Most Common Dental Emergencies - Should You See an Emergency Dentist?
Medically reviewed by Dr Jerry Jesin

Most Common Dental Emergencies - Should You See an Emergency Dentist?

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There are times when it's fine to wait a few days to see a dental professional about some minor issue. At other times, you need to seek help from emergency dentists as quickly as possible. Factors like the level of pain, the severity of the damage, and the potential for infection or tooth loss help to determine if the problem is truly an emergency. Here are the more common situations that qualify as a true dental emergency. If one of them happens to you, it’s imperative to see an emergency dentist as quickly as possible.

Loose Teeth

If you are involved in any type of accident that involves a direct hit to the mouth, one of the first things you want to do is check your teeth. Specifically, you want to make sure the impact did not loosen any of them. Loose teeth may or may not settle back into the sockets properly. If they dont, then you are at a greater risk for developing a number of dental problems.

Emergency dentists know procedures that will help those teeth to settle back in position for any further harm takes place. Depending on how loose they happen to be, that includes wearing temporary braces to ease stress on each of the loosened teeth. Once the emergency dentist determines how severe the issue happens to be, it will be a simple process to settle on the best course of action.

Cracked Teeth

Assuming that impact to the mouth was strong enough, you could end up with one or more cracked teeth. While its true the teeth are still intact, they are considerably weaker thanks to the cracks. It wont take much to cause them to split and possibly break. Thats the last thing you need.

A professional who provides emergency dental care will know how to examine the cracked teeth and suggest the most practical solutions. Bonding agents and veneers are two possibilities. Some sort of temporary brace may also be necessary to alleviate stress on the tooth while the veneer or the bonding finish adhering to the tooth surface. The team at the Mississauga emergency dental clinic will provide instructions that will help you through the first few days after the emergency dental work is done.

Dislodged Teeth

Loose teeth are serious enough, but a tooth that is knocked out completely calls for immediate attention from emergency dentists. There is only a short window of time in which the tooth can be successfully returned to the socket. If you wait, that tooth may be lost permanently.

When you call the emergency dentist, expect to be provided with some suggestions on how to prepare the tooth for transport. For example, you may be asked if you can place it back into the socket. If not, placing the tooth in a small container with some warm salt water is a possibility. The goal is to protect the tooth and any tissue still connected to the tooth root from damage.

In the best case scenario, the tooth will still be viable by the time you reach the emergency dental team, expect some swelling for a day or two, but remember thats better than losing your tooth.

Chipped Teeth

You may not think of a chipped tooth as being an emergency. In fact, there are times when the chip is so minor that you can wait until regular business hours to seek help. The key here is pain. If the chip is larger and causing a significant amount of pain, that’s a sign you should seek emergency dental care now instead of waiting.

After the team at the Mississauga emergency dental clinic examines and cleans the chipped area, a crown is often the best solution. You may have to settle for a temporary crown while a permanent one is prepared. The goal is to protect the chipped area from exposure to hot or cold food and beverages, and to prevent any residue from collecting in that space. Ultimately, this action will ease the discomfort and prevent further damage.

Painful Swelling Under a Tooth

Infections around the tooth root are nothing to take lightly.  Thats especially true when the area is hot and one simple touch triggers a lot of pain. Those are both signs that the inflammation is due to an infection that could damage gum tissue and even begin to spread. Instead of hoping it will go away if you use mouthwash or salted water to swish around the gum, you need to call for emergency dental care immediately.

The team at the Mississauga emergency dental clinic will examine the swelling. Based on the findings, they may give you something to help kill the infection. In some cases, it may be practical to drain the fluid from the swelled area. In any case, that emergency visit will go a long way toward preventing the infection from doing any permanent damage to the tissue or the tooth root.

Loss of a Filling

If you should lose a small filling that does not expose any nerves, its probably okay to call the dentist, explain the situation, and arrange for an appointment in a few days. When the filling is larger and you are in pain, its time to see an emergency dentist.

The goal is to replace that larger filling before the exposure can cause damage to the nerves. Even a temporary filling will prevent the collection of bacteria in the hollow of the tooth and prevent pain every time you try to eat or drink anything. Emergency dentists can usually check the tooth quickly, do any cleaning that’s needed, and fill the space with a temporary filling. You can come back in a few days for the permanent replacement.

Damage to the Jaw

An accident that causes damage to your jaw is definitely cause for alarm. Seeking emergency dental care matters because you may not be aware of any damage that weakens the jaw and its ability to hold your teeth in position. The team at the Mississauga emergency dental clinic will take X-rays to make sure the teeth are still properly seated and determine if there are fractures or other issues that need to be addressed. Depending on the severity, the dental team may refer you to an oral surgeon.

Unusually Painful Toothache

A toothache doesnt necessarily call for calling emergency dentists, but severe pain that cannot be controlled using ice packs, clove oil rubs, and similar methods is a totally different thing. When nothing you do seems to ease the pain, something is definitely wrong.

Since you dont know whats causing the pain, there is no way to what other damage is being done. An emergency dentist will know what to look for and how to treat the underlying cause. Along with easing the pain, the treatment may prevent other dental problems from developing.

If in doubt, call an emergency dental clinic when something is wrong. Answers to a few simple questions will determine if you can wait until the next business day or if you need to come in right now.

Andrea Galick

Andrea Galick is an accomplished Dental Hygienist (RDH) with a passion for helping patients achieve optimal oral health. Andrea has built a reputation as a caring and skilled practitioner who puts her patients at ease and provides individualized care that meets their unique needs.