At some point in their lives, many people will have a dental emergency - sometimes as a result of underlying oral health injuries or conditions. Our dentists in Chilliwack offer some advice about how to know if your dental issue is an emergency, and what to do.
What is a dental emergency?
Any issue with your mouth, gums or teeth that needs urgent dental treatment is a dental emergency. Specifically, this may include:
Broken, Chipped, or Knocked Out Tooth
While a chipped or broken tooth can usually be repaired, it will need urgent dental care. The dentist might be able to repair the chip or break with a filling, whereas more serious fractures might need a root canal or crown.
For knocked out teeth, a dentist may be able to place the tooth back in its socket within about an hour of the incident. Within this time frame, the tooth has a better chance of taking root again. After the two-hour mark, these chances significantly decrease, and alternative measures will need to be considered.
If you are suffering from a toothache that cannot be managed with over-the-counter pain medication, first apply ice to the affected area and contact your dentist as soon as possible, since this is considered a dental emergency.
Toothaches can point to major dental issues, so it's important to take them seriously.
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 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.