If you have a regular dentist, chances are you visit that office twice a year at most for regular checkups and cleanings. If a problem develops with a tooth, in many cases it's not troublesome or urgent enough to seek immediate care, so you can schedule treatment at your leisure (within reason). Once in a while however, you might suddenly have a serious problem that could mean agonizing pain or permanent tooth loss -- only to find your dental office closed for the day or even for the weekend. Here are four painful reasons you'd better have a 24-hour dentist like Milan Simanek DDS standing by in your address book.
Everyone is familiar with the sitcom caricature of the toothache patient with the swollen mouth wrapped in a makeshift bandage, desperate to get relief wherever he can find it -- even if it means yanking the offending tooth right out his head. If you've ever experienced a toothache yourself, however, you know that there's nothing amusing or exaggerated about that image.
Toothaches are most usually caused by abscesses, bacterial infections underneath the gum line. An abscess at the base of a tooth root may fester slowly over months or years, but at some point it will put enough pressure on bone and nerve tissue to produce severe swelling and pain. The only solutions to this agony are extraction or emergency root canal surgery. For either remedy you need a skilled dentist who can spring into action early on a Sunday morning, at 3am on a Tuesday night, or whenever you need help.
2. Sports Mishaps
Do you or your family members play any kind of contact sport? If so, you'd better know how to contact a 24-hour dentist on short notice. A hockey puck, elbow, or foot to the mouth can knock out one or more teeth instantly. The good news is that knocked-out teeth can often be saved and re-implanted if immediate action is taken. The standard practice is to place the tooth in a glass of milk or simply push it back into the exposed socket to keep it moist, then rush to your dentist for emergency restoration.
Can you see the problem here? Most sporting events typically take place either at night, on the weekends, or both. Regular season high school football games, for instance, are always scheduled for Friday nights, with college games scheduled for Saturdays. With a dentist who can step in 7 days a week, including evenings, those knocked-out teeth are going to die, leaving no restoration alternative except for dentures, bridges or implants.
3. Personal Injuries
No matter how perfectly coordinated you or your loved ones may be, accidents happen. You can trip on a toy and fall on your face during a midnight trip to the bathroom, or slip and bang your tooth against that gutter you were cleaning on an otherwise uneventful Saturday. You might even get involved in an automobile accident that throws your mouth into the car dashboard during a weekend getaway. All of these injuries can easily occur "after hours," leaving you with a serious problem such as:
- A cracked or broken tooth that exposes a nerve, causing constant, intense pain
- A knocked-out tooth that requires immediate attention in order to be saved (as in the sports injury example above)
- One or more loose teeth that threaten to fall out
- A crooked or otherwise displaced tooth that needs corrective splinting
These situations all require immediate dental care, but since they can happen any time of day or night, any day of the week, you can't afford to wait for a traditional family dentist who keeps traditional office hours.
4. Foreign Matter
Sometimes you can experience a dental problem that poses no immediate threat to the teeth but is nevertheless so uncomfortable that you find yourself screaming for relief. A typical example is when you get a small piece of bone or other tiny object wedged between two teeth. You may find that brushing, flossing, toothpicks, or even a store-bought dental pick can do nothing to remove this bit of debris. Meanwhile, the pressure between the two teeth causes extraordinary discomfort. You're not in any danger, but you're going to go not-so-quietly crazy unless you can get dental help right away.
As you can see, keeping the contact information for a good 24-hour emergency dentist isn't over-preparation or paranoia -- it's just plain common sense. When trouble strikes, you won't want to browse the Web or flip through the phone book. Go ahead and get some references for trusted 12-hour practitioners in your area. You'll thank yourself later!