What’s Considered a Dental Emergency?
There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world today, including whether or not you should see your dentist in Highland Park. We’re here to help. As of April 1, 2020, the American Dental Association (ADA) has recommended that dentists across the country suspend all routine dental care to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 until at least April 30th. However, dentists may still be seeing patients who are experiencing dental emergencies. But what, exactly, is considered a dental emergency?
Defining Dental Emergencies
The ADA defines dental emergencies as “potentially life-threatening and require immediate treatment to stop ongoing tissue bleeding [or to] alleviate severe pain or infection.” Some signs indicating that you may be experiencing a dental emergency include:
- Bleeding that doesn’t stop
- Pain or swelling in or around your mouth
- Tooth or jaw pain
- Broken or knocked-out tooth
- Gum infection with pain and swelling
The ADA also lists “urgent” dental care as a secondary set of symptoms that may require early intervention by a dentist. Dental problems that are classified as urgent include:
- Severe dental pain caused by pulpal inflammation
- Third-molar pain
- Tooth fractures with pain or resulting in soft tissue trauma
- Post-op complications such as dry socket
- Abscess or localized bacterial infection with swelling
- Dental trauma that results in a lost tooth
- Lost or broken temporary restoration or if a restoration is irritating the gum tissue
- Cavities or decay that cause pain
It’s important to note that these lists do not include every possible situation of a dental emergency or urgent dental need. The best thing to do if you think you’re experiencing a dental emergency is to call your dentist in Highland Park to determine the best course of action.
What Can Wait?
There are several types of dental treatments that are not considered emergencies and should not warrant an immediate visit to the dental office. Non-emergency dental care includes, but is not limited to:
- Routine exams, cleanings, x-rays
- Cosmetic dentistry consultations or pre-scheduled treatments such as whitening
- Cavities that do not cause pain
- Extraction of teeth that are not painful
We understand that postponing your routine dental appointments may not be ideal, and while we’d love to see you, please help us and our entire community stay safe by staying at home.
*Please note, COVID-19 recommendations change regularly. Please refer to your local government for the most recent updates regarding dental care during this time.