Why The Dentist May Make You Wait Before Dealing With Your Dental Emergency

Posted on: 23 August 2017

Sometimes the pain from a toothache becomes so unbearable there's no question in your mind it's a dental emergency. Maybe it's some other dental issue plaguing you. However, the dentist's office still schedules you for weeks out, rather than immediately. Is the dentist being unnecessarily cruel? Or, is there some other reason he or she cannot help you immediately?

It's Probably Not an Emergency

Many dental problems aren't actually emergencies. They can seem that way, but often, what you think of as an emergency is a common problem. If the dentist dropped everything to tend to people who call in with some pain, then he or she would never get any rest.

There are several common dental problems that can cause some very real, even excruciating pain. Many dental infections from cavities can cause more pain than people realize. Once the root becomes exposed, that pain can become explosive. Other issues may seem like emergencies as well, such as bleeding gums.

Understand that all dental problems can eventually turn into emergencies if you don't deal with them in a timely fashion. Because of that, you should certainly go through with setting up an appointment and following up with it. Just because the dentist won't see you immediately, doesn't mean you shouldn't see the dentist at all, even if the pain or problem subsides.

How to Tell If it's a True Dental Emergency

A true dental emergency is any problem that requires immediate action to save the tooth or your health. Good examples of dental emergencies include:

  • Mouth trauma from an accident
  • Dislodged, broken, cracked, or knocked out teeth
  • Physical injury caused by a damaged tooth

In many of these cases, you would probably do better to first seek medical attention at a hospital. These types of dental emergencies require immediate help.

What You Can Do While You Wait

If you call and the dentist office schedules you a week or more out, there are a few things you can do for the pain while you wait. The dentist's office may have some suggestions for you. In addition, you can try to rinse your mouth with warm water, or take over-the-counter NSAIDs for pain and swelling.

If you find the pain debilitating, there are emergency dentists out there that allow on-demand visits. If you have the means, you can seek one out. If your regular dentist doesn't think you have a dental emergency, you probably don't.

Do what you can to mitigate the pain. You can also call into your dentist's office occasional to see if a spot opened ahead of your scheduled appointment.