Is That Painful Tooth An Emergency?

Dental Emergency or Not?

Dental emergencies are tricky; it’s not always easy to know when to call the dentist after hours. “Emergencies depend on pain, and everyone experiences pain differently,” says Dr. Carol Ford from her Phoenix dental office. “One of the ways I handle the issue is to givephoenix dental emergency my clients my cell phone number. “ How does this almost-unheard of divulging of the Phoenix dentist’s cell phone number help patients know if they have an emergency?

It starts a long time before the emergency issue comes into question. “From the minute a patient makes an appointment, I build a relationship with them,” Dr. Ford says. “By the time I give them my phone number, the patient knows what to look for and I know they will call me if they need me. They think carefully before calling me. It’s the best call system available—one based on trust and information.”

Dr. Ford’s patients use the number when they are in pain or when they experience one of the symptoms Dr. Ford tells them to watch for. The patient’s own experience is the best guidance for choosing to declare an emergency. “I can’t remember the last time a patient called when they didn’t need to, “ Dr. Ford says.

When should you call your dentist? “Any time there is a dental problem that can cause long-lasting damage or you are in serious pain,” says Dr. Ford. That includes a tooth that is knocked out or breaks, abscesses, or unexpected pain after a procedure.

The online source, Web M.D. adds a list of self-help problems, which include:

Objects stuck in teeth—work it out gently with dental floss. Don’t force it out if it’s firmly wedged, and never use a pin or sharp metal object. You can cut your gum or damage the tooth surface.

Lost filling or crown—call your dentist during office hours, unless there is pain involved. Rinse the crown by holding it by the biting surface and rinsing it under warm running water. Put the sink stopper in first, so if you drop it, it won’t go down the drain.

Toothache or abscessIf your gum is painful to the touch, swollen, or your face is swollen around a sore tooth, call your dentist any time of day. Abscesses are infections that can spread to other parts of your body and need to be stopped quickly.

Dr. Ford nods and agrees with the toothache/abscess information from Web M.D. “Another good reason for seeing your dentist regularly is that your dentist discusses what’s going on and you already have an idea what is serious and what can wait,” says the popular Phoenix dentist.

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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