While it’s still possible to receive treatment for dental emergencies during COVID-19, it’s best to prevent them altogether. Find out what a dental emergency is, how you can prevent common dental emergencies at home and what to do if you need urgent dental care.
What is a dental emergency?
Any annoying dental condition can feel like a dental emergency when you’re experiencing it. But according to the American Dental Association (ADA), dental emergencies require immediate treatment and are potentially life threatening. They might include uncontrolled tissue bleeding, severe pain, or major infection.1
Non-emergency dental care, such as preventive cleanings, X-rays and treatment of cavities that aren’t painful are still important. However, at this time, these sorts of procedures should be rescheduled for a later date.
How to prevent common dental emergencies
You can help prevent tooth and gum disease by practicing good oral hygiene at home, including:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Cleaning between your teeth daily
- Eating a healthy diet that limits sugary beverages and snacks
- Seeing a dentist regularly for prevention and treatment of oral disease
- Avoiding chewing on anything that could cause your teeth to crack, such as ice, hard candy, or popcorn kernels
- Using scissors, never your teeth, to cut things
- Using a seatbelt when driving or riding in a car
What to do if you have a dental emergency during COVID-19
Some dental emergencies can’t be avoided. When you have a dental emergency, it’s important to visit the dentist as soon as possible. The same is true during the pandemic. If you experience a dental emergency during COVID-19, here’s what you should do:
- Don’t go to the ER (if you can help it) - Under normal circumstances, you should visit your dentist or the emergency room when you have a dental emergency. Now, it’s especially important to keep hospital beds free for COVID-19 patients
- Contact your dentist - Your dentist can help you determine whether your condition is an emergency that requires immediate care. If so, he or she will schedule an appointment with you or refer you to a different dentist if their office is closed. Depending on your emergency, your dentist may be able to see you virtually through a teledentistry consultation
- Exercise precautions - Even during your dentist appointment, there are things you can do to minimize the spread of coronavirus and keep you and your dentist safe. Wash your hands regularly, wear a face mask, and let your dentist know if you’ve experienced any coronavirus symptoms or if you’ve been in contact with anyone who’s tested positive for the virus
Now more than ever, it’s important to prevent serious dental emergencies in order to curb the spread of coronavirus and keep yourself healthy. Fortunately, many dental emergencies can be avoided if you practice proper oral hygiene and take some simple precautions.
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Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice. This is not dental care advice and should not be substituted for regular consultation with your dentist. If you have any concerns about your dental health, please contact your dentist's office.