Diagram of a tooth and a medical kit

Emergency Dentistry in St. Albert

Emergencies can strike at any time and when they do it’s important that we know what to do to avoid panic and unnecessary distress. If you have an understanding of basic first aid, you likely know what to do in the event of a bone fracture or choking event, but do you know how to treat the most common dental emergencies?

Dental emergencies can cause panic due to the amount of blood produced by the mouth. A highly vascularized area of the body, even small cuts or injuries can result in the presentation of more blood than you might expect. When an injury or trauma to the face or mouth occurs, the most important thing to do is to remain as calm as possible.

Qualify the Emergency

If you or someone near you experiences a blow to the face or jaw, an injury or severe pain, begin by determining whether the injury is an emergency. Emergencies include teeth which have become loose or partially dislodged from the socket, teeth that have been knocked out of the socket, severe pain that cannot be alleviated with ice and over-the-counter pain killers or cuts or punctures that require stitches to stop bleeding and repair the tissue.

If there is blood present, begin by rinsing the mouth with mild saline or clean water until you can determine the extent of the damage.

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Teeth that Have Been Fully or Partially Knocked Out

If your tooth has come fully or partially out of the mouth, this is considered an emergency. If the tooth is still in its socket, close the mouth gently and proceed to the closest emergency dental clinic.

If the tooth has been knocked out of the socket, locate the tooth and any tooth fragments. Rinse the fragments in fresh water and be careful not to handle the root of the tooth. If you see any debris clinging to the tooth, DO NOT remove it or scrub it. This delicate tissue is required for the tooth to have its best chance at being saved.

Place the tooth back in the socket if possible, holding it in place by gently closing the jaw. If this is not possible, carry the tooth in the cheek or in milk until you arrive at the dentist. It is important to arrive at the dentist as soon as possible, and preferably within half an hour of it being dislodged. In this interest, call or direct someone to call the nearest emergency dentist and make arrangements to be seen. Dentists generally allow some flexibility in their daily schedule to accommodate dental emergencies, but despite this not all emergencies can be accommodated in a timely fashion. If this is the case, ask the dentist for the name of another reputable emergency clinic, or search one online nearest to you.

Severe Pain

Severe tooth pain often implies an infection and should be considered a dental emergency. Inspect the area causing pain and look for swelling of the tissues, pustules (pimple-like formations along the gums) or unusual tastes such as bitterness or sourness coming from the area of concern. These all indicate signs of infection and must be seen by a dentist in order to resolve the concern and avoid complications. In this case, contact our office and explain that you require an emergency dental appointment as soon as possible. We will make every effort to accommodate your needs and in the case that we are unable, we will encourage you to see another dental professional until we can see you for a follow up.

In the meantime, we encourage you to apply cold compresses to the outer cheek and avoid hot foods or compresses as this is likely to increase discomfort.

If your pain ends abruptly, it may be an indication that the tooth has died. Your condition remains emergent and must be seen by a dentist as soon as possible.


If you are suffering from a soft tissue injury, rinse the mouth with saline or clean water and apply pressure to the cut with a clean piece of gauze or tea bag. Continue to apply pressure for 15-20 minutes and follow with a cold compress for 5-10 minutes. If bleeding continues, or if the wound is deep or gaping, you may require stitches. Head to your nearest hospital emergency room.

Non-Emergent Issues

If you have a non-emergent concern such as dull pain in a tooth, a lost filling or crown or a broken orthodontic wire, contact our offices to make arrangements to be seen. Your appointment will be prioritized based on the particular concern, and we will take steps to assist you in managing the condition until we are able to see you.

For more information about the services offered by our general dentists, call our office to book your appointment today.

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