What are the most common dental emergencies, and which situations may call for an emergency dental visit? Our Edmonton dentists discuss emergency dental situations such as broken teeth and actions to take following the incident.
What is an emergency dental situation?
While many people will experience oral or dental pain at some point during their lives, not every dental situation should be deemed a dental emergency. In this post, we'll offer some tips for deciding whether you are experiencing a dental emergency and need to see your dentist.
First, ask yourself these questions:
- Am I bleeding from the mouth? This may indicate a dental emergency.
- Do I have any loose teeth? Once a person's adult teeth have emerged, they should never loosen. Even without pain, a loose tooth points to a serious issue.
- Am I feeling severe pain? Severe pain or bleeding are two classic signs of a dental emergency.
- Have I lost any teeth? Quick treatment for any lost or broken teeth can potentially save a tooth or prevent further oral health issues.
- Do I have an infection? A serious infection such as an abscess in the mouth may become life-threatening, and treatment is urgent. You may notice swelling in your mouth or on your face.
Generally, any dental problem that will need immediate attention from a dentist qualifies as a dental emergency. We'll cover some of these below.
Missing Dental Crown
A missing or broken dental crown leads to the tooth it covered being exposed, which means it will be susceptible to damage or infection. Book a dental emergency visit to have the crown replaced. Your dentist might be able to prevent the need for an extraction, root canal or other dental procedure.
Knocked Out Teeth
Whether you were playing sports or had an unexpected mishap, having a tooth knocked out can be a startling, likely painful experience. A dentist might be able to replace a knocked out adult tooth if you are able to get to our office within an hour.
This is because the tooth has a better chance of taking root in your jaw again within this timeframe. If you have this urgent dental emergency happen to you, get to your dentist's office right away.
Chipped or Broken Teeth
Typically, broken or chipped teeth can be saved, although they'll need emergency dental care. A small fracture can usually be repaired with a filling, and larger cracks or breaks will more likely need a dental crown or root canal.
Holding the tooth by its top, do not touch the root and make sure to rinse it carefully (don't scrub). Reinsert the tooth in the socket if possible. If not, place the tooth in a small container of milk, then go to your dentist quickly to increase the chances the tooth can be saved.
If you are unable to manage a severe toothache with over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen, you are dealing with a dental emergency. If the toothache is severe, put ice on your jaw, and get in touch with your dentist's office as soon as possible.
If you are experiencing bad jaw pain, or your jaw or mouth have suddenly become swollen for no apparent reason, go for emergency dental treatment right away, since you may have irritated lymph nodes, an infection or a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issue.
How can I tell if I need a dentist immediately?
Sometimes it can be a challenge to judge whether you need to see a dentist immediately or just within the next couple of days. Don't hesitate to call us about any issues you might be having with your mouth, since sometimes those that seem critical can wait for a day or so as long as you monitor them closely.
For example, if you've got a cracked, chipped or broken tooth that has left sharp fragments in its wake, these can cause trauma in your mouth and should be treated right away.
If your toothache worsens or you have swelling, a bad taste in your mouth or fever (symptoms of an abscess), the dentist will likely want to see you so they can provide emergency dental care.