Why might a patient need an emergency dental appointment?
Even with regular check-ups and dental appointments with a dentist there can be occasions when an emergency appointment is needed. The majority of emergency cases, which can range from toothache through to tooth loss, are seen on the day that the appointment is made. Any amount of pain within the mouth can cause considerable discomfort and affect everyday life which is why, when an injury occurs or severe pain is apparent, patients are advised to book an appointment immediately whether through reception or via the out-of-hours emergency line.
What happens during an emergency appointment?
Once the patient has contacted the dental practice and informed them of what is wrong, the patient will be asked to attend an appointment.
To begin with it is necessary to know how much damage has possibly occurred and therefore during this appointment a thorough examination of the injured area will be carried out. Depending on the nature of the injury it may be necessary to carry out a series of X-rays in order to see the extent of the damage, as it may not always be possible to view it with the naked eye.
When an emergency appointment is made it is usually due to severe discomfort or pain within the mouth. Therefore, if this is the case, a local anaesthetic will be applied to the injured area in order to eliminate the pain and put the patient at ease.
The risk of infection starting and spreading when an injury occurs to the mouth is relatively high and therefore the area in which the injury has occurred will be cleaned and sterilised to minimise this risk.
It may be that the damage requires a restoration of the tooth or multiple teeth. If this is necessary, a temporary or permanent restoration will occur, but this will depend entirely on the individual case and circumstances. If a tooth has been severely damaged then tooth extraction may be needed, this will always be discussed and a treatment plan put in place for the patient.
If an adult tooth is knocked out, can it just be left without treatment?
Whilst on occasions a tooth can be knocked out or fall out and cause no discomfort, the potential risks further down the line mean that it is advisable to visit the dentist as soon as an injury or tooth loss occurs. By taking immediate action the risk of infection, possible bone degeneration and other potential complications including an impact on the cosmetic look of the patient’s smile is reduced dramatically and keeping the patient’s beautiful smile is entirely possible. The overall oral hygiene can also be greatly affected by tooth loss, as an infection can occur in the damaged area and spread through the mouth leading to an unpleasant odour when the patient breathes.
If a patient can retrieve an avulsed tooth they should always hold it by the crown not the roots which are very fragile. They can store the tooth in milk until they get to the dentist, who must be seen quickly to have any chance of successful reinsertion.