April 12, 2020
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has turned the world upside-down, but the other challenges of life haven’t stopped occurring. For example, dental emergencies are still happening. As a matter of fact, nearly 20% of Americans (around 70 million people) will have some form of dental emergency this year. Just in case it happens to you during the COVID-19 crisis, you need to know how to effectively respond. Read on to find out why the person to turn to in these situations is your emergency dentist in Richardson, and not the ER.
Your Dentist is Here for You
As part of the strategy to slow the spread of COVID-19, most dentists have temporarily placed preventive, cosmetic and certain forms of restorative care on hold. However, they understand the immediacy of dental emergencies. Thus, many are available to provide the necessary care in these situations.
The first step to receiving help, though, is to have an understanding of what are considered to be the more acute scenarios. Here are some guidelines issued by the American Dental Association (ADA):
- Biopsy of abnormal tissue
- Severe dental pain from pulpal inflammation
- Post-operative osteitis (also referred to as dry socket)
- Dental trauma with avulsion/luxation (tooth dislodgement)
- Tooth fracture resulting in pain or causing soft tissue trauma
- Dental treatment required before receiving critical medical procedures
- Abscess or localized bacterial infection resulting in pain and swelling
- Pericoronitis (gum tissue inflammation around a partially erupted molar)
- Final crown/bridge cementation if a temporary restoration is lost, broken or causing gingival (gum) irritation
Why the ER Shouldn’t be Your First Choice
If there is one sector of the workforce really feeling the brunt of the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s hospital staff. With emergency rooms around the country being flooded with potentially infected patients, showing up to seek treatment for a typical dental emergency could only make matters worse.
For starters, there is already a traffic jam, so you’re likely to have a longer-than-normal wait. Furthermore, by visiting a cramped ER, you run the risk of being infected with COVID-19 or unknowingly infecting others.
The Exceptions to the Rule
There are two types of dental emergencies that pose a more immediate threat to your overall health: profuse oral bleeding or a suspected broken jaw. The following explains why it’s best to head to the ER in these situations:
- 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, after 10 minutes, the bleeding persists, then you should immediately head to the ER, as continued blood loss can eventually become life-threatening.
- Broken Jaw – A broken jaw can affect more than just your occlusion (bite). It could possibly inhibit your breathing. Thus, it’s a more time-sensitive matter than most other dental emergencies.
After the initial threat has been addressed, your dentist can provide the additional care you need to fully recover.
With the COVID-19 outbreak affecting millions of American lives, it’s comforting to know that if you’re facing a dental emergency, a local dentist is ready and willing to help you get your life back on track.
About the Author
Dr. Ellis Shwarts is a graduate of the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. He is available to treat dental emergencies, even during the COVID-19 crisis, at Shwarts Family Dentistry, and he can be reached for more information through his website.
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