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What is considered a dental emergency?

A dental emergency can be an emotional – and physically uncomfortable – experience. In this post, our Burnaby dentists list the facts of what’s considered a dental emergency, and explain what to do if one happens to you.

What is a dental emergency?

A dental emergency is any dental issue that requires immediate attention from your dentist. Many of us will experience a dental emergency at some point in our lives, whether from a sports injury, chipped tooth, 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

A severe toothache can cause sharp or throbbing pain and can develop suddenly or gradually. You have a dental emergency if you have a severe toothache that you can't treat with over-the-counter pain relievers (like ibuprofen).

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

Object Lodged Between Teeth

Usually, dental floss would be the tool of choice to remove objects from between your teeth, but if this does not work it must be removed by your dentist. Do not use a sharp object to try and dislodge it, as you could injure your gums or push it further between your teeth.

Knocked Out Teeth

If you visit your dentist within an hour of having your tooth knocked out, they might be able to replace it.

Try to find your tooth, clean it with water rather than soap or chemicals, and replace it in the socket. Hold it on your cheek or put it in a milk container if you are unable to insert it into the socket.

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 instances, teeth that have been chipped or broken can be saved. A filling can typically fix a small fracture, while a crown or root canal can fix larger fractures. Make an appointment with your dentist right away to have a tooth that has been broken or chipped fixed.

Lacerations to the Lip or Tongue

A dental emergency exists if an injury to the inside of your mouth causes a laceration on your lip or tongue. You can stop the bleeding by applying a fresh cloth. Apply an ice pack to the area if there is any swelling, and get help right away.

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 Burnaby dentists right away. We can make room in our schedule to see you in as soon as possible.

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