If you have healthy teeth, you probably only see your dentist once or twice per year during scheduled visits. Do you know what to do in case of a dental emergency?
Vancouver is home to many athletes and outdoor enthusiasts including skiers, mountain bikers, and cyclists. These activities can lead to dental emergencies including chipped and cracked teeth. Before heading out for athletic or recreational activities, it’s good to know how to respond in a dental emergency.
What is a Dental Emergency?
According the College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia (CDSBC) and the BC Dental Association (BCDA), the signs of a dental emergency include:
- A traumatic injury to your mouth, jaw or teeth
- Severe pain that you cannot control with over-the-counter pain medication
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Severe swelling in your mouth, face or neck
What to do in a Dental Emergency
All dentists in British Columbia are required to provide emergency services, either directly, through a dentist on call, or through another service. In case of dental emergency, follow the after-hours protocol to contact your Family Dentist. You can also call 8-1-1 to reach a 24-hour HealthLink BC nurse. Your family dentist or the HealthLink nurse can assess the situation over the phone and walk you through what to do.
If you have a broken or knocked out tooth, find the tooth or tooth fragments immediately and bring them with you to your dentist. Minor cracked tooth repair can often be performed using a white filling. More serious breaks may require a root canal, crown, or dental implant.
When it comes to tooth repair, the quicker you act the better. If a knocked out tooth is cleaned and put back in place within 10 minutes, the chances are good that it can be saved. If you’re transporting a tooth, store it in milk or saliva while in transit to the dentist.
In any medical or dental emergency, if the symptoms include difficulty breathing or severe blood loss, always call 9-1-1 or go straight to an emergency room.