What is considered a dental emergency?
In many cases of dental injuries or accidents, it’s an apparent dental emergency that requires immediate assistance. However, this is not the case for all dental emergencies. Knowing what classifies an incident as an emergency can help you seek the proper care at the right time.
The most common dental emergencies include those where your teeth have been damaged by chipping, cracking or being knocked out. Other common dental emergencies that require immediate attention include:
Pain is never normal, especially when it comes to your teeth. Instead, it can indicate a more severe issue, such as an infection or decay. If tooth pain is accompanied by swelling, it’s essential to seek dental care immediately.
Loose tooth or teeth
As an adult, your permanent teeth should never come out independently. Therefore, see us immediately if you have a loose tooth or teeth from a fall or injury. This is to prevent any further damage or complete tooth loss.
Lost prosthetic or orthodontic device
If you have a dental prosthetic or an orthodontic appliance and it is damaged due to injury or an accident, seek emergency dental care. These dental appliances are essential to protecting your teeth and should not be left unattended.
Gum bleeding or abscess
Bleeding gums or abscesses on the gums can be a sign of infection and, if left untreated, can infect the surrounding tissue, teeth and bone. Contact our emergency line as soon as possible to arrange an emergency dental appointment, and we can assess the severity of the situation.
What procedure should I follow in an emergency?
First and foremost, don’t panic. It can be stressful and often painful to go through a dental emergency, but remember that there are always options, and our team is ready to assist you. How you react to a situation will largely depend on what happened, so ensure to follow these guidelines while you wait for your appointment:
Lost tooth or prosthetic
If you have had a natural tooth knocked out or lost a crown, attempt to find it, clean it with water and place it in a ziplock bag for safekeeping to bring with you to your appointment. Use gauze to cover the extraction site if there is bleeding, and avoid taking painkillers like aspirin. If you have lost a filling, you can use sugarless gum to fill the area in the meantime.
Broken orthodontic appliance
If your metal braces are damaged and wires are sticking out, attempt to use the rubber end of a pencil to push it back into place gently. Alternatively, cover the end with cotton wool or gauze to avoid hurting the inside of your mouth. With damaged removable appliances, aim to see us as soon as possible to create a new pair.
Infection or abscess
These should be seen to right away, but in the meantime, you can rinse your mouth with salt water and avoid touching the infected areas.
How to avoid dental emergencies
You can’t always control when things happen, especially accidents, but there are some precautions you can take to avoid causing damage to your teeth.
Watch what you eat
You should continuously monitor your diet, even more so if you have a dental prosthetic or orthodontic appliance. Our teeth are strong but can become weak when we consume too many sugary foods and drinks. At the same time, biting down on hard foods and objects can cause our teeth to chip, crack or break. Never use your teeth to open bottles, lids or other objects, as this can have the same result.
Protect your teeth with a mouthguard
If you play a sport or do an activity prone to causing facial injuries, ensure that you invest in a mouthguard to protect your teeth. These absorb the impact of falls and hits so that your teeth don’t get damaged while you play.
Practice dental hygiene
You can never go wrong with an optimal dental hygiene routine. You can effectively prevent dental emergencies by regularly brushing, flossing, and maintaining your dental visits.