What to do when dental emergencies happen
August 15th, 2022
Having a dental emergency such as an infection or injury to your teeth can sometimes become serious and should not be ignored. When experiencing a dental emergency it is important to have it dealt with in a timely manner as waiting too long can increase the risk of permanent damage or the treatment possibly becoming more expensive and extensive the longer you wait.
So how do you know if you are experiencing an emergency and what should you do next? In general, if the issue could lead to further complications, it counts as a dental emergency.
Here are some common examples of dental emergencies:
Toothache/Infection: If you are having constant or severe pain in your mouth this is something that should be assessed as soon as possible as it may require antibiotics as well as pain relief medication. Also if you have any redness, swelling or a bump around the tooth or gums these are signs of an abscess and are very important to have it looked at right away as it could actually spread if ignored.
Knocked Out Tooth: If you have lost a permanent tooth the dentist may be able to save it if you can see a dentist right away. What you should do immediately is clean the tooth if needed with a gentle rinse in cool water; do not scrub it or use soap. Once clean, gently place the tooth back in its place (the socket) and hold it there with clean gauze or a washcloth. If this isn’t possible, or if there’s a chance that the tooth might be swallowed, put it in a container of cold milk to bring to the dentist.
Chipped/Broken Tooth or Lost Filling: If you have broken a small piece off of your tooth or filling the dentist may be able to fix it with a filling and for larger breaks, it may require a root canal and/or crown to fix it. Sometimes the break may be rough and uncomfortable so you can try to see your dentist as soon as they can get you in.
If you do not have a dentist or if your regular dentist is not able to see you, check and see if anyone in your city offers after-hours care. Here in Peterborough, the city provides an emergency on-call service that you can contact at 705-926-0320.