When you’re experiencing a dental emergency, it can be hard to think about what you should do. It’s important to slow down and take things one step at a time. There are people who can help — you just need to make an emergency dental appointment. If you don’t know how, here’s a guide that can help you.
How Do I Find an Emergency Dentist?
It’s best to be prepared in case of an emergency by knowing whom you would call. If you have a dentist you see regularly, then great! You can call them if you’re ever in trouble. If not, look online for a dentist in your area. If you have insurance, you can even check your plan’s website to see which providers are in-network. In either case, most dentists will be more than happy to accept you for an emergency appointment.
How Do I Make an Emergency Appointment?
First, if you’ve lost a crown or filling, secure it and put it in a safe place. If you’re dealing with some pain, take an over-the-counter pain reliever or apply a cold compress to the affected area. Then, call your dentist and make an appointment. Most offices will try and get you in the same day, and the dental team will advise you on what you can do until you see them.
What If It’s After Business Hours?
Of course, dentist offices aren’t open 24 hours a day. If you can’t get ahold of anyone at the front desk, leave a voicemail with your name, number, and the nature of your emergency. Some offices have an emergency number you can call, so you can try that and get some advice from a professional. Otherwise, offices tend to check their messages at the start of the day and schedule emergency patients as quickly as possible.
If you can’t wait, you can go to the closest emergency room. They’ll be able to help you manage any pain and advise you on your next course of action.
What Should I Do While I Wait?
Exactly what you ought to do next depends on the problem you’re facing. However, there are a few general tips that might be helpful:
- Make good use of over-the-counter pain relievers. Until you can see the dentist, they’re going to be your best friend.
- Brush gently and chew food on the side of the mouth opposite the problem area.
- If pain is due to a bacterial infection, gargling with salt water may help. Mix ½ tsp of salt with a glass of water and rinse gently with the solution.
- Check your dentist’s website. Many of them have a “dental emergency” page that can tell you a bit more about how to deal with your issue.
Waiting is the hardest part, but just know that help is closer than you think. Just take things one step at a time.
About the Author
Dr. Jonathan Smiley is a general and family dentist who prides himself on treating his patients with care and compassion. He understands how stressful dental emergencies can be, so he does his best to see his patients as quickly as possible. Dr. Smiley received his Doctor of Dental Medicine from the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine and is a proud member of both the American Dental Association and the Academy of General Dentistry. If you have any questions about dealing with dental emergencies, he can be reached via his website or by phone at (319) 352-2270.