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

Regardless of your dental hygiene habits, many people will have a dental emergency at some point. But how can you tell if your situation is an emergency? Our Oakville dentists explain.

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

If you have broken or chipped a tooth, it can often be repaired but may 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.

If a tooth has been knocked out, if you get to your dentist quickly enough, it may be able to be reattached by your dentist. It is sometimes possible if the knocked-out tooth to be reattached within about an hour of the incident because the tooth has a better chance of taking root again within this time frame. After the two-hour mark, the chances decrease significantly, and alternative measures will 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

If a filling detached from your tooth, it can leave the interior of the tooth exposed which will weaken its structure. If this happens, get in touch with your dentist as soon as you can. It is also important to protect your tooth while you wait for your dental appointment by replacing the filling with a temporary material such as a softened piece of sugar-free 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.

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. 

Have you experienced trauma or severe tooth decay leading to a dental emergency? Contact our Oakville dentists today to get treatment.

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