What is considered a dental emergency?

A dental emergency can be both emotionally and physically upsetting. In this post, our Ottawa dentists explain what constitutes a dental emergency and what to do if one occurs.

What is a dental emergency?

A dental emergency is defined as any dental problem that necessitates immediate attention from your dentist. Many of us will have a dental emergency at some point in our lives, whether it is due to a sports injury, a chipped tooth, a severe toothache, or something else.

Here are some common dental emergencies – and what you can do if one of these scenarios happens to you.

Severe Toothache

Severe toothaches can strike suddenly or gradually, causing sharp or throbbing pain. If you have a severe toothache that you cannot treat with over-the-counter pain relievers (such as ibuprofen), you have a dental emergency.

Apply ice to your jaw, and go to your dentist’s office as soon as you can.

Object Lodged Between Teeth

Normally, dental floss would be the tool of choice for removing objects from between your teeth, but if this does not work, your dentist must remove it. If you use a sharp object to try to dislodge it, you risk injuring your gums or pushing it deeper between your teeth.

Knocked Out Teeth

Your dentist may be able to put your knocked-out tooth back in place if you get to the dentist’s office within an hour.

Locate your tooth, rinse it with water (no soap or chemicals), and replace it in the socket. If you are unable to insert it into the socket, place it in your cheek or in a container of milk.

A lost tooth is considered an urgent dental emergency, so get to your dentist’s office right away.

Lost Crowns or Fillings

If you lose a crown or filling, the tooth structure may be weakened as a result of the tooth’s interior becoming exposed. It can also be quite painful and sensitive. That’s why a missing filling is a dental emergency, and your dentist should repair it as soon as possible so that it can be replaced.

Broken or Chipped Teeth

In many cases, chipped or broken teeth can be repaired and saved. A small fracture can usually be repaired with a filling, while larger breaks require a crown or root canal. If you have a broken or chipped tooth, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to have it repaired.

Lacerations to Lip or Tongue

A dental emergency occurs when an injury to the inside of your mouth causes a laceration to your lip or tongue. To stop the bleeding, use a clean cloth. Apply a cold ice pack to the affected area and seek treatment as soon as possible.

Dental emergencies are sometimes recognizable right away, and sometimes not. Do not hesitate to call our office if you have any questions. Our staff can screen you and provide advice on whether your issue is urgent.

Do you think you may have a dental emergency? Contact our Ottawa dentists right away. We can make room in our schedule to see you as soon as possible.

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