dental emergencies

Dental emergencies are not usually life threatening, however, a visit to the dentist will provide comfort and restore function as soon as possible. Here are some guidelines to understand whether a dental condition is an emergency. All dental emergencies are attended to immediately.

WHEN TO CALL THE DENTIST

Dull, continuous ache

Non-emergency

Schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience.

Sudden, severe discomfort, accompanied by swelling

Possible emergency

Apply a cold compress and see your dentist immediately.

Abscessed tooth

Emergency

An abscess is a localised pus formation usually located at the root end of the tooth. If the condition is acute and there is infection present the dentist will probably prescribe antibiotics and analgesics before attempting to perform root canal therapy.

Knocked out tooth

Emergency

Control the bleeding by applying direct pressure with a cold compress. Do not remove or be alarmed, as there may be extensive bleeding. Transport the tooth wrapped in a wet cloth or a glass of milk. Do not rinse the tooth.

Broken tooth

Emergency

Depending on the severity of the fracture it could cause an infection which is much more difficult to treat.

Extruded Tooth

Emergency

Don’t try to force the tooth back into its socket. Gently reposition the tooth to its normal alignment. Hold the tooth in place with gauze or a tissue. You must see your dentist immediately.

Facial fracture

Emergency

Make sure the airway is open and transport the victim to medical aid as soon as possible, either a hospital emergency room or call 911.

Sensitivity to cold

Non-emergency

Your tooth could be sensitive for a number of reasons. Never apply aspirin or heat to the tooth. Call the dentist and arrange an appointment as soon as possible.

Sensitivity to heat

Urgent

Sensitivity to heat can indicate that infection is present. See your dentist as soon as possible. If swelling and/or fever are present, consider it to be an emergency. An abscess could be forming.

Broken Braces and Wires

Urgent

If the broken appliance can be removed easily, take it out carefully. If not, cover the sharp or protruding portion with gauze, cotton balls or even chewing gum. Do not remove this and see your dentist immediately.