When Should You Seek Emergency Dental Care?

Your local Bedford dentist advises when you should make contact for an urgent appointment

Dental Centre BedfordThere are certain situations when we instinctively know that we need to see a dentist as soon as we possibly can. These are usually occasions where a tooth or teeth has suffered significant and immediate damage.

Equally, a tooth that is causing us extreme pain is likely to send most of us running for the ‘phone to make an appointment as soon as we can.

There are other occasions though, where any damage or discomfort might be less significant and something that we can live with for a while. What we do in situations like this can determine the long term health of that tooth.

In today’s blog, we take a look at when and why you should contact The Dental Centre Bedford for an emergency appointment, rather than waiting until your next check up appointment is due.

Clear emergency situations

There are times, thankfully relatively rare, when all of our instincts tell us that we need to seek help, and straight away. As far as oral health emergencies go, this would apply to situations like a tooth being knocked out or when we are in genuine pain with a severe toothache. Any of these situations are obviously urgent and very few people won’t contact their dentist when these happen. One point to note though is that whilst a severe toothache means you should contact us straight away, a knocked out tooth will depend on how it occurred. If you received a facial injury, such as falling from a bike, you should consider whether you need to go to the hospital A&E first. A missing tooth can always be replaced, but not having a serious head injury treated can have far more devastating effects. If you are in any doubt at all, please always choose the safest option for your health.

More moderate dental issues

Whilst the above issues are fairly obvious, there is a category of problems and injuries that may leave us wondering whether we should call to arrange an appointment with the local emergency dentist or not. These issues usually cause significantly less distress than the ones above but are still quite painful or are creating problems with eating etc. Situations like this might include a dull but not extremely painful toothache, a broken tooth that doesn’t hurt or perhaps a tooth that has cracked but is not causing any immediate discomfort.

In our view, these may require quite urgent treatment by a professional. Although you may feel that you can live with these issues if your next check up appointment is say a month or so away, you really shouldn’t.  All of these situations put your teeth at significant risk. A throbbing but not overly painful toothache is likely to mean that you have either tooth decay or a root canal infection. In either case, these will only get worse with time and may require more extensive treatment. Delaying a phone call to our Bedford practice could result in you being in much more severe pain in the days to come.

A broken tooth may have exposed the dentin, a porous part of the tooth allowing bacteria to enter the inner sections. Again, tooth decay and/or root canal infection is quite possible if the damage is not restored as soon as possible. There is also the risk that the compromised tooth may break even more and not be able to be saved. In this case, an extraction would be necessary.

Similarly, a cracked tooth is not always minor and can expose the inner parts of the tooth with the same results as above. If you are in any doubt at all, please contact us for advice.

Milder dental concerns

This is perhaps the greyest area of all for many patients. There is also a certain ‘English reserve’ when it comes to ‘bothering’ health professionals. This is what we are here for though and whilst no one likes to have their time deliberately wasted, this is rarely the case when it comes to even minor problems.

Issues that might fall into this category include chipped teeth, mild discomfort or possibly slightly sore gums. Whilst these wouldn’t necessarily be considered an emergency, this doesn’t mean that you should ignore them. As mentioned before, almost all dental problems will get worse if they are not treated. A chipped tooth is likely to weaken, possibly leading to further damage. It may also have exposed the dentin area too and just because it feels small to you doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need treatment. The same applies to a tooth that is causing mild discomfort. Bleeding or sore gums could mean that you have gum disease and this will require treatment too.

Although this category of problems is not as immediately serious as say a tooth which has been knocked out, you should still call us as soon as you can. We will always prioritise the most serious problems where possible but even these ‘lesser issues’ need prompt treatment to prevent further damage. Our Bedford dentists will do all that they can to see you as soon as possible.

Remember that no oral care problem is a good thing and you should seek treatment as soon as you can. We are here to help and will do so as promptly as we possibly can. If you would like advice or would like to book an urgent appointment at The Dental Centre Bedford, please do so by giving us a call on 01234 819868. Our dedicated team is on hand to help!