Urgent vs. Non-Urgent Emergency
Dental Care

Emergency Dental Care Dentist Grand Rapids, MI

Knowing the difference between an urgent and non-urgent dental emergency can save your tooth. For example, a knocked-out tooth will need to be treated by our emergency dentist the same day, regardless of whether the accident occurred within office hours. If you suspect you need emergency dental care, call our office as soon as possible.

Other dental emergencies may not require the same level of urgency, such as a lost porcelain crown, which can be treated within normal business hours. Our emergency dentist will be able to tell you what steps you should take to protect your teeth and gums while waiting for a dental treatment.

In this blog post, our Grand Rapids dentist at NorthPointe Family Dental will explain the differences between urgent and non-urgent dental emergencies. If you are currently in dental pain or discomfort, we recommend calling our emergency care dentist to set up an appointment.

Urgent Dental Emergencies

If you are in severe dental pain or have lacerated your gums, cheeks, or tongue, this qualified as an urgent dental emergency. Our dentist’s office will be able to rearrange the schedule so you can receive treatment as soon as possible.

You’ll need immediate care for the following urgent dental emergencies:

  • Severe toothache
  • Dental abscess
  • Loose tooth
  • Knocked-out tooth
  • Broken tooth or large piece of tooth is missing
  • Large crack or chip in tooth

If the dental trauma happens outside of office hours, your first call should still be to our emergency dentistry. The message on the answering machine should give you instructions for how to reach our dentist in the event of a dental emergency. The sooner you seek medical treatment, the less likely you’ll need expensive dental restorations in the future.

What to do for a toothache:

Often, toothaches are caused by food caught between teeth. This is why flossing can sometimes help relieve mild toothaches. We also recommend swishing with warm water. Schedule an appointment with our emergency dentist if the pain doesn’t subside. If you have a cavity, our dentist may be able to restore the tooth with a filling or crown. The sooner you act, the less invasive your treatment.

What to do for a gum abscess:

Do NOT pop a gum abscess like you would a pimple. Instead, you’ll need to schedule an appointment with our emergency dentist so he can safely drain the abscess. Depending on the extent of infection, our dentist may then suggest scaling and root planing, a root canal, or even tooth extraction. A gum abscess will NOT go away on its own. Call today to request urgent dental care.

What to do for a loose tooth:

Teeth are supported by gums, jawbone tissue, and other teeth. For this reason, many things can cause a tooth to loosen. Your tooth may be loose due to receding gums, bone loss in your jaw, or prior tooth loss. You may also have a loose tooth if you were struck in the face. Sometimes the only way to know the underlying cause of a loose tooth is to see our emergency dentist.

What to do for a knocked-out tooth:

First, call our office. It’s vital that you receive emergency dental care within 30 minutes of knocking out your tooth. Pick up the tooth by the crown (chewing surface), not the roots. That way, you won’t damage the roots and make it impossible for our dentist to put the tooth back in its socket.

Gently rinse your tooth and try placing it back in your socket. If this doesn’t work, wrap your tooth in clean gauze and submerge in milk. Like dentures, natural teeth will dry out and crack if not kept moist.

What to do for a broken, cracked, or chipped tooth:

Call our 24 hour emergency dentist as soon as possible. While you wait for your appointment, rinse your mouth with warm water. Also, apply a cold compress to your cheek to help manage pain. Do NOT put crushed aspirin on your tooth as this can damage your gums and enamel.

Non-Urgent Dental Emergencies

If you are having a non-urgent dental emergency, you’ll be able to schedule your dentist appointment during normal office hours. This means that if your filling falls out Saturday afternoon, you’ll be able to wait until Monday morning to have a new filling placed.

Non-urgent dental emergencies include:

  • Lost filling, crown, or bridge
  • Dull toothache
  • Food lodged between teeth
  • Small chip or crack in tooth

Quick thinking is often what saves a tooth from needing an expensive dental restoration or being extracted entirely. If you are experiencing dental pain and discomfort, we encourage you to seek treatment as soon as possible. The sooner you seek emergency dental care, the sooner you can alleviate pain and prevent permanent damage to teeth and gums.

If you have a dental emergency that wasn’t listed here, be sure to call our family dental practice. Our dentist can also help you prevent dental emergencies from happening in the first place. For example, sports dental injuries can be avoided with custom mouth guards.

Our Grand Rapids emergency dentist at NorthPointe Family Dental has experience restoring smiles after tooth loss, sports dental injuries, and more. If you need emergency dental treatment and are interested in our restorative dentistry services, give our dentist in Grand Rapids, MI a call at northpointefamilydental@gmail.com.