Patients might need to visit an emergency dentist for any number of reasons. Maybe you have an infection, or severe tooth pain, or your tooth has been injured. An emergency is not only inconvenient, it’s also often painful and frightening. Regardless of your exact problem, you should know what to expect from the emergency dentist. At Carolina Dental Arts, we work hard to make sure you’re properly assessed and cared for.
Determining the Problem
Even if you think that you know the problem already, your dentist needs confirmation. They’ll typically start by doing an examination and taking images. X-rays will show infections, cavities, abscesses, and broken or damaged teeth.
An emergency dentist may also be able to see the problem with their eyes. For example, abscesses often cause swelling in the gums or jaw. Chipped and missing teeth are very easy to see.
Sometimes you will be able to explain prior dental work you’ve had done. For example, maybe a crown came loose. Or maybe you know that you have a cavity on the affected side already. It’s helpful for you to give your emergency dentist as much information as you have.
Some of the issues that your dentist might look for include:
- Inflammation in the gums
- Infection and abscesses
- Exposed nerves and roots
- Wisdom tooth damage
- Loose or misaligned crowns
- Loose or damaged teeth
Chipped and broken teeth can be a major problem, particularly if they have rough edges. These edges can rub against your other teeth or cut your tongue. They’re also prone to breaking worse.
Relieving the Pain
Not all dental emergencies cause pain. However, many of them do. Abscesses and exposed nerves can be extremely painful. It’s also very painful to have your tooth damaged or knocked out due to an injury.
If you go to the dentist for tooth pain, the dentist will do everything they can to treat the cause. But that leaves the problem of pain. Injuries are obviously very painful, as are infections.
Antibiotics to clear infection can take several hours to start working. Depending on the severity of the infection, it might be a few days before you feel significant improvement.
So while you take medications to combat the underlying cause, an emergency dentist might also help with pain. There may be ways to treat your pain while still in the office. This might come in the form of a numbing injection. At home, you might need to use over-the-counter or prescription pain meds.
Your dentist will give you instructions for the best pain management regimen to use. Regardless of the emergency, the pain should start clearing up within a few days of treatment. Any prescription painkillers will be taken on a temporary basis, and typically low in dosage.
Planning the Future
If you go to the dentist for severe pain, you might want them to fix the whole problem. But sometimes it takes more than one appointment to treat the entire issue. Your dentist will do what they can at the first appointment, then make a plan for the future.
Sometimes a dentist will clear an abscess and prescribe antibiotics. But they might refer you to someone else for a root canal. Similarly, sometimes a dentist might plan to fix or replace knocked-out teeth. But you might need to come in later to get a permanent crown or implants.
The exact extent of your treatment will vary depending on your needs. Even if you need a few sessions, the dentist can offer temporary relief as a stopgap. In the case of crowns, they can put on a temporary crown while waiting for the permanent one. Or they might reshape a chipped tooth to prevent it from cutting the inside of your mouth.
If existing crowns or implants have been damaged, then the dentist may need to remake them. Again, the amount of time this takes will vary depending on the circumstances.
If you need an emergency dentist, we here at Carolina Dental Arts are ready to help. Dental emergencies are frightening. You deserve to have a dentist who cares about your well being. Call now to schedule an appointment at our New Bern Ave location, which is open weekends and nights.