Dental emergencies resulting from underlying oral health issues or injuries happen to many of us at some point. Our Chilliwack dentists are here to provide tips on how to tell if your dental issue is an emergency, and what to do.
Is it a dental emergency?
If you or someone you are with is having a problem with their teeth, mouth or gums that requires urgent dental treatment then it is a dental emergency.
Specifically, dental emergencies can include:
Broken, Chipped, or Knocked Out Tooth
Often a broken or chipped tooth can be repaired, but it 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 to have a crown placed or root canal therapy.
Knocked out teeth may be able to be put back in place but you will need to see a dentist within about an hour of the tooth coming out. By getting to your dentist right away, your tooth has a better chance of taking root again. Once you move beyond the two-hour mark, the chances that your tooth can be saved decrease significantly, and alternative measures will have to be considered.
If you experience a toothache that you can't seem to manage with over-the-counter pain medication, apply ice to the area right away and contact your dentist as soon as possible, as this is considered a dental emergency.
Toothaches can be an indication of major dental issues, so it is important not to ignore them.
A lost filling is also serious as it exposes the interior of your tooth, weakening its structure. It’s important to see a dentist to have the filling replaced as soon as possible. You can protect the area until you get to the dentist by replacing the filling temporarily 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 are experiencing bleeding that can’t be quelled after biting your tongue or lip, you need to visit an emergency dental clinic. In the meantime, apply a clean cloth to the part of the mouth that’s bleeding and press down. Use an ice pack to reduce swelling, and look for urgent dental care.
A dental abscess is a buildup of pus which forms inside the teeth or gums. This is a very painful condition that usually develops due to a bacterial infection, often within the soft pulp of the tooth or the root of the tooth. A dental abscess could 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 therapy.