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If you’ve chipped or broken a tooth, and panic starts setting in – we understand. That goes double if your child has chipped or broken a tooth. It’s a scary thing to have happen.

In most cases, however, it’s not a dental emergency.

You see, chipped and broken teeth can often be repaired pretty easily. More often than not, the dentist will simply use dental filling to repair the chip. That means there’s no rush to get to the dentist – the treatment will be the same if you arrive in an hour or a day.

Nonetheless, the Canadian Dental Association lists chipped and broken teeth as dental emergencies. The reason for this is that while minor fractures and chipped teeth are not emergencies, large fractures can be.

A large fracture in the tooth

There are a number of potential problems with large fractures. Large fractures can leave the tooth’s root exposed, and lead to infections that can travel to the jawbone and gums. These fractures are often painful – they should be treated right away. 

If you’re not sure the fracture is large enough to be qualified as large, call your dentist, and tell them how big the fracture is. They’ll let you know if it’s an emergency. 

Jagged chips

Jagged chips are considered dental emergencies if they’re sharp enough to cut into the gums or cheeks. In other words, if your tooth fractured in such a way that it’s cutting the inside of your mouth, it’s a dental emergency.

Those cuts aren’t just painful – they can become infected. Call a dentist right away. 

Painful chips

We’re not talking about eating too many salt and vinegar chips, either.

When your tooth chips in a way that causes pain, there are almost certainly nerves that have been exposed. These fractures are usually fairly large. If you experience any dental pain after a chip, it’s an emergency. 

A tooth that’s fallen out

While not technically a broken tooth, we figured we’d include this because it tends to happen in the same conditions – namely, as a result of physical trauma.

A tooth that has fallen out is an emergency. When possible, if the tooth isn’t dirty, you should attempt to place it back in its socket. If that’s impossible, put it in a glass of milk. Get to the dentist as soon as possible – the sooner you get there, the more likely the tooth is to take root again. 

Think your broken tooth may be an emergency? Give us a call. We have an emergency dental clinic in Edmonton ready to treat you – even if you’re reading this at 3 AM. We’re open 24/7, and we have locations all around Edmonton, so give us a call or come directly to one of our clinics.