It can happen to anyone and can be seriously painful. Dental emergencies are common and are often varied in their underlying cause, but typically the main symptom people experience is pain.
Many people have suffered from a dull ache in their mouth, but when does this ache warrant an emergency trip to your dentist?
As mentioned, most people have had some level of minor discomfort from their teeth over the years which may prompt them to visit their dentist earlier than scheduled.
Sharp, pulsating pain or a feeling of intense pressure under a tooth or teeth should never be ignored and should prompt you to call the dentist quickly. If your pain is keeping you awake and is not treatable with over-the-counter painkillers, you should seek urgent dental treatment.
Pain may be caused by a loose or cracked filling, a missing filling, extensive decay that has spread to the pulp of the tooth or even an abscess – all of these require immediate attention.
Knocked out tooth
Commonly seen in those who participate in high contact sports or those who have been in an accident, a knocked-out tooth is another reason for an urgent dental appointment.
If you have a tooth that has been knocked out, it is best to preserve it in some moistened tissue paper in a cool location, or possibly in some milk and bring it with you to your appointment.
Loose tooth or teeth
In young children, loose teeth are common and should not be treated as an emergency.
If you are an adult and notice that your tooth or teeth have suddenly and inexplicably become loose, you need to seek out an urgent dental appointment. Delaying treatment of loose teeth can result in the tooth falling out or the tooth dying.
Also, you need to establish the cause of the loose teeth as it could be preventable.
Another common side effect of contact sports, chipped teeth can be seriously painful and will require a prompt dental visit to resolve.
If your tooth is jagged or sharp, you should note the likelihood of injuring your gum line or tongue on it is increased, so it is best to get it looked at sooner rather than later to prevent further injury. Depending on the severity of the chip, your dentist may use a composite replacement, a resin-based glue or a crown to restore it.
Sudden swellings and lumps
Swelling of your gum line, around your tongue or any lumps in your mouth should be looked at by a dentist as soon as possible.
Swellings and lumps are often indicative of nothing serious, but it is worth exploring their causes with a dentist to see if they are preventable in the future.
Painful swellings and lumps could indicate an abscess, which requires urgent medical treatment and often a course of antibiotics to resolve it.
Worried you have a dental emergency? Be sure to call your dentist!