Apr 14, 2020

Dental emergencies are unique in that they somehow seem to occur at the absolute worse times. That means that even though the country is battling the COVID-19 virus, a painful toothache, loose tooth or one of the many other possible dental issues can flare-up. Thus, you need to know how to get the help you need. As you read on, you’ll discover why, instead of heading to your local ER to seek treatment, you should contact an emergency dentist.

An Important Update About Dentists

Across America, dentists have temporarily placed the majority of their services on hold as a means of reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19. However, they understand that when a dental emergency strikes, you don’t have the luxury of waiting to receive care. Therefore, it’s important for you to know that, for emergency dental treatments, most dentists are available to provide the care you need. So instead of heading to the hospital, contact an emergency dentist first.

Here is a list of the types of dental procedures that the American Dental Association (ADA) says should be given priority:

  • Biopsy of abnormal tissue
  • Severe dental pain from pulpal inflammation
  • Post-operative osteitis (also referred to as dry socket)
  • Dental trauma with avulsion/luxation (tooth dislodgement)
  • Tooth fracture resulting in pain or causing soft tissue trauma
  • Dental treatment required before receiving critical medical procedures
  • Abscess or localized bacterial infection resulting in pain and swelling
  • Pericoronitis (gum tissue inflammation around a partially erupted molar)
  • Final crown/bridge cementation if a temporary restoration is lost, broken, or causing gingival (gum) irritation

How an Er Visit Can Make Matters Worse

If you’ve ever visited an emergency room, you’re aware that it’s usually a relatively small area. With news outlets all over the country reporting that hospitals are crowded with patients who are potentially infected with COVID-19, you could place yourself in danger by unnecessarily visiting the ER.

Furthermore, the hospital staff is already being stretched thin to accommodate the influx of patients. Thus, it’s in everyone’s best interest for you to visit an emergency dentist instead.

Are There Any Exceptions?

There are two types of dental emergencies that require a greater sense of urgency: profuse bleeding and a broken jaw. If you’re dealing with a severe laceration or some other dental issue that has caused unstoppable bleeding for more than 10 minutes, then you should head to the ER. The same goes for a broken jaw, as it could possibly inhibit your breathing and become life-threatening.

After the medical professionals there address the immediate threat, your dentist can provide the remaining care you need to fully recover.

There is never a good time to have a dental emergency, but it can cause even more angst than normal if it happens during the COVID-19 outbreak. You can take comfort in knowing that your local dentist is on guard and ready to provide the expert care you need to restore your oral health.

About the Author

Dr. R. Scott Thompson earned his dental degree from the Emory University School of Dentistry. During the COVID-19 crisis, he has temporarily placed his cosmetic, preventive, and certain restorative forms of care on hold. However, Dr. Thompson is available to treat dental emergencies at Tarpon Shores Dental. He can be reached for more information through his website.