How to Know if You are Having a Dental Emergency or Not

While we try our best to avoid it, dental emergencies happen occasionally. But what exactly is a dental emergency? Our Vancouver dentists discuss the types of urgent situations and how to know if you are experiencing a dental emergency.

What are the different types of dental emergencies?

Typically any sudden situation involving your teeth is considered a dental emergency, but here are some of the most commonly seen issues:

Knocked out or damaged teeth.

If you have a broken tooth then you should seek dental care immediately. 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 retaking root within this time frame. After the two-hour mark, the chances decrease significantly, and alternative measures will have to be considered.

Toothache that can't be relieved.

Most toothaches should be easily managed with pain medication but if yours is not getting better then you should, first, apply ice to the area and contact your dentist as soon as possible, as this is considered a dental emergency.

Toothaches can indicate potential major dental issues, and so it is important to take them seriously.

Lost or misplaced filling.

A lost filling is also serious as it exposes the interior of your tooth, weakening its structure. This makes it very important to contact your dentist to have it repaired quickly. You can protect the area until you get to the dentist by replacing the filling temporarily with a softened piece of sugarless gum.

An object stuck between your 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 that is bleeding.

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.

An infection or dental abscess.

When you have a buildup of pus within the teeth or gums, this is referred to as a dental abscess. This condition is extremely painful and usually is caused by an 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 usually needs surgery to drain the infection and treat it properly. Treatment for dental abscesses can involve root canal surgery. 

Are you in need of emergency dental care? Our Vancouver dentists will try to see you as soon as possible.

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