It can happen to even the most diligent dental patient; one day you are going about your day-to-day life as normal and the next thing, you are suffering from a dull ache under one of your teeth that pain relief won’t alleviate.
While dental emergencies are far from uncommon, many patients panic when they realise that their issue will not wait until their next check-up. And while it would be foolhardy to assume that all dental emergencies equate to discomfort, many dental patients are more motivated to seek an appointment for emergency dental when they are in discomfort.
So what are some of the more seemingly comfortable dental emergencies that prompt emergency dental care?
The image of the emergency dental patient with a swollen face is a stereotype for a reason.
In the majority of cases, when you are suffering from a sudden issue with your teeth, gums or jaw, there will be some localised swelling.
Therefore, the moment you notice any swelling on your gums, under a tooth, on your jawline or near the jaw joint (common with impacted wisdom teeth), seek urgent dental care. Remember, it doesn’t have to hurt to be an emergency!
From time to time, many people will accidentally bite their inner cheek or their tongue, especially if they have larger molars. But if you have recently had oral surgery, like an extraction and it has been continuously bleeding for over 20 minutes (with the application of pressure), then you need to see an emergency team to stem the flow. Stitches may be required in cases of dental extractions or, if your dentist is able to offer it, you may be able to have the wound cauterised with a laser!
Lumps and bumps
Nothing sets off the alarm bells like the sudden appearance of a lump or bump in the mouth. While these are typically benign, if you are a smoker, have a chronic illness, are pregnant or have generally poorer dental hygiene, it is important to get any growths examined.
Remember, oral cancer (while unlikely) has one of the highest success rates of all cancers and as is the way with all dental care, it is better to be safe than sorry!
Crack and chips
Another common occurrence in day to day life, particularly if you have a manual job, play sports, or even if you have an overactive kid who runs around all the time!
A crack or a chip may not seem serious, but the damage to the enamel may act as a pathway for bacteria to get under the tooth, where it can multiply and cause an infection.
Compare this to the treatment for a cracked or a chipped tooth, which is the application of a simple porcelain composite in most cases. It really is not worth the risk!
If you or your child wear a set of fitted orthodontic braces which come loose, you should contact an emergency dentist to temporarily reattach them.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.