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

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

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

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.

For teeth that have been knocked out, a dentist may be able to put the tooth back in place within approximately an hour of the incident. 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, 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 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 collection of pus that forms inside the teeth or gums. This excruciatingly painful condition is usually caused by a bacterial infection, which occurs within the tooth's soft pulp or root. They can be caused by an untreated cavity, severe gum disease, or 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. 

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

Nervous about visiting the dentist? We can help.

Our dentists can take the stress out of your next appointment with a range of sleep and sedation dentistry options.

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