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

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Many people will have a dental emergency at some point, sometimes as a result of underlying oral health conditions or injuries. Our Lethbridge dentists provide advice about how to know if your dental issue is an emergency, and what to do.

What is a dental emergency?

A dental emergency is any issue with your teeth, mouth, or gums that needs immediate dental care. Particular examples of this 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.

A dentist may be able to replace a knocked-out tooth within an hour of the incident if it is in good enough condition. Within this time frame, the tooth's chances of regaining rooting are higher. After two hours, the likelihood dramatically decreases, necessitating the consideration of alternative measures.

Severe Toothache

Apply ice to the area first and call your dentist right away if you have a toothache that won't go away with over-the-counter pain relievers because this is a dental emergency.

Toothaches can indicate potential major dental issues, and so it is important to take them seriously.

Lost Filling

A missing filling is also dangerous because it exposes the interior of your tooth and weakens its structure. It is critical to see a dentist as soon as possible to have the filling replaced. You can protect the area until you can see the dentist by temporarily replacing the filling with a softened piece of sugarless gum.

Object Lodged Between Teeth

Objects becoming lodged between the teeth can pose a hazard and require immediate attention from your dentist. If you are unable to remove the object with floss, do not use a sharp object to remove it as this may push it deeper between your teeth - or injure your gums.

Bitten Tongue or Lip

If you have persistent bleeding after biting your tongue or lip, you should go to an emergency dental clinic. In the meantime, press a clean cloth against the bleeding area of the mouth. Apply an ice pack to the affected area to reduce swelling, and seek emergency dental care.

Dental Abscess

A dental abscess is a pus-filled collection that develops inside the gums or teeth. Usually, a bacterial infection within the tooth's soft pulp or the root causes this extremely painful condition. They may be brought on by an untreated cavity, severe gum disease, or even 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. 

Are you experiencing a dental emergency? Our Lethbridge dentists will make every effort to see you as soon as possible and can often offer same-day appointments.

Looking for a new, healthy smile that you love? Let's talk about your options!

All services provided by general dentists: Dr. Ian Miller, Dr. Noreen Richter, Dr. Richard Boehme, Dr. Baldip Sihota

(403) 329-8180