When a patient experiences a dental emergency, adherence to several steps should result in quicker care and relief:
- If the patient currently sees a dentist, s/he needs to call his or her own personal dentist. Most dentists belong to a call group, meaning that they trade call with other dentists. Therefore, a caller may be directed to contact the dentist who is on call.
- If a person with a dental emergency does not currently have a dentist of record, s/he should call the local dental association and ask for a listing of dentists who accept dental emergencies. The list is broken down by specialties and by time periods. Patients should expect to be charged for emergency care.
- If the dental emergency requires an oral surgeon for immediate care, the hospital emergency room personnel will call the oral surgeon who is on call. Patients will be charged for these services.
|These problems require an immediate Emergency Room visit:||
|These problems require a dentist’s attention:||
|These problems require a dentist’s attention but not immediate unless accompanied by pain:Treat before pain develops or your bite changes.||
|What should I do for a toothache?||This pain can be relatively simple or quite complicated. It can be simple because sometimes by biting or chewing, a person can tell which tooth is causing pain. More often than not, biting does not identify the offending tooth; and the pain can be referred to a distant location like the ear, the chin, the corner of the jaw, or even one side of the throat (the same side the pain is on). If a tooth is hypersensitive to thermal stimulation like hot or cold food or drinks or if spontaneous pain from the mouth occurs “out of the blue” or if tooth pain awakens you from sleep, then you most likely have a toothache and should see a dentist as soon as possible.|