Emergency Dentist in Victoria
There are many reasons why you may be looking for a Victoria dentist to help with a dental emergency. Below we discuss some of the most common causes of patients visiting us for emergency dental treatment and some tips for both preventing the problem in the first place and how to deal with emergencies if they do arise. Usually it is best to be on the safe side and have a dentist look at your specific case and determine the best options.
Accidental vs preventable dental emergencies
A web search of the term emergency returns this definition: “A serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action”. However, it also seems that emergencies are not only unexpected but will often occur at the worst possible time, such as Friday evenings or during that flight out on your vacation.
Quite often dental emergencies are preventable by either regular visits and examinations with your dentist, or by using the correct precautionary mouth guards while playing sports. Moreover, you should avoid using your teeth as a tool, for example, in opening bottles or packages.
Common dental emergencies and what to do
Broken Tooth or Filling
While it is quite rare for a normal healthy tooth to chip, fracture or break, a combination of a great force and weaknesses in the structure of the tooth from cracks, tooth decay or previous restorations can all contribute to a dental emergency in the form of a broken tooth.
With a broken tooth or filling, rinse out your mouth with warm water to remove any debris. It may help us to see any loose piece of tooth or filling material that has been knocked out, so save these if possible. If there is bleeding, use a clean piece of gauze (often found in first aid kits) or even a clean tea bag over the fractured area and bite to control the bleeding. If you have pain, you can take over the counter analgesics (acetaminophen or ibuprofen) if you have taken them in the past and are not sensitive or allergic to this medication. Contact your physician if you are unsure.
Only use temporary dental filling materials found in drug stores if the tooth is sensitive and you will have access to a dentist shortly. Temporarily filling a tooth that is infected can exacerbate pain and infections.
Depending on the underlying cause of the broken tooth/filling, your dentist can relieve your discomfort with a temporary filling, long term filling, crown or by initiating root canal treatment. The sooner you see a dentist in Victoria BC the better your chance of requiring minimal treatment.
Tooth Knocked out (Avulsion)
Having a tooth knocked out can be both quite common and a situation that requires rapid attention from a dentist. Teeth are not fused to the facial bones but suspended by a series of fibers that hold them in place. When a force causes the fibers to rip, the tooth is knocked out (avulsed) but in many situations that is preferable to fracturing the supporting bone.
It is possible to save the tooth and have it stay in the correct position if you act quickly to save the root surfaces of the tooth from drying out (desiccating) and place the tooth in an environment that can supply the roots with nutrients. If it is safe to do so, retrieve the tooth carefully to avoid touching the root surfaces (likely red and slightly bloody). Clean only any large debris from the root surface and do one of the following:
- Place it back into the socket and hold it in place.
- Place in a container of milk.
- Place the tooth in the mouth between the cheek and teeth***use extreme caution, be extra careful not to swallow the tooth.
- Some sports teams, schools or clinics may be prepared with a container of isotonic solution such as Save-A-Tooth, in which avulsed teeth can be carried.
Immediately see an emergency dentist, who will place the tooth into the correct position and will likely need to splint the tooth to the adjacent teeth. The time needed for healing will depend on the situation and age of the patient. In many cases the blood supply and nerves inside the tooth cannot reattached and need to be treated with an additional root canal treatment. The sooner you see a dentist in Victoria BC the better your chance of saving the tooth.
Swelling, infection, abscess
The mouth and human body, in general, is in a delicate balance between your cells and bacteria or other organisms that can cause disease. If that balance is shifted, because of disease to the tooth or other soft tissues in the mouth, an infection can ensue.
An infection will normally be met with your body’s immune system with some or all of these symptoms: redness, swelling, pain and/or bleeding. In the process of destroying the invading bacteria or organisms, a discharge of pus is created. This is an abscess and needs to be addressed by your dentist quickly.
- Treatment for an abscess can include the following:
- Treating the source of infection
- Incision and drainage of the abscess
- Antibiotic treatment
Treating with antibiotics alone will not address the source of the infection, and antibiotics can have difficulty reaching the source. In addition, the infective bacteria or organism can be resistant to the specific antibiotic. Rapid treatment of infections and abscesses is important to limit spread of infections. It is rare, but dental abscesses can be potentially fatal. Seek dental treatment from your Victoria dentist if you suspect an infection or abscess.
Oral pain can occur unexpectedly and for reasons unknown to you. Thus, it is difficult to give advice on these nebulous cases other than to suggest that you contact your dentist as soon as possible.
Before seeing your dentist in Victoria it will be helpful for your dentist to know some of the following information:
- When did you first notice the pain? Do you have ideas regarding the cause?
- Has the pain been progressing?
- Are there any aggravating factors such as eating, hot or cold drinks, sweets, lying down etc.?
- Is there anything lodged in between the teeth?
Pain is a rather unpredictable warning sign of dental disease and should be investigated early. There may be an opportunity for minimal treatment if pain is addressed early by your dentist in Victoria.
Trauma or bite to lips, cheeks and tongue
Injury to the soft tissues of the mouth is very common. Because of the rich blood supply to the soft tissues, the subsequent bleeding or swelling to the area can be quite alarming.
Immediately attempt to control any bleeding using a clean gauze and firm sustained pressure on the injury site. Bleeding that slowly seeps or wells up can usually be controlled by pressure, while bleeding that appears to pulsate on heart beats suggest damage so a slightly larger blood vessel and may need sutures or other packing materials to control.
Once the bleeding as stopped, carefully clean the area with warm salt water. See your dentist to check for further trauma to the area or adjacent teeth. Most small injuries to the soft tissue will heal fully; however, larger injuries may require treatment from a surgeon.
Depending on your medical history and cause of the trauma an antibiotic may be prescribed, but not as a rule.