Dental emergencies can strike when you least expect it, leaving you at a loss for what to do to handle the situation. Too often, your regular dentist may not be available or they may not be able to see you until it’s too late. Emergency rooms at the nearest hospital may be able to treat your pain but they won’t be able to provide the necessary treatment to solve the problem and prevent possible tooth loss. This can lead to considerable costs down the road in repairing the damage, which may necessitate multiple procedures. For this reason, when you find yourself experiencing a dental emergency while traveling or after regular business hours the best thing that you can do is to seek out a 24 hour dentist.

But how do you know if what you’re experiencing demands emergency dental attention? Here is a list of dental emergencies for which you absolutely should seek out a qualified 24 hour dentist.

When to Visit a 24 Hour Dentist

-Broken or Cracked Tooth. A broken or cracked tooth usually occurs from biting down on something hard or through trauma, causing the tooth to break and part of it to even break off. This can leave sensitive nerve endings exposed, resulting in a great deal of pain. Pain and sensitivity are frequently made worse through changes in temperature, such as drinking cold or hot fluids. Brushing your teeth with an exposed nerve can be extremely painful. Take any broken pieces with you to the dentist. Avoid eating or drinking to prevent further damage. Bite down gently on soft gauze until you get to the dentist.

-Any Form of Tooth Loss. A knocked out tooth is very painful and frequently results in considerable bleeding. Time is of the essence, as acting quickly can save the tooth. It’s important to stay calm and apply gauze to the socket to stop the bleeding. Inspect your tooth to see if it broke off or came out whole (if the root is smooth it likely came out whole.) Clean the tooth off with your saliva and then gently place it back in the socket. This may dislodge blood clots in which case it is advisable to rinse your mouth with saline solution and then reinsert the tooth. Bite down a piece of gauze and immediately head to a 24 hour dentist.

Dental Emergencies Where You Should Head to the ER and Not a 24 Hour Dentist
-Laceration inside the Mouth with Uncontrollable Bleeding. If applying gauze and light pressure does not stop the bleeding it is important to seek medical attention. Uncontrollable bleeding can cause shock which can cause further problems, including death, if not properly treated.

-Bitten Lip or Tongue with Uncontrollable Bleeding or Debris. Any debris within the wound should not be removed. Apply a cold compress with light pressure to stop the bleeding. If the bleeding will not stop, seek immediate medical attention.

-Fractured or Dislocated Jaw. This is a life threatening emergency. If you suspect your jaw is fractured or dislocated, seek emergency medical attention immediately.