What is a dental emergency?
Issues with your teeth, mouth, or gums that require urgent dental treatment are considered dental emergencies. Dental emergencies 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 dental filling, whereas more serious breaks may need a crown or root canal.
If you have a tooth that has been knocked out, a dentist may be able to put the tooth back in place within approximately an hour of it coming out. Within this amount of time, the tooth has a better chance of taking root again. After the two-hour mark, the chances decrease significantly, and alternative measures will likely be necessary.
If you experience a toothache that over-the-counter pain medication can't help with, 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, so it is important to take them seriously.
Lost Dental Fillings
A lost filling is also serious because it exposes the interior of your tooth, causing a weakened 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.
Signs of an abscess can include a bad taste in your mouth, 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 will likely involve root canal surgery.