Do I need to see an emergency dentist for my loose tooth?

I’m on vacation and one of my teeth has come loose. Do I need to see an emergency dentist now or can it wait a couple of weeks until I get back home?



Dear Bill,

It’s tough to say without knowing the extent of the damage. If you’ve been catching punches with your face, you may have injured it enough to need to see an emergency dentist. Periodontal disease can also cause loose teeth that require treatment soon, but generally, that would not be considered an emergency. Your symptoms could have also been brought on by clenching, biting something hard or even sinus pressure. The list of possible causes for your predicament is endless.

If your wiggly tooth is mild and was brought on by a minor event, there’s a chance it will heal up on its own. The ligaments that hold your tooth in place might be irritated or strained and babying the tooth will give them a chance to recover naturally. If that’s the case, you can monitor it, not use it for eating, and use warm compresses (like a wet washcloth or heating pad) and take an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen to help it heal. If the tooth hurts, is seriously loose, or looks like it’s doing The Limbo or the Twist, it’s worth your time to get into an emergency dentist to have it stabilized and have the damage properly assessed. Ignoring those symptoms or trying a wait-and-see approach, could result in further damaging the tooth and possibly losing it.

Any time you’re in doubt whether to see an emergency dentist or not, it’s usually best to schedule an appointment. These things tend to snowball- if you put it off, the problem gets bigger and requires more treatment than it otherwise would have. So, yes, I would recommend that you see a local dentist to have your tooth checked out, but should you decide to wait until you get home, I would hold off on entering any strong-man competitions that require you to pull cars with your teeth.

This blog is sponsored by Elgin emergency dentist, Dr. Sirin.

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