Emergency Dentistry in Edmonton
Despite our best efforts to avoid them, accidents happen. At work or at play, our best defense against emergency health situations of all kinds is to be informed of how to handle one when it does. The most important thing to remember in an emergency situation is that remaining calm is your best shot at a positive outcome. So, when it comes to dental emergencies, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Look For Symptoms
The face is an area of the body with an abundant nerve supply! (Remember how much it hurt when you bit your cheek, too?) This pain is there to notify us of a problem that needs attention, so if you have a toothache – pay attention to your symptoms but try not to think the worst.
Assess the incident
If the dental emergency is the result of a traumatic blow to the head or neck, it is important to prioritize any head trauma over, for example, the potential loss of a tooth. If, for example, you or someone you know is involved in a motor vehicle accident it is important to prioritize the head injury and get to an emergency room as soon as possible.
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How To Decide Whether It’s An Emergency
In order to determine whether your dental concern is emergent, it should be either of a knocked out or broken tooth, signs of a pustule or other infection or be a pain that does not go away with the use of an over-the-counter medication and is causing severe discomfort. In these situations, it is important to call us right away to request an emergency appointment. We make every attempt to accommodate emergent needs, but if we can’t serve you in a timely fashion, we will recommend that you see the next available dentist. Incidents such as knock outs require emergency intervention within a half hour of the event to be most effective.
Experiencing Extreme Pain Or Discomfort?
If you have developed severe pain in your jaw that may radiate into the ear on one side of the mouth, this is an indication that your tooth’s nerve is irritated and should be investigated for infection. Since the teeth have an active blood supply, tooth infections are important to resolve before they risk being spread.
Until you see us, we recommend drinking or holding cool water in the mouth. Ice water will offer relief from the pounding pain of a toothache and this can be combined with a cold pack on the outside of the cheek as well. Never apply heat to a potential infection as this will increase discomfort substantially.
If your toothache begins and ends abruptly, this is likely an indication that the infection has been catastrophic for the tooth and the nerve has died. This does not mean that the infection has resolved, only that you can no longer feel it. Your tooth remains in need of emergency attention and may require root canal therapy to eliminate the infection and prevent its worsening and spreading.
If you see a pustule on your gums, it will likely look like a small pimple and may be full of a white or yellow fluid or may have already begun to drain. This is an indication of an infected tooth. Sometimes, however, a pustule is not present, but a bitter or sour taste can be tasted weeping from the gums around the painful tooth. This is another indication of potential infection
Have You Knocked Out Or Broken A Tooth?
If you have yourself had a tooth knocked out or whether you are assisting someone who has, begin by having them rinse their mouth gently with cold water to identify the state of the tooth. If the tooth is partly out of the socket, close the jaw gently and hold it in place until you can see a dentist. If the tooth has been broken or dislodged, collect the tooth and tooth fragments and do not handle the root. Rinse the pieces under cool clean water and do not attempt to clean any debris from the root. Reinsert the tooth in its socket if possible, otherwise tuck it in the cheek or a glass of milk and get to a dentist for an emergency appointment right away. The same goes for tooth fragments – tuck those in the cheek or in some cold milk and bring them to the dentist, since fragments can often be re-bonded to the tooth using filling material.
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