Do You Have a Dental Emergency? The Chapel Hill Emergency Dentist Explains How You Can Tell

by Dr. Diane Hourigan | Date Published: 2018-07-03

Most of us have experienced a dental emergency at some point in our lives, and they all tend to have one thing in common; they happen when you least expect it and can turn your world upside down until you get help.

Chapel Hill emergency dentist Dr. Diane Hourigan has provided many patients with the care they need to get back to their lives. If she’s learned anything, it’s that emergencies come in many different shapes and sizes, and there’s no rule of thumb for determining where your emergency lies on the scale of mild to critical.

The last thing we want is for you to spend time worrying about whether or not you have a “true” emergency; always call us first if you are in doubt! We don’t mind taking your call and want to make sure you get the appropriate attention.

In general, here are some common emergencies and how they should be addressed:

Critical Emergencies

These are emergencies for which you need to drop everything and get to your dentist as soon as possible.

  • Knocked-out tooth – We have a window of two to three hours in which the tooth may be successfully reinserted. Keep the tooth’s root moist in milk, water, or saliva, and call your Chapel Hill emergency dentist right away.
  • Severe pain that prevents you from functioning – Not only do we need to identify the source of your pain, but we also need to provide you with relief as quickly as possible. 

Moderate Emergencies

These are emergencies that need to be dealt with as soon as possible, but you may not need to drop everything to get to our office.

  • A lost crown or filling needs to be addressed to protect the tooth from further damage.
  • A mild toothache is uncomfortable, but you may be able to find temporary relief with over-the-counter pain medications if you can’t get in to see us right away.

Mild Emergency

A chipped tooth is unattractive and mars your smile, but you can probably wait for a few days if you can’t get in to see us sooner.

Please Call So We Can Help

These are just guidelines, and we encourage you to call our office anytime you have a concern. The most important thing for you to know is that we are here for you when you need us!