The COVID-19 pandemic has posed some unusual challenges. For starters, as the availability of testing becomes greater, the infection numbers continue to rise around the country. That doesn’t stop the other mishaps of life from happening, like dental emergencies. If you find yourself dealing with one, it’s important that you seek care from a local emergency dentist, first, but why? Read on to find out!
Most Dentists are Available in Emergency Situations
If you’re a little confused right now, it’s perfectly understandable, so let’s clear the air. Most dentists have temporarily placed a hold on providing cosmetic, preventive and certain types of restorative care. However, because they understand the immediacy of dental emergencies, many are available for treatment in these situations. Thus, when a problem strikes, a local dentist should be the first person you turn to for help.
Why Visiting the ER Can Become Problematic
If you’ve been watching national and local news broadcasts, you’re probably aware of the pleas that medical professionals are making for ventilators and increased staffing to accommodate the influx of patients needing treatment for COVID-19. Emergency rooms are especially being affected, as more people are filing in seeking to be tested for the virus and to receive medical attention.
If you head there for a dental emergency, you could make an already tense situation worse. Here are some specific reasons to avoid the ER, if possible:
- Dentists are better suited for treating dental emergencies.
- Emergency rooms are already crowded, and hospital staff are being stretched thin.
- You run the risk of contracting COVID-19 or, if you’re a carrier, transmitting it to others.
When You Should Make an Exception
There are two types of dental emergencies that are even more immediate than others. Thus, you should head to the ER right away to seek treatment.
Here are the two instances when a hospital visit is necessary:
- Profuse Oral Bleeding – For oral bleeding, the typical remedy is to gently apply a cotton gauze to the injured area until a clot forms. If the bleeding persists for more than 10 minutes, then there could be life-threatening repercussions. Thus, you should immediately head to the ER for treatment.
- Broken Jaw – A broken jaw can affect more than just your occlusion (bite). It could possibly cause an obstruction to your breathing. Thus, if you suspect yours is broken, you should carefully tie a soft piece of cloth around your head to immobilize your jaw and head to the ER.
Once the initial threat has been addressed, your emergency dentist can provide the remaining care you need to fully recover. No matter what type of dental emergency you encounter, it’s good to know that a local dentist is ready and available to provide the expert care you need.
About the Author
Dr. David Earnest is a graduate of the University of Texas. Although he has placed many of his normal services on hold to help slow the spread of COVID-19, he and his staff will be there for you in the event of a dental emergency. Dr. Earnest practices at Comal Dental, and he can be reached for more information through his website.