If you are worried about your oral health? Emergency vs Non emergency Dental visit


    A tooth is a complete individual that is not shy to about letting you know when you need an emergency dental treatment. Amidst this pandemic of COVID-19, knowing the difference between emergency and non-emergency dental requirements can save your tooth.

    According to ADA, “Dental emergency are potentially life threatening and require immediate treatment to stop ongoing tissue bleeding (or to) alleviate the severe pain or infection.” Conditions include uncontrolled bleeding; cellulitis or a diffuse soft tissue bacterial infection with intraoral or extraoral swelling that potentially compromises the patient’s airway; or trauma involving facial bones that potentially compromises the patient’s airway.

    What are the urgent dental emergencies?

    You need to look for a an emergency dental appointment for the following;

    1. Severe toothache
    2. Knocked-out tooth
    3. Broken tooth
    4. Significant crack or chip in tooth
    5. Crack or chip in tooth causing pain
    6. Dental abscess
    7. Large piece of tooth missing
    8. Significant swelling of the gum
    9. Wisdom tooth pain
    10. Dry socket and bleeding
    11. Lost, broken temporary restoration or causing clinical irritation

    What are the non-urgent dental emergencies?

    Following seeking can be scheduled during a regular business hours;

    1. Initial or periodic oral examination and recall visits, including routine radiograph
    2. Dull toothache
    3. Lost filling, crown, or bridge
    4. Small chip in tooth
    5. Small crack in tooth
    6. Broken or cracked tooth without severe pain
    7. Food lodged between teeth
    8. Routine dental cleaning and other preventive therapies
    9. Orthodontic procedures (Braces) other than those to address acute issues like pain, infection, and trauma
    10. Extraction of asymptomatic teeth
    11. Restorative dentistry including treatment of asymptomatic various lesions.

    My RCT is going on but due to lock-down I can’t follow up. What to do?

    You don’t need to be worried. Treatment can be done afterwards. If you are not experiencing any pain, then there should not be any issues. You can wait for 21 days as temporary filling is given in RCT treatment.

    1. Avoid chewing or applying pressure on that side
    2. If you have any pain, take any painkiller SOS. Do warm saline water mouthwash twice daily.
    3. Brush twice daily
    4. Visit your dentist once the lock-down is over
    5. Make sure you contact your dentist if the situation is really unhandleable

    I have been wearing Braces, and am not able to visit my dentist. How can I manage this?

    Most of the orthodontic appliances can be left in situ for some months without detriment to the patient if the patient continues with the usual after care instructions

    1. Maintain good oral hygiene
    2. Low sugar diet
    3. Avoid sticky and or hard foodstuffs
    4. Continuously wear your removable orthodontic appliances as instructed by your orthodontist

    What to do for a toothache?

    Swishing with warm saline water can help relieve your pain. Sometimes it’s due to food caught in between the teeth; Flossing can be really helpful. Schedule an appointment with your dentist if the pain doesn’t subside.

    What to do for a loose tooth?

    Gums, jawbone and adjacent teeth themselves support a tooth. Your tooth may be loose due to several reasons such as receding gums, bone loss in your jaw, etc. Visit your dentist to know the exact cause and follow the advised treatments.

    I have watery pouch in my gums, what to do?

    Don’t pop a gum abscess(watery pouch) like you would do with a pimple. A gum abscess will not go away on its own. You need to schedule an appointment with your dentist. It can then be safely drained or depending upon the extent of infection root planing, scaling, or extraction can be opted.

    What to do for a knocked-out tooth?

    It’s vital that you receive emergency dental care within 30 minutes of knocking out your tooth . Pick up the tooth by the chewing surface(crown) not the root. Several artificial media are available to transport an avulsed(knocked-out tooth) such as HBSS. You can use milk, coconut water, egg white, saliva, etc to carry the tooth to the dentist.

    What to do for a broken, cracked, or chipped tooth?

    While you wait for your appointment, rinse your mouth with warm water. Also apply a cold compress to your cheek to help manage pain. Do not put crushed Aspirin on your tooth as this can damage your gums and enamel.

    Quick thinking is often what saves a tooth from needing an expensive dental restoration or being extracted entirely.

    emergency vs non
    Arzoo Gupta
    Dental Student
    BPKIHS Dharan



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