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Emergency Dental Care: Knowing What to Do and Finding Help in Nashville

Emergency Dental Care: Knowing What to Do and Finding Help in Nashville

Emergency Dental Care: Knowing What to Do and Finding Help in Nashville
Dr. Jones
August 14, 2023

As a Nashville resident or tourist to the area, you never know when something might happen to your tooth. You’re chewing something and your tooth falls out. You might be at a ball game or playing golf with a friend when you get hit and break a tooth. If this happens, you may not be able to wait a week or two. You need emergency dental care ASAP.

What Are the Most Common Emergencies?

Some people have a higher pain tolerance than others. How do you know if something is really an emergency or not? There are five main dental emergencies:

Bleeding that doesn’t slow

You bit your tongue or got hit in the mouth and you’re bleeding. Maybe, you were chewing something hard and your gum started bleeding. You’ve tried several things, but the bleeding isn’t stopping. That’s an emergency.

Broken or chipped tooth (more than just a small crack but a large piece falls off)

If a piece of your tooth breaks off, save it if you can. Rinse your mouth with salt water to help reduce any bacteria. If there is pain, use an ice pack rather than a product like teething gel. Call your dentist for additional tips that can help with discomfort until the appointment.

Dental abscess (infection)

If you notice an abscess where you can see a pocket of pus formed, do not pop it and hope it goes away. You want to get to the dentist to have it drained properly and avoid having the infection spread to your bloodstream.

Extreme tooth, gum, or mouth pain

Excruciating pain is a sign of something wrong. It’s often a sign of infection or a tooth abscess. 

If the pain isn’t severe, try flossing your teeth first. Sometimes, a particle of food or shell from a popcorn kernel can cause pain that goes away when the food is removed. If the pain worsens or isn’t alleviated with flossing, call the dentist to see if you can use an over-the-counter pain reliever until the emergency Nashville dentist can see you.

Loose tooth

A loose tooth can be a sign of gum disease or trauma to the tooth. It’s not a situation where you should wait and see if the problem worsens. Make an appointment now.

A tooth falls out or is knocked out

What if the tooth falls out or is knocked out in an accident, sporting event, etc.? Note the time the tooth fell out and call an emergency dentist immediately. You don’t have time to waste. The sooner the tooth is reinserted, if possible, the best. In the meantime, wrap your tooth in gauze and put it in milk to keep it wet until you arrive at the dentist.

Those are emergencies, but what are not considered dental emergencies? A good rule of thumb is to call and ask as many people don’t realize that something like a loose tooth can be a major problem.

If you’ve had a filling fall out or your bridge breaks, that’s not always an emergency that requires a same-day appointment. You can often wait a day or two if there’s no pain or signs of swelling or infection, but you should talk to a dentist and ask. If there is a chance they could see you today, it’s going to ease your stress. 

If there is a small crack or chip, you can wait a few days for treatment, and the same is true if you have food stuck between your teeth and you can’t get it out on your own. Again, call and ask anyway as many dentists prefer you ask first and see if they can fit you in.

What Will Happen at the Appointment?

When you get an appointment, the dentist will see you and assess the problem. You may need X-rays. While this can be frustrating and take time, the dentist needs to make sure there are no underlying issues that could indicate tooth decay in the root or an infection down in the jawbone or gum. 

If there is an infection, you may have to take antibiotics for a few days before anything else happens to clear up the infection first. It all depends on what the examination uncovers. 

Once the problems are determined, you’ll discuss the best course of treatment. You might be okay with temporary treatments and then an appointment with your regular dentist when you’re back home. If you don’t have a dentist, be honest so that the emergency dentist can make sure your problem is addressed and get you started on routine preventative dental care.

If you have a decayed tooth that must be extracted, ask if you should have someone available to drive you home. Much of this will come down to the level of sedatives needed. Dental fear is often easier to overcome if you have a light sedative to help keep you calm during the appointment. You’ll need a driver if you decide to go that route.

Keep Up With Routine Care to Prevent Dental Emergencies

Once you’ve had your dental emergency resolved, make sure you keep up with routine oral care. Brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once. Visit your dentist for a cleaning and exam twice a year. If you’ve been told you have gum disease, you might see your dentist three or four times a year.

When you play sports, wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth. Stop smoking and limit alcoholic beverages, sports drinks, and high-sugar treats. Eat a healthy diet with fresh vegetables and avoid empty calories. Wait at least an hour after eating to brush your teeth in the morning, or brush them as soon as you get up and wait an hour for your coffee, tea, or breakfast.

Protect your teeth. You only get one set of permanent teeth, and emergency dental care can get costly. If you take good care of the teeth you have, you reduce the chances of having an emergency occur.

How to Find an Emergency Dentist

When you do have a dental emergency in Nashville, what do you do? If you are an established patient your dentist should refer you to a partner to help with your emergency dental needs. If you don’t have a dentist, look for a Nashville dental practice that covers all of your emergency dental needs. If the dentist only can handle certain issues, you’ll waste time learning they cannot help you.

When you’re having a dental emergency, there’s no time to waste. Call Jody Jones D.D.S. in Nashville to schedule an emergency appointment. Dr. Jones and his team specialize in restorative dentistry as well as cosmetic and general dentistry services. Whether you have a tooth that was knocked out or you’ve in severe pain, we’re here to help.