There’s never an ideal time for a dental emergency to occur, but if one happens during COVID-19, it can add to the stress. Many dental offices are closed, so you might believe you should head to the emergency room. Although you’re having an emergency, the hospital is rarely the right option. Not only is the ER the perfect environment to transmit the virus, but most hospitals aren’t equipped to treat oral health issues. Instead, here’s what you need to know to call your emergency dentist.
Emergency Room VS Emergency Dentist
It might seem like the hospital is the right choice for treatment when experiencing a dental emergency, but it’s often not. Most hospitals can’t treat the underlying issue. At most, they can prescribe antibiotics or pain relievers; therefore, unless you suspect a broken jaw or have a medical emergency, it’s best to contact your dentist.
To help combat the spread of COVID-19, many dental offices have stopped performing elective procedures; however, they are still available for issues needing urgent attention, like a knocked-out tooth or lost restoration. Your dentist will follow the CDC’s guidelines to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure while restoring a healthy smile.
Can I Wait to See My Dentist?
Currently, it’s recommended Americans practice social distancing to help stop the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, it’s tempting to delay seeing your dentist until the risk has leveled out; however, you don’t want to wait if you have a serious oral health problem.
As with an emergency, time is valuable. If you don’t get the care you need immediately, you might lose your tooth. This opens the door to a long list of complications associated with tooth loss, including cavities and gum disease.
If you have a dental emergency, it’s best to contact your dentist right away. They can walk you through the appropriate first aid at home until they can get you into the office. Generally, if you’re in severe pain, you suspect an infection, have a significant break, or you’ve partially or fully lost a tooth, you’ll need a same-day appointment.
If you’ve lost a restoration or have a minor chipped tooth, you can wait a day or two for your appointment, but you’ll need to maintain your oral hygiene and keep your tooth clean. It’s also best to avoid chewing with the tooth until after it has been repaired. If you have any discomfort, you can use an over-the-counter pain reliever and apply cold compresses to the outside of your mouth.
Don’t Wait to Call Your Dentist
Although we live in uncertain times, don’t wait to see your dentist if you have an emergency. They will keep your health a top priority while providing the care you need.
About Miller & Wolf Family Dentistry
Miller & Wolf Family Dentistry combines the qualifications and experience of 2 dentists to provide comprehensive services from one location. We are always there for our patients, even during dental emergencies. We’re proactive to reduce the spread of COVID-19, so you have one less thing to worry about. If you need an appointment, contact our office today.