Emergency Dentistry in South Edmonton
Dental emergencies can strike at any time and may develop abruptly or over the course of hours or days. There are two primary categories of dental emergencies: those that occur as a result of a traumatic incident, and those that occur as a result of disease or infection in the mouth.
If you’ve taken a blow to the mouth that has resulted in lacerations, chipped or broken teeth and/or loose teeth, it is important to get to a dentist right away in order to prevent permanent loss of the impacted teeth.
When teeth are impacted by a force, they may become unstable in their socket or they could be knocked out completely. While this is easily assessed, there are other problems that can occur that aren’t so easily assessed without the help of a dentist. For example, breaks or cracks in the tooth may be difficult to spot without the help of an X-ray, and these injuries to the tooth can result in infection.
Mouth & Jaw Infections
Infections in the teeth and/or jaw are important to catch and remedy as soon as possible. This is because the mouth is a highly vascular part of the body. That means that there is lots of blood flowing through the area. Even your teeth have active blood supply which is contained within the pulp of the tooth. This vascularity means that even small breaks in the skin can bleed significantly – as evidenced by the blood produced when you accidentally bite your cheek or tongue at dinner. Blood flow is important for the health of the teeth, but blood flow increases the risk of spreading the bacteria responsible for the infection to other parts of the body. For example, infected wisdom teeth can impact the sinuses due to their proximity to them.
What To Do
Now that you know the risk of delaying care, it is important to know what to do when emergencies happen. Read below for some information on what to do in a dental emergency, or contact our dental clinic for more information. Remember, it is always a good idea to keep a first aid kit in your family vehicles in order to ensure that you have sanitary supplies within reach if you or someone you know is injured.
Knock Outs or Broken Tooth
Losing a tooth due to injury can be frightening, but remember, any injury that occurs in the mouth is likely to produce more blood than expected. The best way to handle the situation is to remain calm and find the tooth or tooth fragments. If the whole tooth has been knocked out, it can be helpful to try to reinsert the tooth into its socket if possible. In order to do this, hold the tooth at the top (never the root) and rinse the tooth thoroughly in clean water. Replace the tooth in the socket and hold it in place by closing the jaw gently to support it. If the tooth cannot be replaced, don’t force it. Just place the tooth and/or the tooth fragments inside your cheek or in a container of cold dairy milk.
You’ll want to see a dentist within 30 minutes of your tooth being lost in order to maximize your chances of being able to keep the tooth. If there is anyone with you, have them reach out to the nearest dental office and request an emergency appointment while you attend to the injury. We would be delighted to serve you in this instance, but if you’re not within 30 minutes of our offices at the time, we strongly recommend seeing a dentist that is near you.
Severe Tooth, Gum or Jaw Pain
Infection in the tooth can cause significant pain in the tooth’s nerve. If you are experiencing pain in your tooth, you might consider an over-the-counter pain medication and a cool compress on the outside of the cheek nearest to the site of pain. If the pain persists despite these measures, consider being seen by a dentist as soon as possible.
The most common signs of dental infections are weeping from the infected tooth (you will taste a bitter or metallic substance) or there may be evidence of a pustule at the site. A pustule looks like a pimple and can be seen around the gums of the tooth. It may be full of a white, yellow or brownish substance or it may have ruptured on its own before you become aware of it. If you see a pustule on your gums, don’t try to drain it yourself. Avoid the use of heat on the cheek as it is likely to increase the pain. The simple rule is: if you think you need a dentist, you probably do. If you experience a severe pain that stops abruptly, you still need to see a dentist for treatment and to determine whether the nerve has died as a result of the infection.