Here’s what to do if your tooth or teeth take an unexpected hit…
A dental emergency is accepted as anything where your teeth or supporting tissues require urgent medical attention.
Often, emergencies involve knocked out teeth or chronic pain, but sometimes they arise when a dental restoration has fallen out or fractured.
And, although your dental restoration emergency might not be incredibly urgent, it’s still important you get to your dentist ASAP.
Dental Restoration Trauma
Dislodged or cracked dental crown
Your crown can dislodge or crack due to trauma, such as a sporting accident, tooth grinding (bruxism), or the crown loosening.
If you have broken your denture, do not try to fix it yourself. This could make the situation worse or ruin any possible chance of your dentist or prosthetist repairing the denture.
Fractured or dislodged porcelain veneer
If your veneer fracture is small, you and your dentist may decide to have your dentist mend the area with composite bonding. However, the bonding will be a short-term solution and is likely not to last forever. It also won’t look as lifelike as the porcelain veneer, and eventually you may need to have it replaced.
Broken or loosened dental implant
The success rate of dental implants is relatively high. However, sometimes things can go wrong, and emergency management for a failing implant – or one of its components – is required. This is most likely due to infection around the implant. If you suspect that this is happening to your implant, get in touch with the specialist who placed the implant as soon as possible. Sometimes, late failures of implants occur if there has been a significant amount of bone loss. Alternatively, an implant crown can become loose due to dissolved cement or excessive tooth grinding.
Lost or broken filling
If a tooth filling becomes dislodged or broken, it can make the remaining tooth quite sharp, and the jagged edges could cut your tongue or cheek. Others may need to get to the dentist urgently as the lost filling may cause significant pain (while others may not experience any pain at all). Some people may deem the lost filling and emergency purely as they feel self-conscious if the lost filling is in a visible area. It’s important to have your lost or chipped filling checked, as food can become trapped in the area, making it easier to develop secondary caries or cavities.
This blog page has been fact-checked by Dentist Dr Aran Moorthy.
Dental emergencies aren’t as serious as medical emergencies, with the latter defined as a life-threatening or long-term health-threatening condition. However, dental emergencies must be taken seriously. It also bears noting that sometimes, a patient’s aesthetic concerns may warrant the situation and emergency – for example, if a crown or veneer has dislodged in a particularly visible area, making it a perceived social disability.
Should I go to the emergency hospital if I have a dental emergency?
If it’s after hours and you are experiencing strong tooth or mouth pain, inflammation or swelling, then yes, go to the nearest emergency hospital. Doctors at the hospital won’t be able to perform dental work, but can provide you with temporary pain relief and/or antibiotics, if required, to tide you over until you next see your dentist.