Tips for Managing Dental Emergencies

It is said that dental issues can account for some of the worst possible feelings of intense and localized pain, coming in at a close second or third behind childbirth or kidney stones. Of course, the level of pain would depend largely on the condition and the pain threshold of the patient, but the point is that when dental emergencies arise they can be a traumatic experience if you're not prepared. So here are just a few tips that will ensure you have a plan of action in place should you chip (or lose) a tooth, experience oral pain, or come down with any number of conditions (infection, TMJ, or trigeminal neuralgia, for example) that require emergency attention.

The first thing you need to do is enter your dentist's number in the contact list of your phone (if you haven't done so already). This will save you the trouble of digging through a pile of business cards, hauling out the phone book, or doing an online search during an emergency, when you need to call your dental office immediately. Of course, you may also want to talk to your dentist ahead of time in order to secure recommendations for 24-hour offices or other emergency services in your area, since your particular dental practice may not offer round-the-clock care. In some cases your only option may be a hospital emergency room, but there might also be emergency dental care in your area for nights and weekends and you should have their information (phone and address) handy.
Next you'll want to determine the best way to deal with dental emergencies in an expedient manner, just like you might have a plan in place for such occurrences as a house fire, a natural disaster situation (earthquake, tornado, blizzard, etc.), or other medical emergencies. It's not like you're going to call an ambulance if you trip and knock out a tooth, but you'll certainly want to take hasty action to stop bleeding and potentially even save the tooth. It's always a good idea to keep cold compresses handy (such as a gel-type ice pack in the freezer) and having a supply of sterile gauze available is also smart (whether for dental or other medical emergencies).

And even if you have numbers on hand to call in case of a dental emergency, it's not a bad idea to have routes already mapped to help you find your local emergency room or after-hours dental service, since you don't want to get lost trying to find them in the dark when you're suffering from dental pain, infection, or injury of some sort. Of course, the other side of the preparedness coin comes in the form of hedging your bets. Knowing what services are available and having a plan in place to take advantage of them is only one part of the equation; you also need to consider the expense of these services, and it can be high.
For this reason it may be in your best interest to look into medical or dental insurance that covers this type of emergency. You can talk to your current health/dental insurance provider, seek quotes from other companies, or even look online for coverage (from sites like or short term health Securing the proper medical or dental plan will ensure that you are able to seek the care you need should emergency dental situations arise.

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