A dental abscess happens when severe infection is present, and pus (a thick fluid caused by bacteria) is build-up in the teeth or gums. Some of its symptoms include severe pain, fever, and swelling.
✓ If you believe you’re dealing with a dental abscess, call your doctor or an emergency dental clinic to help you, as this is an absolute emergency.
Also, getting some over-the-counter painkillers and avoiding hot and cold foods and drinks can help ease some of your symptoms, but please don’t try to treat a dental abscess at home.
Chipped or Broken Tooth
A broken tooth can happen to anyone after biting something hard or by an accident or injury during an activity. Visiting your dentist to restore the issue is the only way to repair a broken tooth. However, this is not always an emergency.
✕ Restoring a chipped tooth or a tooth with a minor break when it’s not associated with pain is not an emergency. Book an appointment with your dentist to take a look and offer proper treatment.
✓ However, when a larger piece is missing, it usually involves severe pain. In this case, finding proper medical care soon to treat your broken tooth is extremely important.
An avulsed tooth (knocked-out tooth) happens when you lose your entire permanent tooth, usually after an injury or an accident.
✓ If your tooth is completely knocked-out, please don’t waste your time, as this is a true emergency.
Finding a dentist as soon as possible (within the first 30-60 minutes) will enhance your chances of saving your tooth.
Try to put your tooth back in and support it with your teeth or fingers without touching the root but only the crown (the top of the tooth). If it needs cleaning, use only water to wash out any dirt and try to put it back. If you can’t, put it in a container with milk to take it to your dentist.
Wisdom Tooth and Complications
If one of your wisdom teeth has started erupting, you might be experiencing discomfort, sensitivity in the area or other related symptoms.
✕ Having your wisdom tooth evaluated by your dentist without having severe symptoms is essential but not an emergency. Instead, book a regular check-up, and your doctor will do the rest.
✓ However, if you’re having extreme pain, swelling in the surrounding area, difficulty opening your mouth or swallowing and other symptoms that indicate an infection (like feeling sick or having a fever), call your dental team.
An infection associated with your wisdom tooth is considered an emergency. Your doctor will give you instructions to relieve your symptoms and see you in the office as soon as possible.
After the evaluation, if an extraction is needed, it will be booked in another appointment.
So don’t worry or get anxious about an emergency wisdom tooth removal. Your infection should be treated first, and a few other examinations must be performed before we proceed with an extraction.
Loose, Broken or Lost Restorations
If your dentist used a restoration treatment in the past to improve your smile and health and something is not feeling right, don’t panic!
✕ A loosened, broken or lost dental restoration like a crown, veneer, or filling is not always a dental emergency that needs fixing right away, especially when their placement was purely for cosmetic reasons.
Of course, you should schedule your dental appointment soon so your doctor can take a look and proceed with the appropriate treatment, avoiding further complications.
✓ However, if your restoration was placed to protect your teeth, and you lose or break your veneer, filling or crown, you should find a dental professional as soon as possible. With a damaged or lost restoration, you leave your tooth exposed to bacteria and in danger of infection.
Also, don’t neglect to call an emergency dentist if your dental restoration has remaining sharp edges after it’s broken. In this situation, you should find medical assistance so you don’t cut your tongue or cheeks by accident.
✕ Generally, gum disease is not considered a dental emergency as it’s a chronic condition that takes time to progress.
✓ However, if gum disease has progressed because it is left untreated for a long time, the symptoms are more severe and might need immediate dental care.
Advanced periodontitis is the last and the most dangerous stage of gum disease. People in this phase are experiencing severe pain, have damaged inflamed gums and dealing with a significant danger of tooth loss.
This situation requires action right away. Advanced periodontitis can also become life-threatening if someone continues ignoring these severe symptoms.
First of all, try to retain your calmness and avoid panicking so you can help yourself and find the proper care you need. Then, find someone you trust to be with you so you won’t be alone.
Call your doctor as soon as possible and explain the situation with the details and all your symptoms. Your dentist will then be able to give you instructions and see you in the office as soon as possible.
If you can’t find your doctor or don’t have one, please search online to find a dental emergency clinic near your area.
Dealing with an emergency might sound scary, but a dental professional will always provide the necessary care you need.
And even if we can’t prevent all dental emergencies, there are some measures anyone can follow to decrease the possibility of facing one.