Don’t Panic, Call Us!
When it comes to dental emergencies, many folks are unsure how to handle the situation. Should you call your dentist? Call the emergency room? How do you know if something qualifies as a dental emergency? We’re here to answer all of your questions, and our staff is standing by to get you an appointment the same day for the best chance of saving your smile.
Should I go to the ER?
The short answer is NO. The emergency room is not trained or equipped to handle dental emergencies. You will likely wait around for a few hours (by which point it may be too late to save your tooth), only for them to tell you should call your dentist. Let’s just skip that mess, and call us right away. We’ll tell you what to do.
Is this an emergency?
If you’re unsure, the first thing you should do is call us, and we’ll tell you. Because oral injuries tend to bleed a lot, the injury may seem much worse than it actually is. You should rinse your mouth with water to try and gain a clear picture of the location and the nature of the injury. Here’s a list of some of the most common dental emergencies we are happy to see the same day:
- Tooth knocked out
- Periodontal abscess
- Severe pain
- Signs of infection (pus in the mouth)
- Severe bite to lips or tongue
- Hole in the cheek or gums
Tooth knocked out?
If you’ve had a tooth knocked out, follow the steps below for the best chance at saving the tooth:
- Pick up the tooth by the crown (the part that is usually visible), NOT the root. The tooth should be handled carefully to minimize damage to the root.
- If dirty, gently rinse the tooth with water. Do not use soap or chemicals, do not dry the tooth or wrap in tissue or cloth.
- Replace the tooth back into the socket immediately, if possible. The quicker this happens the greater chance we have of saving it. Make sure the tooth is facing the right direction. Hold the tooth in place with your fingers or by biting down gently.
- If the tooth cannot be placed back in the socket, place it inside your mouth next to your cheek to keep it moist, or place in emergency tooth preservation liquid, or milk, NOT WATER.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are considered dental emergencies?
A dental emergency requires immediate treatment to stop bleeding, severe pain, or to save a tooth. Some examples of dental emergencies are:
- A knocked-out tooth
- Severe pain
- A severe infection
- A cracked tooth
- A crown coming off
- A filling falling out
If you’re unsure whether you’re in the middle of a dental emergency, we recommend calling our office at (319) 283-4222. If you have a dental emergency, we can identify it and make an immediate appointment for you to get the help you need. If you’re not having a dental emergency, we can provide guidance and schedule a future appointment if necessary.
What if I can’t get an emergency dental appointment?
Our office does everything we can to make ourselves available for you during your emergency. It’s highly unlikely that we won’t be able to help you. But if we’re unable to get you into our office for an emergency appointment, we’ll do our best to find help for you.
We can recommend guidance for you during your emergency to lower the risk of complications and we may be able to refer you to a dental office in the area that can help you.
Can you go to the ER for a dental emergency?
The ER may be able to help if you’re experiencing a health emergency alongside your dental emergency, but they can’t perform dentistry. Only a dentist can help you with the dental emergency. The ER can help stop severe bleeding, but they’re limited.
For a dental emergency, it’s best to seek treatment from a dentist. We can help stop the bleeding, alleviate your pain, and fix your smile.
Call Us Right Away!
Dental injuries are time sensitive, so the first thing you should do is call us right away and we’ll do our best to get you in as soon as possible.