With the COVID-19 outbreak still in full force, most of the population is mandated to stay at home and maintain social distancing when outdoors. Since it has been this way for weeks, many of us are becoming acclimated to living in quarantine and getting things done online – ordering food, buying supplies, paying bills, the list goes on.
Still, there’s a very limited number of things that you can resolve with a phone call or a few mouse clicks. What about that upcoming dental appointment? What if your tooth aches or a filling falls out? What do you do in case of a dental emergency? With most establishments shut down because of the pandemic, you might be wondering: Can I see my dentist these days?
According to the CDC Guidance for Providing Dental Care During COVID-19, dental facilities are recommended to prioritize emergency dental care needs during the quarantine. Elective procedures and non-urgent dental visits, however, are to be postponed until further notice.
You can still set a dental appointment and see a dentist amid the crisis, but only if your case qualifies as a dental emergency. Otherwise, it's in your best interest to reschedule non-essential trips to the dentist's office after the quarantine/lockdown is lifted.
What counts as a dental emergency?
Any dental issue involving uncontrollable bleeding, severe pain, significant swelling, or fractured/knocked-out teeth are likely to be considered as dental emergencies that require immediate attention. Your dentist will use his or her professional judgment to determine whether or not you need urgent dental care
In light of the current situation, the best thing to do when experiencing dental problems is to call a dentist first. Depending on your particular circumstances, the dentist may advise you on how to manage non-urgent dental issues at home or how to deal with an emergency dental situation.
How to deal with common dental emergencies during COVID-19
Dental emergencies can occur even if you’re just staying at home. You may trip while exercising and fracture a tooth or fall hard on your face and break one. Poor dental health can also lead to a toothache and several other dental issues. Now, more than ever, good oral and dental hygiene is necessary.
Quarantine or not, you need to know how to deal with these situations when they happen, so they inflict the least possible damage on your teeth and overall dental health. These tips will help you properly handle three of the most common dental emergencies:
There’s nothing quite like the nagging pain from an aching tooth. Luckily, toothaches are relatively easy to relieve. In most cases, you only have to cleanse your mouth with warm water, use a dental floss to make sure there is no food or debris stuck between your teeth, and take pain medication afterward.
Some toothaches, however, are worse than others. If you’re experiencing severe pain and piercing sensitivity, there might be an infection involved. Call your dentist right away.
- Broken or cracked tooth
Many people break or crack a tooth by accident. If this happens to you, pick up the broken pieces, rinse them, and keep them safe. Next, wash your mouth with warm water and apply cold compress on the affected area to control the swelling. You can also take over-the-counter medications to manage the pain, but don’t take aspirin if there’s bleeding. Of course, don’t forget to call the dentist ASAP!
- Knocked-out tooth
If a tooth gets knocked out, remember to pick it up by the crown and never by the root. Rinse the tooth in cold water and store it in a cup of milk or water to keep it moist. Once you've applied gauze to the bleeding part of your gum/mouth, contact the nearest dental practice for treatment.
The success rate of tooth reimplantation is higher when performed within an hour of the incident. The sooner you can get yourself to the dentist, the better your chances will be.
One crucial fact you need to remember when dealing with dental emergencies is that the longer you put off going to the dentist, the worse and more expensive the problem is going to be.
Although many dental practices are closed or have limited operations nowadays, most dentists already have precautionary measures in place so they can accommodate dental emergencies and attend to your urgent dental care needs even in the time of COVID-19.
Stephanie McGuire is the content writer at Glendale Dental Group, an emergency dental care office located in 4419 W. Glendale Ave Glendale, AZ 85301. When not writing, she enjoys traveling and playing volleyball with her friends.
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