Almost everyone will encounter a dental emergency at some time in their lives for reasons such as an injury, or an underlying health condition. Here, our dentists in Winnipeg share how you can tell if your dental situation is an emergency, and what you should do.
What is Considered a Dental Emergency?
Any problem you are experiencing with your mouth, teeth, or gums that needs immediate dental care is considered a dental emergency. Specifically, this can include:
Broken, Chipped, or Knocked Out Tooth
A broken or chipped tooth can usually be repaired but will require urgent dental care. The dentist may be able to repair the fracture or chip with a filling, whereas more serious breaks may need a crown or root canal.
For teeth that have been knocked out, a dentist may be able to put the tooth back in place within approximately an hour of the incident. The tooth has a better chance of taking root again within this time frame. After the two-hour mark, the chances decrease significantly, and alternative measures will have to be considered.
If you are suffering from a toothache that you can't manage with over-the-counter pain medication, the first thing you should do is apply ice to the area and then call your dentist as quickly as you can, because it's considered a dental emergency.
Toothaches can be a sign of some serious dental problems, so it's essential to take them seriously.
A lost filling is also a serious situation because the interior of your tooth is left exposed, making its structure weak. You will need to see a dentist quickly in order to have the filling replaced. You can keep the tooth safe until your dental appointment by temporarily replacing the filling with a softened piece of sugarless gum.
Object Lodged Between Teeth
Objects getting lodged between the teeth can present a hazard and warrant urgent attention from your dentist. If you cannot dislodge the object with floss, do not use a sharp object to attempt to remove it yourself as this could push it further between your teeth - or injure your gums.
Bitten Tongue or Lip
If you have bitten your lip or tongue and you can't quell the bleeding you will need to go to an emergency dental clinic immediately. Meanwhile, place a clean cloth on the part of the mouth that’s bleeding and press down. You can also use an ice pack to reduce the swelling, while you are looking for urgent dental care.
A dental abscess is a buildup of pus that forms inside the teeth or gums. This very painful condition usually develops from a bacterial infection, often within the soft pulp of the tooth or the root of the tooth. They can be caused by a cavity that’s been left untreated, severe gum disease, or perhaps a chipped tooth.
Symptoms can include anything from a bad taste in your mouth to swollen glands, pain, pus, or a fever. An abscessed tooth will usually need surgery to drain the infection and treat it properly. Treatment for dental abscesses can involve root canal surgery.