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Should I Go to the ER or the Dentist?

Dental emergencies can occur in many different forms. They may result from grinding your teeth, biting into something too hard, or direct trauma. Regardless of the cause, any serious damage to a tooth can put you at risk of a potentially deadly infection, so it is important to treat it as an emergency if you lose or break a tooth. Unfortunately, it may not always be easy to decide whether your emergency is better suited to the ER or to your emergency dentist.

Should I Go to the ER or the Dentist?

Our guide walks you through how to decide which expert to go see. After reading, you should be prepared for anything that comes your way.

When to Go to the Emergency Room

Your Fontana dentist at Valley Alder Family Dentistry is the expert when it comes to taking care of your teeth and everything else in your oral cavity. However, there are limits to what they can do given their highly specialized equipment and training. If you’ve undergone a trauma that has done serious damage to your face, jaw, or any other part of your body, then you will need to go to the emergency room to make sure that those injuries are taken care of.

At the emergency room, the staff will do what they can to protect you from infection. They may need to administer a preventative antibiotic, and they will likely need to disinfect and seal any openings you may have in your gums. This treatment is a temporary fix that will keep you safe until you are stable enough to pay a visit to your emergency dentist in Fontana.

When to Go Directly to the Dentist

Dental injuries are serious injuries that put your health at risk. Therefore, it is vital that you have a dental injury treated right away. Emergency cases may include losing an adult tooth, breaking a tooth, or intense discomfort in your tooth or jaw. In all three situations, you will want to call a dentist with 24-hour emergency service. If you don’t have one in your area, you may need to go to the emergency room for treatment. Fortunately, it is increasingly common for family dentists to offer emergency services to make sure that their patients always have access to care.

Before Going to the Dentist

However, you will need to perform a little first aid prior to rushing off to the dentist if you’ve broken or lost a tooth. If you have broken a tooth, the process is fairly simply. Rinsing your mouth out with salt water and protecting the rest of your mouth from the tooth’s sharp edges is usually enough. Paraffin wax does a great job of covering a jagged tooth, but sugar-free gum will also do in a pinch.

For a lost adult tooth the process is a little more involved. While a friend or family member is calling your dentist, do your best to locate your missing tooth. If you find it, pick it up from the tip. Avoid touching the root at all costs. You will then want to rinse the tooth with milk to help keep the root moist while gently cleaning the tooth. If possible, you will then want to place the tooth back into its socket. You can hold it in place using gauze and have someone rush you to your emergency dentist.

Knowing What to Do: ER or Dentist

All medical professionals go through extensive training to ensure that they can help you when you are most in need. However, specialization takes time and further education. As a result, it makes sense to go to the medical professionals best suited to handle your medical emergency. In many cases, that is the emergency room, but when it comes to your teeth there’s no one better than your local dentist.