You already know that emergency dentists provide care when dental clinics are not normally open. What you may not know is that the typical emergency dentist is a little different from the family dentist you see most of the time. While there are family dentists who are also trained to provide emergency dental care, emergency dental professionals possess certain qualities that set them apart. Here are some things you should know about emergency dentists and when you need to call one for help.
Available Around the Clock
One of the first things that sets an emergency dentist apart from a regular dentist is availability. Most family dentists have set office hours. They only see patients on certain days of the week and for a limited number of hours. It’s necessary to make an appointment to see the dentist, or to sit in the waiting room and hope that the dentist will be able to see you that day.
By contrast, a professional who provides emergency dental care does not limit patient care to any set days of the week or certain hours of the work day. Instead, that dental professional is on call any time of the day or night. This is important since dental emergencies can arise at any time. thanks to the fact that one of the local dentists offers emergency dental treatment, you won’t have to wait until Monday morning to find out if that Saturday afternoon kick in the teeth caused any permanent damage.
Special Training in Trauma Cases
Part of emergency dentistry involves being prepared for patients who may be understandably upset about the events that triggered the dental emergency. Just as anyone would experience a certain amount of trauma at the onset of other types of medical emergencies, the same is true when an unexpected dental injury takes place.
Fortunately, emergency dentists are trained to recognize the signs of emotional as well as physical trauma. That makes it all the easier to take whatever measures are needed to treat the shock that the patient is experiencing. In some cases, it’s necessary to stabilize the patient and minimize the trauma before proceeding to the next steps of emergency dental care.
The Scope of Dental Surgery Procedures Offered
Most family dentists are trained to take care of issues that require minor dental surgery. That includes extractions, root canals, and removing decayed material before inserting fillings. Emergency dentists can manage all of those issues plus a few more than may require surgical solutions.
Perhaps the dental emergency will require removing the root of a badly damaged tooth. Maybe it will call for suturing open wounds on the gums. Dentists who are trained in various forms of emergency dental treatment have the skills to handle these and similar situations.
As with any dental professional, an emergency dentist is capable of assessing a situation and determining if an oral surgeon is needed. This will be the case if the level of emergency dentistry needed is beyond what the professional can manage in the clinic. At that point, the dental professional will make contact with an oral surgeon, arrange for the patient to be transported, and ensure the patient receives treatment as soon as possible.
Access to a Fully Equipped Dental Surgery Facility
While there may be the need to call in an oral surgeon, it pays to know that any professional engaging in emergency dentistry tends to keep a fully equipped facility ready. Along with mobile equipment that makes it possible to treat a patient at the site of an emergency, the clinic will have everything needed to cover most types of emergencies.
In some ways, a clinic that’s set up for emergency dental care will look a great deal like a hospital emergency room. There will be additional equipment and a wider array of medical supplies. This makes it possible for the dentist and the support team to manage most situations that call for an emergency dental treatment.
Works Hand in Hand With Your Regular Dentist
If your family dentist also offers emergency dental care, that’s a big plus. You get to see a dental professional who is already familiar with and has access to your dental records. When your dentist does not offer and form of emergency dental treatment, expect the emergency dentist to communicate with your regular dentist once the immediate need is addressed.
This is because most emergency dentists will recommend ongoing care after you receive the immediate help. All details about the emergency are forwarded to your regular dentist, who will then take up the task of aiding in your recovery.
Signs That You Need Emergency Dental Care
What constitutes a dental emergency? There are times when it’s possible to wait until your regular dentist opens the office. At other times, you need immediate help. Here are a few tips that will help you know the difference.
Unbearable pain that is not lessened using home remedies certain constitutes a need for emergency dentistry. When ice packs, clove oil, and other approaches have no effect, something is seriously wrong. You would do well to contact one of the emergency dentists in the area and find out what’s happening at once.
Loosened or dislodged teeth also require immediate emergency dental care. With dislodged teeth, there is only a small window of time to successfully insert the tooth back into the empty socket. Failing to do so would mean losing the tooth permanently.
Uncontrolled bleeding also calls for emergency dental care. The bleeding may have to do with an injury or be the result of a severe infection. In either situation, you need to receive treatment as quickly as possible.
The bottom line is that if the pain or the injury is so acute that you don’t believe waiting until tomorrow is possible, you want to look for emergency dental treatment immediately. Thanks to the many things that emergency dentistry can accomplish, prompt action may be the difference between preventing a bad situation from getting worse and having to deal with serious consequences.