Many people will have a dental emergency at some point, sometimes as a result of underlying oral health conditions or injuries. Our Woodbridge dentists provide advice about how to know if your dental issue is an emergency, and what to do.
What is a dental emergency?
Any problem with your teeth, mouth or gums that requires urgent dental treatment is 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 replace the tooth within an hour of the incident. Within this time frame, the tooth has a better chance of regaining root. After two hours, the chances are significantly reduced, and alternative measures must be considered.
If you have a toothache that you cannot relieve with over-the-counter pain relievers, apply ice to the affected 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.
A missing filling is also dangerous because it exposes the interior of your tooth and weakens its structure. It is critical to see a dentist as soon as possible to have the filling replaced. You can protect the area until you can see the dentist by temporarily replacing the filling with a softened piece of sugarless gum.
Object Lodged Between Teeth
Objects becoming lodged between the teeth can be dangerous and require immediate attention from your dentist. If you are unable to remove the object with floss, do not use a sharp object to remove it as this may push it further between your teeth - or injure your gums.
Bitten Tongue or Lip
If you have uncontrollable bleeding after biting your tongue or lip, you should go to an emergency dental clinic. Meanwhile, apply a clean cloth to the bleeding area of the mouth and press down. Apply an ice pack to reduce swelling and seek emergency dental care.
A dental abscess is a pus-filled pocket that forms inside the teeth or gums. This excruciatingly painful condition is usually caused by a bacterial infection, which occurs within the soft pulp of the tooth or the root of the tooth. They can be caused by an untreated cavity, severe gum disease, or even a chipped tooth.
Symptoms can include anything from a bad taste in your mouth to swollen glands, pain, pus or 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.