Most people visit their dentist every 6 months or at least once a year for a regular, routine check up. Depending on the person's dental history, some of these appointments will involve X-rays being taken, which can show any trouble building up in the mouth, or often warning signs will develop. That's great news if your dentist can schedule an appointment to carry out any necessary treatment, or even sort the problem out for you there and then. However, there may be times when you or your family might need to see a dentist in an emergency, and it's important to prepare for this.
Depending on how urgently you need to see a dentist, there are a few options available. If your emergency is out of hours, then you should be able to visit a 24-hour emergency dentist. If you ring your regular dentist, then they will probably have instructions on their answer phone of who to ring. If it's during working hours, it may not be possible to see your regular dentist at short notice, but you could also consider visiting a private dentist. These will be more expensive, but they often have financial options available.
Reasons to see a dentist in an emergency
1. If your tooth has been knocked out by somebody or during an accident. This will result in lots of pain and a bleeding mouth. It's important for someone to find the tooth for you as quickly as possible, and once you've retrieved it, get to a dentist quickly. The quicker you get to the dentist chair, the more likely you will be able to save the tooth.
2. If your tooth is knocked away from where it usually sits in your mouth, and is hanging on by threads of tissue. Again, be as prompt as you can at finding a nearby dentist. Also, if your teeth seem okay after a knock to the mouth, but you're in severe pain, the dentist may carry out an X-ray to see what damage has been done.
3. If you have a serious dental infection. It's important to get help as soon as possible. The infection may spread to the rest of your body and make you ill.
4. If you're still in pain some time after receiving dental work. If the pain is severe or if swelling persists, then an infection may have developed.
5. If you've lost a filling or a crown. You will want to see a dentist at the next available opportunity. Eating on the tooth may cause discomfort, and it might be possible to get a temporary repair until you can get the tooth sorted out properly.
However, always visit accident and emergency if your mouth is in severe pain, you have bleeding which will not stop or you've experienced an injury resulting in trauma to the face.