Underlying oral health conditions or injuries may cause many people to have a dental emergency at some point. Our endodontists in Toronto offer 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 defined as any problem with your gums, mouth or teeth at needs urgent dental treatment. Specifically, this may include:
Broken, Chipped, or Knocked Out Tooth
While a chipped or broken tooth is a dental injury can usually be repaired, it will require urgent dental care. The dentist might be able to repair the chip or fracture with a filling. A crown may be needed for more serious breaks, or you may be referred to our office for a root canal.
For knocked out teeth, a dentist might be able to put the tooth back in place within about an hour of the incident. During this timeframe, the tooth has a better chance of taking root again. After the two-hour mark, the chances decrease 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.
Tooth trauma can lead to a fractured root. Sometimes, fractured roots may occur beneath the gum line and are discovered once infection develops in the pulp of the a tooth. In this case, a tooth extraction or root canal may need to be performed.
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.