Many people will experience a dental emergency at some point, perhaps as a result of underlying injuries or health conditions. Our dentists in Winnipeg offer advice about how to know if your dental issue is an emergency, and what to do next.
What is a dental emergency?
Any issue with your mouth, gums or teeth that needs urgent dental treatment qualifies as a dental emergency. Specifically, this might include:
Broken, Chipped, or Knocked Out Tooth
While a chipped or fractured tooth can typically be repaired, it will require urgent dental care. Your dentist might be able to fix the chip or fracture with a filling. However, more serious breaks may need a root canal or crown.
A dentist may be able to replace a knocked-out tooth back in its place within about an hour of the incident. Within this time frame, the tooth has a better opportunity to take root again. After the two-hour mark, the chances of this drop significantly, and alternative measures will need to be considered.
If you experience a toothache you cannot manage with over-the-counter pain medication, 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.
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.