Should Your Toothache Problem Be Taken to the ER After Regular Hours?
When you have a dental emergency, the first person you should call is your dentist.
But, what happens when you have a problem and your dentist’s office is closed? Your toothache may be painful, but should it be taken to the ER after regular business hours?
Not all dental emergencies need to be taken to the emergency room. If you have lost a filling, crown or bridge, waiting a day or two is not going to cause any problems. A minor crack or broken tooth also won’t harm you. Dull aches can be relieved with pain relievers.
Also, if you have broken a retainer or night guard, going one or two nights without it is not going to harm you. In any of these situations, you can most likely wait until normal business hours resume. There is no need to rush out to the emergency room and be stuck with a potentially expensive co-pay.
Until you can see your dentist, there are things you can do to relieve minor pain. Take a pain reliever. Making a salt water wash will help relieve pain and reduce any swelling. A cold compress can also help bring swelling down. If you have knocked out a tooth, preserve it in a sealed jar with milk.
There are some dental emergencies that definitely warrant a trip to the emergency room after hours. If you are in extreme pain that cannot be helped with over the counter pain relief, you should consider the trip. It may be a sign of infection, which should be treated immediately.
You should also go if you see extreme swelling (another sign of infection), if you have suffered a jaw injury, you have experienced an extremely painful crack or break off if you have bleeding that won’t stop. These situations shouldn’t wait until the next day.
Dental emergencies may be painful, but not all of them require a trip to the emergency room. If the pain can be managed at home, wait until the office reopens. However, if the pain is unbearable or there may be an infection, it may be worth it to drive to the nearest ER and seek treatment right away.
Please contact us if you have any questions about your toothache.