Why It’s Important to Know an Emergency Dentist

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Why It’s Important to Know an Emergency Dentist

emergency dentist

When a dental disaster strikes, time is not on your side. Getting a proper diagnosis and finding relief as soon as possible is usually the top priority. Having an emergency dentist available to treat you when you need it most can be a lifesaver.

While no one likes the pain of your typical toothache, many other dental emergencies are far more critical. Here are the top 3 reasons why you want to get to know an emergency dentist before you actually need one.

Limited Research Time

When you’re in the midst of a crisis, the last thing you want to do is worry about finding the right professional. You won’t have time to do research and ensure the person you’re considering has the skills you need.

If you’ve already interviewed an emergency dentist, you won’t feel as much panic and stress when the inevitable emergency strikes.

Faster Treatment

Many types of trauma, including a motor-vehicle or sports accident, can cause severe dental damage. If a tooth is cracked or knocked out, getting proper treatment right away can mean the difference between saving or losing the tooth.

Keep your emergency dental professional on speed-dial and your smile will thank you.

Risk of Infection

A broken tooth is more than just an uncomfortable cosmetic incident. It also creates a risk of infection that can travel to your jaw, neck, and even your brain. Untreated tooth infections can lead to other serious health issues including hepatitis, cancer, and heart disease.

An emergency dentist can get you on antibiotics right away, significantly reducing potential side effects.

Most Common Dental Emergencies

At times, it’s hard to know whether what your feeling truly constitutes an emergency. Some of the most common dental emergencies we see include:

  • Cracked or chipped tooth
  • Severe mouth pain
  • Broken dentures
  • Partially dislodged tooth
  • Facial swelling
  • Abscess
  • Sports injuries and vehicle accidents
  • Bleeding and trauma
  • Serious injury to the tongue, cheeks, jaw, or lips
  • Post-dental surgery complications

If you feel your dental issue is an emergency, always trust your instincts. Contact your regular dentist to see if he or she is available. If not, it’s time to reach out to your emergency dental professional.

Proactively Preparing for Dental Emergencies

When you have a dental emergency, preparation is key. Keep your emergency dentist’s phone number programmed into your cell phone and prominently placed on your refrigerator. This will help speed things up when you need fast treatment.

It’s always helpful to have an emergency contact available who can drive you to the dentist and keep you company. This can help reduce the stress of an already-traumatic experience. If you need emergency surgical treatment, your friend can also offer you a safe ride home.

What to Do When Emergency Strikes

Making smart decisions in the heat of the moment can greatly impact the outcome of your dental emergency. Here are some tips for dealing with common dental problems.

Tooth Pain and Swelling

Treat pain and swelling by rinsing your mouth with warm water and doing your best to dislodge any foreign items between your teeth. If your face is swollen and painful, a cold compress can help.

You may want to take aspirin or another pain reliever orally, but never place the pill against your gums. This is actually an old wives’ tale, and following this bad advice can result in painful chemical burns.

Broken or Chipped Tooth

If your tooth is chipped or broken, save any pieces you can and bring them with you to the dentist. If you’re bleeding, gauze can be applied to the area until it stops. A cold compress will also help keep swelling down.

Knocked-Out Tooth

If your tooth is fully knocked out of your mouth, seek attention right away. When picking up the tooth be careful to hold it by the crown and don’t touch the roots if you can help it. Gently rinse the tooth and see if you can get it to sit back in the socket.

If you can’t easily get the tooth back in place, store it in a milk or water with a pinch of salt and bring it with you to the dentist. It’s important to know that getting dental attention within an hour on the incident is your best bet for saving the tooth.

Broken Crown

If you break your crown, call your dentist right away. If you’re feeling a lot of pain in the tooth, try applying clove oil with a cotton ball. Coat the inner surface of your tooth with dental adhesive or toothpaste and gently attempt to reapply the crown.

Don’t ever try to force the crown back onto your tooth, and don’t try using superglue to hold it in place.


A tooth abscess starts with a pimple-like bump between your teeth or on your gums. It’s often mildly painful but can quickly turn into a major problem. Until you can see a dentist, rinsing with mild salt water will help ease the pain and draw some of the infection towards the surface of your gums.

How to Choose the Best Emergency Dentist

Doing your research ahead of time is the best way to choose your emergency dentist. Ask your current dentist about office hours and how off-hours emergencies are handled. If emergency services aren’t offered, ask your dentist to recommend the best emergency service.

You may also ask friends and family members for recommendations. Conduct a few interviews if possible and check online reviews and social media. Most importantly, always trust your gut.

Avoiding Sticker Shock

If you have dental insurance, you’ll want to check whether the dentist you’re considering accepts your coverage. Either way, ask for information about the dentist’s billing practices. It’s not unusual for emergency services to cost a bit more, but you don’t want to be sidelined by an outrageous bill after it’s too late.

Do You Need Emergency Dentist Services in St. Louis?

At Forest Park Dental, our priority is providing quality dental care, exactly when you need it. Whether you need dental treatment right away or want to establish a personal relationship ahead of time, we can help.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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