How to Manage Dental Emergencies during COVID-19

4 min read

Dental injuries and diseases can cause pain and potential medical complications that can interfere with your quality of life. If left untreated, dental emergencies can worsen and threaten your overall well-being. 

While quick and appropriate treatment can save an injured tooth or prevent the spread of infection, COVID-19 has changed the way patients access dental care. Understanding how to handle a dental emergency during COVID-19 can help you do what’s necessary to ensure the best possible outcomes while working within the temporary change in the way dental services are delivered.

Your normal access to dental services changed in March when the CDC recommended that dentists postpone elective procedures, surgeries, and non-urgent dental services. In keeping with CDC guidelines, the seven locations of SEDA Dental in southern Florida are limiting dental services to emergency and essential dental care. Our team of emergency dentistry specialists provides expert care for dental conditions including chipped or broken teeth, tooth loss, and infections, should you experience one of these issues during COVID-19.

The staff of SEDA Dental is committed to protecting your oral health while also putting your health and safety first. Find out how to handle a dental emergency during COVID-19.

What is a dental emergency? 

A dental emergency includes situations that are life-threatening, causing intense pain, or putting you at risk for medical complications. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you contact your dentist for guidance regarding the following types of dental emergencies:

  • Pain in your tooth, teeth, or jawbone 
  • Knocked-out or broken tooth
  • Constant bleeding that you can’t stop
  • Swelling of your gums, with or without pain
  • Any painful swelling in or around your mouth
  • Denture adjustment if you’re receiving cancer treatment
  • Post-surgical treatment for stitch removal or dressing change
  • Adjustment of orthodontic wires causing pain in your cheek or gum

The ADA recommends that you wait until normal dental services resume to schedule routine cleanings, X-rays, orthodontic visits, cosmetic procedures, and cavity treatments or tooth removal for teeth that don’t hurt. 

How will COVID-19 affect my dental emergency?

If you’re experiencing a dental emergency, or are unsure if your condition requires emergency dental treatment, call your local SEDA office as soon as possible. Our dedicated team of emergency dental specialists is available to consult with you about your condition. 

Depending on your condition, your dentist may use our telehealth portal to determine the appropriate course of treatment for your issue. This allows your dentist to perform an examination and prescribe medication without an in-office visit. 

If your condition requires an in-office emergency visit, our staff ensures that you’re treated with appropriate COVID-19 safety protocols. To protect our staff and other patients, you’ll undergo screening for potential COVID-19 symptoms before receiving treatment.

What can I do if I can’t get immediate treatment?

Depending on the type of dental emergency you’re experiencing, you may be able to help your condition with simple dental first-aid until you can reach your dentist. Call 911 if you experience difficulty breathing, uncontrolled breathing, or a potential spinal or head injury as the result of the incident associated with your dental emergency.

If your tooth is knocked out due to an accident, handle the tooth by the chewing surface, not the root. Gently rinse the tooth in clean water or milk and place it back into its empty socket. Leave it in place until your dentist advises your next steps. If you can’t put it back into the socket, store the loose tooth in milk or saltwater.

For a toothache, wash your mouth with warm saltwater. Take over-the-counter pain medication to help relieve pain and swelling. You can also treat pain and swelling by placing cold packs or ice cubes inside your mouth over the injured tooth or outside on the cheeks or lips.

A broken or fractured jaw usually results in bruising and swelling. You may also have misaligned teeth and be unable to use your jaw properly. A cold compress can reduce swelling. Stabilize your jaw by wrapping a bandage made from a scarf or necktie beneath your jaw and tying it on top of your head until you get treatment. 

The SEDA Dental team is here for you throughout the COVID-19 restrictions. If you experience a dental emergency, call one of our convenient offices in Jupiter, Boynton Beach, Pompano Beach, Delray Beach, Boca Raton, Pinecrest, or North Miami Beach to discuss your condition.

Schedule your smile consultation at no cost today!

Includes Free X-rays and evaluation