Is the Emergency Room the Right Place to go for A Dental Emergency?
At Lincoln Family Dentistry we often get asked this question. While we would love to give a quick “yes” or “no” answer; it isn’t quite that simple. Where you go depends on the type of injury sustained. In our article we’ll cover:
-What is considered a traumatic or life threatening injury? Severe trauma to the head or mouth should be checked at the E.R. Read more below.
-What classifies as a dental emergency? While there are many, we have listed some of the more common ones below.
If you or someone you know has a dental emergency, most can be seen by an emergency dentist at Lincoln Family Dentistry. So that you can be a little more sure about where you to go in the event of an emergency, let’s look into various situations. These situations are those that are appropriate for treatment at the emergency room vs those that are good for a dental office.
Life-Threatening or Traumatic Injuries
When dealing with a life-threatening injury or serious trauma to the head or mouth; make sure that you seek treatment at the emergency room closest to you. If you are wondering what injuries are worthy of an emergency room visit, common ones have been listed below:
- Lacerations to the mouth or face that are deep and possibly in need of stitches
- Fracture or dislocation of the jaw
- Discomfort and swelling of the face most likely caused by an abscess or infection that is making it difficult to swallow or breathe
When experiencing any of the above dental emergencies, it is important to first seek treatment at a hospital. Hospitals have the necessary tools and equipment to treat conditions and other issues caused by injury or infection. For example, in the case of a severe and life-threatening infection, it is likely you will need IV antibiotics. IV antibiotics are not available at a dental office. In addition, a hospital can help with any airway restrictions, which a dental office can’t do.
Whatever the emergency, if you receive dental treatment at the hospital, it’s a good idea to follow-up with your dentist. While a hospital can treat medical conditions, they will not perform any cosmetic or restorative treatment. A follow-up dental visit ensures your teeth and mouth are healthy. In addition, a dental visit also ensures your mouth is in good working order.
Minor Dental Emergencies
While you may be experiencing a great deal of discomfort, and possibly swelling, not all dental emergencies require a hospital visit. In fact, your emergency dentist at Lincoln Family Dentistry can better treat dental discomfort. An emergency room visit can sometimes offer no more than a “band-aid.” Some common minor dental emergencies seen by your dentist are:
- An avulsed (knocked out) tooth
- Discomfort in a tooth or minor swelling of the face typically caused by infection
- Teeth that are broken or cracked
If you are experiencing one of the above dental problems, or another non- life threatening/traumatic dental emergency; contact one of our offices as soon as possible. At Lincoln Family Dentistry, we are here for any dental emergency; with weekend and evening hours, as well as an after-hours emergency number, taking care of you is our number one priority.
The information on this page was written by Dr. Brooke Kittell.
This gentle Lincoln, NE dentists says: “I saw a lot of different dental specialists when I was young. My orthodontist changed my life by giving me the smile I am remembered by today. I love people, art, and making an impact. Once I discovered the potential impact a confident smile can make in someone’s life, dentistry became the only career that would allow me to maximize my creative skills while fulfilling my drive for helping others. Dentistry is about so much more than teeth, and the world is finally starting to acknowledge this. I am so excited to incorporate my background in Nutrition Science and my passion for overall well-being to provide the next level of care for my patients.”
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