of infection, and any type of infection should be treated as soon as possible.
- Loss of a filling or a crown – If you lose any type of dental restoration — such as a filling or crown, for example — it constitutes a dental emergency. That’s because the tooth underneath the missing restoration is susceptible to even more damage and even infection once it’s exposed. If you lose a crown, be sure to take it with you when you visit the dentist since these restorations can often be used again.
- Food lodged between teeth – Getting a piece of food caught between teeth can also be considered an emergency situation. Although it may not seem urgent, if the piece of food isn’t removed, it can become painful very quickly and can even lead to infection if left untreated.
How NOT to Visit an Emergency Dentist
In a perfect world, none of us would ever have to visit an emergency dentist! While it’s true that some situations are beyond our control, there are steps we can take to reduce the chances of ever needing to call an emergency dental number.
- Take care of your oral health. This includes maintaining a healthy oral hygiene routine each and every day. Brush at least twice, and floss at least once. And, of course, visit your dentist at least twice a year for professional cleanings and oral exams. The better you take care of your teeth and gums, the less your chances are of forming extensive decay that can lead to infection and other emergency situations.
- Be cautious when it comes to certain sports and activities. While being active is definitely part of a healthy lifestyle, there are precautions you can take to protect your teeth and gums while taking part in certain activities. Ask your dentist about how mouth guards might provide that protection.
- Keep your teeth in mind when you choose your foods. Enjoying a healthy diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, along with plenty of low-fat dairy products and lean protein, can help to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Be careful about certain foods – especially those that are hard and/or sticky – to guard against chipping or cracking your teeth or dental restorations.
If you’ve been wondering who offers 24-hour emergency dental extraction, the answer is any dentist who offers emergency services. If you experience any of the urgent situations described in this article, contact your own dentist or search online for emergency dentists near you.