Dental Implants: Pros and Cons

What Constitutes Emergency Dental Care?

by Brett Clark

In most cases of emergency dental care, the first initial contact with the emergency dentist may be via phone call. There are different types of emergency care you may need, and that is why a dental clinic will have an already set out a course of action that covers all kinds of emergencies. This is what is usually called a dental triage, where patients are sorted into groups based on the severity of their dental problem. For example, there can be three groups: standard emergency care, urgent care and self-help/ advice or routine care. The following includes a clear outline of what happens if you are classified under each of these categories.

How Are You Classified?

When you call the clinic, you will explain your state, and several questions will be asked to be able to categorise you. Questions you may expect include the following: Do you have swelling? Is the swelling severe? Can you swallow? Are you in pain? How severe is the pain? Is there any bleeding? Based on your answers, you will be categorised in a particular group, and necessary care will be provided.

Standard Emergency Care

These type of emergencies are not usually as common as the other types. They include cases such as facing a trauma that consists of oral or facial laceration and dentoalveolar wounds. Dentoalveolar wounds are wounds affecting a tooth and the bone that surrounds it, which is called the alveolar bone — hence the name dentoalveolar.

Standard emergency care cases also consist of oral or facial swellings that are getting worse, uncontrollable bleeding after tooth or teeth extraction, dental infections that cause high temperatures and acute systemic illnesses. A systemic illness affects the entire body. Last but not least, a severe case of being unable to open your jaw, usually termed as trismus.

When you are categorised in this group, you will be provided contact with the dentist and treatment as soon as possible — maybe in an hour or the appropriate time that matches the severity of your situation.

Urgent Care

These constitute the highest number of emergency dental care cases. They include instances of fractured teeth with an exposed pulp, extreme facial and oral pain that is uncontrollable even after following the self-help advice provided and dental infections that do not cause systemic illnesses.

When you are categorised under this group, you will be provided with self-help advice and treatment within a day or in a timeline appropriate for your ailment severity. You may also be advised to call back if you get worse.

Self Help, Advice and Routine Care

These constitute an average number of emergency dental care cases. They include cases of mild pain, minor trauma, bleeding that can be controlled and loose tooth fixtures.

When you are categorised under this group, you will be provided with self-help advice, and treatment can be given up to a week later or according to the timeline appropriate to your condition.