Coronavirus Pandemic: How to Handle an Emergency Dental Appointment

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Playing How to Know If Your Tooth Pain Is an Emergency

Dentist Dr. Sako H. Karakozian addresses three types of oral pain to assess if you need immediate attention or if your issue can wait. He shares that if you are feeling anything out of the ordinary, he would typically recommend calling your dentist, but that might not be possible right now while under quarantine. 

Dr. Sako stresses that urgent cares and emergency rooms are not equipped to handle dental emergencies. Instead of potentially wasting time and resources, he always suggests calling a dentist first. 

He breaks down tooth issues into three different types of problems: sensitivity, pain and swelling.  


If you're experiencing pain on one tooth it might be an indication of a cavity that is forming or getting bigger. He suggest calling your dentist so they can assess if it's worth treating sooner rather than later. 

If you're experiencing sensitivity in multiple teeth this could be caused by clenching or grinding. You might also have jaw soreness, headaches, neck strain, and even pain in a tooth. He recommends trying some destressing techniques, during this strange time. Try to destress before bed. 


Did you bite into something and now your tooth is throbbing? He says to give it a day to see if the pain passes, it's possible that you might have just bruised your tooth. 

If the pain doesn't go away, or you chipped or broke your tooth, a filling came out, this is probably a reason to be seen sooner rather than later.

If the dentist cant see you for a couple of days, Dr. Sako suggests getting some temporary tooth-filling material at the drug store. He shares it might give you some temporary relief before you can be seen. 


If you're experiencing swelling on the side of your face or jaw, feeling feverish or have flu symptoms, this might indicate that you have an infection. He stresses this is an emergency and you should call your dentist or head to an emergency room. 

If you have a little bit of swelling in an area of your gum, or even have a pimple above your tooth, it could be an indication of a local infection. He shares if left untreated, this could get a lot worse. 

Dr. Sako shares that keeping up your regular oral-care routines are very important right now and to brush and floss twice a day.