Emergency vs. non-emergency dental

Oral health care is extremely important – pain caused by your mouth and teeth can be extremely frustrating and sometimes dangerous. Ignoring severe symptoms and hoping that the pain will “just go away” can lead to much more expensive treatments down the line, and even irreversible damage to your teeth.

To help decide whether you need to immediately visit a dental professional, here’s a quick list of Emergency vs. Non-Emergency dental issues:

Dull and continuous ache: Non-Emergency

In most cases, a dull and continuous toothache is not the result of an urgent problem. You should, however, never ignore a toothache and instead consult us to schedule an appointment at our Vancouver office because a toothache usually indicates an issue with the nerve of your tooth.

Sensitivity to cold: Non-Emergency

If you have recently had a dental procedure done some extra sensitivity to cold sometimes results, and should pass in a couple of days. Other causes could include worn-down enamel, receded gums, exposed dentin or tooth decay (cavities). If you haven’t recently seen us for dental work, or if the pain persists for more than a few days, you should call or email our office to book an appointment at your earliest convenience.

Sensitivity to heat: Potential Emergency

Unlike sensitivity to cold, teeth sensitivity to heat can indicate a more serious problem and can be an indication of infection. If, in addition to sensitivity to heat, you have a fever, or there is significant swelling – you should call us and receive immediate, emergency care.

Fractured tooth: Potential Emergency

A fractured tooth could indicate an emergency, although this depends on the degree of pain and the intensity of the fracture. All fractures are considered urgent, and you should seek dental assistance as soon as possible regardless of the severity of the fracture. If the fracture is very severe, this is considered a dental emergency, and you need to contact us immediately.

Tooth abscess: Dental Emergency

Pus at the bottom of the tooth, swelling and extreme pain are all indicators of an abscessed tooth, and can indicate the necessity of a root canal. Abscessed teeth can be caused by broken teeth, tooth decay or periodontal disease. In order to best assure that your tooth can be saved by a root canal, contact us immediately.

Knocked-out tooth: Dental Emergency

If assistance is provided within 30 to 40 minutes of your tooth being knocked out of your mouth, it is possible to re-implant the tooth, so you should contact us immediately for emergency assistance. There is likely to be excessive bleeding, so be sure to apply direct, cold pressure to the area. Carefully and gently insert the tooth back into its socket (though ensure not to touch the root end of the tooth while doing so). Or, gently place the tooth in a glass of cold milk and bring it with you to our office and we will work to re-implant the tooth for you.

If in doubt whether it is a dental emergency or not please give our Vancouver office a call at (604) 222-1299 and we will do everything we can to help you out.