How to Know if You are Having a Dental Emergency or Not

At some point in their lives, many people will have a dental emergency, sometimes due to injuries or underlying oral health conditions. Our dentists in Burnaby offer advice about how to know whether your dental issue is an emergency, and what to do next. 

What is a dental emergency?

Any problem with your teeth, gums or mouth that requires urgent dental treatment qualifies as a dental emergency. Specifically, this may include:

Chipped, Broken or Knocked Out Tooth

While a chipped or broken tooth can usually be repaired, it will need urgent dental care. The dentist may be able to use a filling to repair a chip or fracture, whereas more serious breaks may require a root canal or crown. 

For knocked out teeth, your dentist may be able to put the tooth back in place if you can get to the dentist within about an hour of the incident. Within this time frame the tooth has a better chance of taking root again. After the two-hour mark, these chances significantly decrease, and alternative measures will need to be considered.

Severe Toothache

Are you experiencing a severe toothache that cannot be managed with over-the-counter pain medication? First, you'll want to apply ice to the area and contact your dentist as soon as possible, as this is considered a dental emergency. 

Potentially major dental issues can manifest in toothaches, so it's important to take them seriously. 

Lost Filling

Since a lost filling exposes the interior of your tooth, it weakens the structure. This is a serious issue and warrants seeing a dentist as soon as possible so we can replace the filling for you. In the meantime, until you get to the dentist protect the area by temporarily replacing the filling with a softened piece of sugarless gum. 

Object Lodged Between Teeth

Objects getting lodged between the teeth can present a hazard and warrant urgent attention from your dentist. If you cannot dislodge the object with floss, do not use a sharp object to attempt to remove it yourself as this could push it further between your teeth - or injure your gums.

Bitten Tongue or Lip

If you are experiencing bleeding that can’t be quelled after biting your tongue or lip, you need to visit an emergency dental clinic. In the meantime, apply a clean cloth to the part of the mouth that’s bleeding and press down. Use an ice pack to reduce swelling, and look for urgent dental care.

Dental Abscess

A dental abscess is a buildup of pus which forms inside the teeth or gums. This very painful condition usually develops from a bacterial infection, often within the soft pulp of the tooth or the root of the tooth. They can be caused by a cavity that’s been left untreated, severe gum disease or perhaps a chipped tooth.

Symptoms can include anything from a bad taste in your mouth to swollen glands, pain, pus or a fever. An abscessed tooth will usually need surgery to drain the infection and treat it properly. Treatment for dental abscesses can involve root canal surgery. 

Are you having a dental emergency? Our Burnaby dentists will make every effort to see you as soon as possible and can often offer same-day appointments.

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Oakmount Dental
5266 Oakmount Crescent Burnaby BC V5H 4S1 CA

Phone Number

(604) 438-8238

Hours of Operation

  • Monday:12:00 pm - 08:00 pm
  • Tuesday:08:00 am - 05:00 pm
  • Wednesday:12:00 pm - 08:00 pm
  • Thursday:08:00 am - 05:00 pm
  • Friday:08:00 am - 04:00 pm
  • Saturday:Closed
  • Sunday:Closed

(604) 438-8238