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How to Know if You are Having a Dental Emergency or Not

Posted in General

Many people will experience a dental emergency at some point in time. Sometimes, this is as a result of underlying oral health conditions or injuries. Here, our Burnaby dentists provide you with advice about how to know if your dental issue is an emergency and what to do if you are experiencing one.

What is a dental emergency?

Any issue with your mouth, gums or teeth which require urgent dental treatment is a dental emergency. In particular, 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 which have been knocked out, a dentist may be able to to put your tooth back into place within an hour of the incident. Your tooth has a better chance of taking root within that time frame. After the two-hour mark, the chances of your tooth being able to be replaced are significantly reduced and alternative measures may have to be considered. 

Severe Toothache

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.

Lost Filling

A lost filling is also quite serious since it exposes the interior of your tooth and weakened its structure. It's critical that you see a dentist and have a filling replaced as soon as possible. You can protect an area with a missing filling by replacing it 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.

Dental Abscess

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.

The symptoms of a dental abscess can include anything from swollen glands to a bad taste in your mouth, a fever, pus or blood. An abscessed tooth will generally need a surgical procedure to drain the infection and treat it properly. Treatment for dental abscesses can involve root canal surgery. 

Are you experiencing a dental emergency? Our Burnaby dental team will make every effort to see you as quickly as possible and will often be able to offer appointments on the same day.

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