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Dental Emergencies: What You Need to Know

January 15, 2023 / DENTISTRY

Regardless of how careful we are when we’re out and about, dental emergencies can happen at any time to any one. And when a dental emergency arises, they can cause immense pain and discomfort making it very important to see a dentist as soon as possible. Unfortunately, sometimes these emergencies happen after hours and it’s not possible to see a dentist right away. This is why it’s so important to know what to do in case of a dental emergency to prevent further damage and minimize pain.

What is considered a dental emergency?

A dental emergency is any sudden and severe injury or condition in the mouth that causes swelling, bleeding or extreme discomfort and requires immediate assistance from a dentist. When dental emergencies occur, it's very important to get medical attention immediately so you can control the pain and prevent the problem from getting worse.

What are the most common dental emergencies?

The most common types of dental emergencies include:

  • Broken or chipped teeth
  • Intense toothaches
  • Having a tooth knocked-out (adult or baby teeth)
  • A lost adult tooth
  • Gum infections, or bleeding or swelling in the mouth
  • Dental abscesses
  • Injuries to the jaw or soft tissues

These problems can be caused by an injury when you’re out playing football, skating, dancing, walking the dog, or sitting at home eating tacos. Sometimes they’re caused by a defined activity, and sometimes you just wake up with dental pain and don’t know why.

What should I do if I break a tooth?

A broken, chipped, or knocked-out tooth is one of the most common types of dental emergency, and also one of the most serious. If you act quickly and know what to do, you could have a chance of saving the tooth and avoiding the need for a replacement.

Here’s what to do:

  1. First, rinse your mouth with warm water, but don’t swallow. Spit out the water and make sure there are no tooth fragments in it before you wash it down the drain.
  2. Next, apply a cold compress to the face in the areas of the injury to reduce swelling.
  3. Try to find the tooth (or any broken pieces of it) and place them in a jar or cup of milk to keep them hydrated.
  4. Bring the tooth or tooth fragments with you to the dentist.
  5. Take over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to control the pain while you wait to see your dentist. Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory, so this may be the better option for you, unless you have an allergy or sensitivity to NSAIDs.

There’s nothing quite like dental pain, and we know that when dental emergencies occur, you need help immediately. The team at Caledon Dental Centre reserves a number of appointment times for emergency visits, so be sure to call us if you ever have an accident or suddenly feel intense discomfort in your mouth – we’re here to help.