Any unexpected event can cause an unforeseen emergency and like any emergencies, dental emergencies need urgent care. Though it is important to see a dentist or any healthcare worker in case of an emergency, sometimes you may face an emergency on a holiday, on vacation, amid a lockdown or even in the middle of the night. So what can you do ??
What is considered a dental emergency?
Any dental condition which requires urgent care and leads to severe pain, risk of infection or even leads to life-threatening conditions, if not immediately attended. Dental emergencies include :
- Uncontrolled bleeding from teeth or gums
- Cellulitis- swelling of one/both sides of the face and/or neck regions rapidly progressing and caused by oral or dental infection. It might be potentially life-threatening as it may cause difficulty in breathing due to obstruction in the airway.
- Trauma on facial bones or teeth caused due to accidental events like road traffic accidents, fall accidents, injury, blows, fights, etc.
Other dental emergencies which might not be life-threatening but need urgent care are :
Severe pain due to tooth decay, infection in previously treated teeth, wisdom tooth inflammation, etc.
- Abscess or localized infection leading to pain and swelling
- Knocked-out teeth due to trauma like in sports injuries falls, traffic accidents, etc.
- Cracked or chipped tooth causing pain and sensitivity
- Partially extruded or dislodged tooth
- Objects stuck in the gum or between teeth like a fishbone
- Lost filling or crown
Examples of Dental Emergency
In case of any kind of dental emergency, it is imperative to take the person concerned to the emergency room or the dentist’s office immediately! Here are some things that can be done meanwhile for some common emergencies:
If you have a severe toothache due to a decayed tooth or infection, you should call your dentist or dental office immediately. Explain your symptoms and seek advice. You need to thoroughly clean your mouth with a warm water rinse. Next, try cleaning your tooth with a floss if something seems to be stuck in your tooth. Apply cold compress or ice-pack from OUTSIDE or on your cheek near the tooth. DO NOT apply any warm or hot compress as it will only worsen your condition and might even cause swelling!! You may take over-the-counter painkillers to ease the pain but it is advisable not to chew or place any pill on the tooth or the gum of the painful tooth.
Knocked-out Tooth Due to Trauma
It is quite common for a tooth to get knocked out of its place after trauma. This is especially common in the case of children after a sports injury, falling from their bicycles, fighting with their siblings, etc. In such cases, if it is a permanent tooth, the first step is to immediately try and find the tooth and retrieve it as it can be placed back. Hold the tooth from its crown without touching its root portion and wash it under running tap water without scrubbing it.
Now try to place it back into the socket of the tooth in the mouth without trying to force it too much. Make sure it is placed the correct way. If you are unable to fit it in the socket, place the tooth in a small container of cold milk, or a tissue saving solution like Save-A-Tooth available in the pharmacy, and take the tooth and the patient immediately to the dentist’s office so that it can be re-inserted.
The international association of dental traumatology states that a tooth if re-inserted within 1 hour has the highest chances to become viable again.
Abscess or Swelling
An abscess is a swelling surrounding your tooth due to the collection of pus as a result of an infection. It is a potentially life-threatening condition because the infection might spread through the soft tissues to your neck or other parts of your body and may cause serious implications. So if you observe a pimple-like bump on your gums, a small swelling near your decayed tooth or swelling of face externally, call us immediately. Talk to the dentist and schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, rinse your mouth with slightly warm water with a little salt. DO NOT APPLY warm compress from outside as it will intensify the swelling rapidly.
Bleeding Gums or Soft-Tissue Injuries
If you experience bleeding from your gums or teeth, do not panic!! Call your dentist right away and schedule an appointment. Next, rinse the mouth with some saline water and apply pressure on the bleeding spot with a gauze or cool piece of clean cloth to stop the bleeding. You can also apply an ice pack from outside on your cheek. Continue holding the pressure pack against the bleeding spot until you reach the dentist’s office.
Cracked or Chipped Tooth
If you fell down and chipped your tooth, first try to retrieve the broken piece of tooth. If you observe any bleeding then apply pressure with a gauze against the tooth and hold an ice-pack on the cheek to avoid any swelling. If there is any pain you can take painkillers. See your dentist as soon as possible as the tooth can usually be saved. If it’s a small piece then a restoration might be enough but in case of bleeding or a bigger piece Root canal treatment with a crown can save the tooth.
Bitten Lip or Tongue
This often is seen in children as they fall very often. If your baby or you might have bitten your tongue or lips causing bleeding, apply pressure with gauze. Ice-pack can also be applied. If the bleeding does not stop, see a dentist immediately.
Object Stuck in the Gum or in Between Teeth
It is very common to get a fishbone or a splinter from that chicken stuck in between your teeth or gums. It may cause pain and burning sensation and may cause infection if not taken out immediately. You can use a floss to take out the object from your teeth. It is not advisable to use a toothpick or any sharp objects as it may hurt the gum inadvertently. If the object does not seem to come out and is causing pain, you should see your dentist.
Sometimes a previously done filling may get dislodged from the tooth. This is not an emergency but you should schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Meanwhile, rinse your mouth thoroughly and floss the tooth to remove any food particles stuck and insert some sugarless chewing gum in the cavity until your appointment.
A crown might be dislodged while you are biting down on your slice of pizza. It is not an emergency but you must schedule a dental appointment as soon as possible. It is important to keep the crown safe and take it back to the dentist so that he/she can fix it back. You may also try temporarily fixing the crown to your tooth by placing it back in place, but put some toothpaste, sugarless chewing gum or denture adhesive on the opposite side before that. DO NOT use superglue.
How to Avoid Any Potential Dental Emergencies?
The best way to prevent dental emergencies is to maintain a meticulous oral hygiene routine. It is also imperative to go for regular dental check-ups so that your dentist can detect any potential decay, infection, disease or loose fillings which might have the risk of causing you troubles. You need to follow your dentist’s instructions if you had any recent dental treatment. It is important to watch for signs and pay attention to what your body might be trying to tell you before something turns emergent.
In case of any emergency keep your calm and remember the first aid tips we just mentioned. Do not panic and reach out to us immediately.
Who We Are
Coquitlam Dental Group strives to maintain excellence in providing quality dental care services and patient-centred care at all times. Every patient is important for us and we hate to see our patients in pain or suffering. On every routine dental visit, we make sure we check for signs of any decayed teeth, loose fillings, any indication of infections or gum diseases, even if they are not your complaints because we do not want you to face any emergency. We provide our patients with a custom plan to address all their present problems and potentially damaging problems before they progress into an emergency.
Why Deal With Us
At Coquitlam Dental Group we strive for excellence in all the services we provide. Our staff is well-trained and equipped to deal with all kinds of dental emergencies and are experienced to deal with such situations. Our helplines are open and staff available to help you out at all times. Though dental emergencies may be unprecedented our response is rapid and fastidious. We pride ourselves on the comfort and friendly atmosphere we give to our patients especially when they feel anxious.
Although a holistic oral hygiene routine can save you from most troubles, emergencies are unforeseen and can happen to anyone. Time is of the essence during a dental emergency and it is advisable to call and reach the dental office as soon as possible. Our helplines are open to you and you can call us anytime if you face any such situation without further ado.
You can reach us at (604) 526-2725
You can also reach us at https://coquitlamdentalgroup.ca/ and email us at email@example.com, or you can find our office at 101-655 North Rd, Coquitlam, BC V3J 1P5, Canada.