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How to find an emergency dentist anywhere, anytime

Avoid dental emergencies! Learn oral care tips and proactive measures, and be prepared for unexpected dental issues.

A dental emergency can strike anywhere, at any time. Whether it’s a broken tooth during a sporting event or severe toothache—dental emergencies are an inconvenience and need immediate attention.  

In this article, we’ll help you determine if what you’re experiencing is a dental emergency and provide tips on finding an emergency dentist when you need it.

Signs you may need emergency care: 
pain and swelling in your mouth
tooth or jaw pain
infections and dry sockets
broken teeth

Why you may need to contact an emergency dentist

Dental emergencies can happen at any place, anytime—for various reasons.  

Some of the signs that may indicate you need emergency dental care include things like:  

These signs will help you determine whether your case is truly considered a dental emergency or if an over-the-counter pain reliever like Tylenol can help you get by until the next available appointment with your dentist.  

What to do if you have a dental emergency 

As hard as it might sound, the best thing you can do when you’re experiencing a dental emergency is to remain calm, and this will help you to think clearly and determine what the best next step is for your situation. 

Once you’ve identified that you are in a dental emergency, it’s time to act. Depending on the type of emergency, you will either contact an emergency dentist or go directly to the hospital.  

Knowing which route to take will depend on the emergency you’re experiencing.  

Hospital visits are usually a last resort, but they are the best option in some situations. The following are dental emergencies that may warrant a trip to the hospital and could potentially be life-threatening:  

  • Jaw fractures 

  • Jaw dislocations 

  • Severe cuts to the face and mouth 

  • An abscess or infection that is extremely swollen and impacting breathing or swallowing  

If your dental emergency isn’t life-threatening, it’s best to contact an emergency dentist. The previous examples like a toothache or cracked tooth, would fall under this type of emergency.  

How to find an emergency dentist near you

The first step in finding an emergency dentist should be contacting your general dentist.  

Finding an emergency dentist is your best option for a quick response when an emergency occurs. Your local Aspen Dental office is a great option if you’re looking for an emergency dentist.  

Knowing how to find an emergency dentist no matter what time of day it is or where you’re at, will help to alleviate your pain and address the dental issue before it becomes something worse.  

Aspen Dental offices specialize in creating a comfortable dental experience with high-quality results. Whether you’re looking for emergency dental care or regular dental services, your local Aspen Dental office will provide you with the services you need to get your smile back, including emergency walk-in visits.  

What happens if my emergency occurs on a weekend or after-hours?

Dental emergencies don’t work on the same schedule as your dentist.  

You could wake up in the middle of the night with throbbing pain or break a tooth at lunch on a Saturday afternoon — dental emergencies can strike at any time.  

This means that you might not be able to simply call your general dentist and head into the office for a check-up an hour later.  

Luckily, some dental offices that offer emergency care have after-hours options for these scenarios. While they may not answer immediately, you can leave a message to let the dentist know about the problem you are experiencing, and they will call you back as soon as possible.  

They will then set up a time for you to come into their office for a dental check-up and address your emergency concerns.  

Depending on how your dentist handles emergencies, they may have you come into the office off-hours or on weekends. If your dentist cannot see you until regular business hours, they can advise you on managing and relieving pain until they can get you into the office.

A woman holding an ice pack to her left cheek, experiencing a toothache.

Things you can do at home to help the pain

So, you’ve called your emergency dental provider, but they can’t get you in for a few hours.  

If you’re in pain, a few hours could feel like days. 

While your dentist may prescribe you some form of pain relief to help get you by until they can take a closer look, there are also a few other things you can do at home to help with the pain.  

Here are a few tips that will help you get through the waiting period and get some relief:  

  • Elevate your head 

  • Rinse mouth with warm water 

  • Put a cold compress on the affected area 

  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever   

  • Use pain relief gels  

These things won’t solve the problem you’re experiencing, but they should provide you with some relief until you can see your dentist for a full check-up.

A man and his daughter practicing oral hygiene by brushing their teeth.

How to avoid dental emergencies 

Most dental emergencies can be avoided with proper oral care. To keep your oral health of top quality, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. From practicing a good oral hygiene routine to wearing a mouthguard when playing contact sports, it can help prevent a dental emergency.  

Practice good oral hygiene

The most important thing you can do to avoid experiencing a dental emergency is to practice good oral hygiene.  

To do this, you’ll want to incorporate the following habits into your daily routine to keep your mouth healthy and lower the chances of experiencing a dental emergency:

These simple steps can help prevent toothaches and broken or cracked teeth due to weak or decaying teeth

A regular oral hygiene regimen is one of the best defenses you have against dental emergencies.

Address concerns early 

If you are experiencing any unusual symptoms or pains, it’s a good idea to get it looked at right away.  

Knowing your body and identifying changes occurring over time can help you catch a potential problem before it becomes an emergency.  

Watch for changes in your teeth, gums, and other mouth areas such as your cheeks or lips. It’s essential to keep track of where the problems appear, how long they last, and if they’re recurring.  

The issue can be addressed early by bringing any problems or concerns up with your dentist during your yearly check-up or as you start to notice them. This could help you avoid a future infection or tooth loss.  

Visit your dentist regularly

Regular visits with your dental provider are a vital part of your oral care.  

These visits allow your dentist to check your teeth and gums for any potential problems you might not be aware of and perform a professional cleaning. They can identify and provide preventive care for things like filling a cavity, identifying possible tooth decay, or if your gums are showing early signs of infection or gum disease. 

Wear mouthguards when playing sports 

To avoid knocking out or breaking teeth during sports, wearing the proper mouthguard is a great way to protect your teeth.  

Sports are one of the most common ways a tooth is broken or knocked out, but it can be avoided with the right equipment. Mouthguards can help reduce any heavy blows to the mouth, decreasing the chances of knocking a tooth loose.   

When playing contact sports, a well-fitting mouthguard is the best protection you can provide yourself against a potential dental emergency.  

Don’t use your teeth as tools

Have you ever used your teeth to help you rip open a bag?  

This is another very common way people break or chip their teeth and is something you should avoid doing. While your teeth may seem like a handy tool when you don’t have one within reach, using your teeth for this purpose can cause significant problems and result in a dental emergency.  

No matter what you’re trying to open or cut, whether that’s a candy package, the tag to a new shirt, or a glass bottle — think twice before you put your teeth to work.  

Taking the extra few minutes to find a pair of scissors or a bottle opener will be safer and protect your teeth from potential problems.  

Avoid hard foods

Hard foods, such as nuts, popcorn kernels and ice cubes can cause your teeth to crack or break.  

Due to the excessive force required to chew these foods, it’s best to avoid them or eat them in moderation. When you eat these harder to chew foods, pay attention to how hard you are biting into them and take it easy to avoid breaking any of your teeth.   

Sticky foods can be another culprit of chipping or breaking teeth. Since they are hard to chew and can quickly get stuck to your teeth, they could easily cause a dental emergency.  

Eat a healthy diet and avoid sugary foods

Your diet plays a significant role in your oral health. By eating a healthy diet and avoiding sugary foods, your teeth and mouth will be healthier—lowering your risk of experiencing a dental emergency.  

Frequent snacking, sugary sports drinks, sodas, and candy can cause havoc on your mouth. They will increase your chances of tooth decay and cavities, resulting in fragile teeth that are prone to breaking.  

Practice the following healthy dieting tips to help keep your gums and teeth in the best shape possible:  

  • Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products 

  • Include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, and nuts 

  • Stick to foods that are low in saturated fats, trans fast, salt and added sugars 

Sticking to these healthy eating habits will keep your mouth healthy and help to decrease the chances of having a dental emergency.

A dentist in a white coat walks along with a happy patient after treating his dental emergency in the Aspen Dental office.

Be prepared when a dental emergency strikes

You can’t predict when a dental emergency will occur, so it’s best to plan and take early precautions to be prepared. Knowing what to do in the case of an emergency and who to contact will help elevate any pain you may be experiencing and potentially save your teeth from any permanent damage.  

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