What is a dental emergency?
A dental emergency is any dental issue that requires immediate attention from your dentist. Many people will experience at least one dental emergency in their lives, usually from traumatic impact to the mouth (i.e., during sports) or tooth decay.
Below are some common forms of dental emergency and what you should do if you are experiencing each one.
Severe toothaches can come on suddenly or gradually, and can result in sharp or throbbing pain. If you have a severe toothache you are unable to manage with over-the-counter pain medication (such as ibuprofen), you’ve got a dental emergency.
Apply ice to your jaw, and go to your dentist’s office as soon as you can.
Object Lodged Between Teeth
Usually, dental floss would be the tool of choice to remove objects from between your teeth, but if this does not work it must be removed by your dentist. Do not use a sharp object to try and dislodge it, as you could injure your gums or push it further between your teeth.
Knocked Out Teeth
Your dentist may be able to put your knocked out tooth back in place if you get to the dentist’s office within an hour.
Try and locate your tooth, rinse it off with water (do not use soap or chemicals), and put it back in the socket. If you are unable to place it in the socket, hold it in your cheek or place it in a container of milk.
A lost tooth is considered an urgent dental emergency, so get to your dentist’s office right away.
Lost Crowns or Fillings
If you lose a crown or filling, the tooth structure may be weakened as a result of the tooth’s interior becoming exposed. It can also be quite painful and sensitive. That’s why a missing filling is a dental emergency, and your dentist should repair it as soon as possible so that it can be replaced.
Broken or Chipped Teeth
Chipped or broken teeth can sometimes be an emergency; small fractures usually only need a filling while more substantial breaks might need an emergency root canal. If you have broken or chipped a tooth, make an appointment with your dentist to have it repaired as soon as you can.
Lacerations to Lip or Tongue
An injury to the mouth that results in laceration of the lip or tongue constitutes an emergency. Use a clean cloth to quell bleeding and apply cold ice to any swelling.
Dental emergencies are sometimes recognizable right away, and sometimes not. Do not hesitate to call our office if you have any questions. Our staff can screen you and provide advice on whether your issue is urgent.