When To See Your Dentist: Quick Tips

Tooth or gum pain can be a nuisance, whether it’s a major dental emergency or something less serious and temporary.

Knowing when to visit your local dentist office is helpful if you have any degree of pain.

In general, it’s recommended that you visit your dentist about three or four times a year if you have a high risk of dental issues. However, once or twice each year is more realistic for most of us.

You are probably safe waiting until your next scheduled dental checkup if you have an issue that doesn’t seem to be an emergency. This includes discomfort or sensitivity in your gums or teeth that aren’t too painful and lasts just a day or two before you feel better.


If your tooth aches you may just need a cavity, and it isn’t necessarily a dental emergency. Mild pain or tolerable toothache shouldn’t be regarded as a 911 level emergency. But of course, you’ll want to visit the dentist before the pain gets worse or it becomes a more serious problem.

Ice, a pain relieving gel, a cold compress or over the counter medication are all effective remedies if you have a toothache.

Sensitive Teeth

Brushing your teeth too hard can cause sensitivity to cold or hot foods. And an exposed root surface, a filling that’s loose or some decay in your tooth can also cause your teeth to be overly sensitive.

Avoiding foods that are acidic, cold or hot can help to alleviate any sensitivity issues, although you should discuss your sensitive teeth at your next dental office visit. Talk to your dentist before using any teeth whitening products if you have sensitive teeth, and use a toothpaste that’s specifically made for sensitivity.

Bleeding Or Swollen Gums

Infection, a dental abscess, gingivitis or even gum disease are all possible conditions if you notice your gums are swollen or bleeding. Again, something to discuss with your dentist.

Bleeding or swelling gums can also be a result of plaque building up on your teeth. And use a brush with soft bristles, as a hard bristled brush can also lead to swollen or bleeding gums.

Your dentist can help to determine what the cause is if you still have swelling or bleeding after making these changes.

Cracked Or Chipped Teeth

You should immediately go to the dentist if you have a cracked or chipped tooth or one of your teeth has completely fallen out. A tooth can break or chip if you chew on a hard piece of food or candy, and trauma to the head or mouth can also be a possible cause.

It’s possible for a broken tooth to become infected if you don’t get treatment. And serious health issues are a possibility if the infection spreads to the neck or the head.

There are various solutions available to treat a cracked or chipped tooth, and they can potentially last up to 30 years. Your dentist may consider dental implants, a root canal, a crown or veneer, or perhaps composite bonding.

Keep your tooth safe in a small container or plastic bag if possible, if you knocked a tooth completely out of your mouth. The tooth should not become dry, and a stained tooth can be safely rinsed with milk. If this happens, see your dentist as soon as you can; it’s important that the tooth is replaced in its socket as soon as possible.

You’ll need to visit your dental office straight away, or at least within half an hour if the missing tooth is broken into pieces or you just can’t find it.

Severe and Prolonged Pain

It’s important to visit your dentist as soon as you can if you experience toothache or pain that is severe or lasts for more than a couple of days. You may have severely infected pulp tissue inside your tooth, and the decay may be close to affecting a nerve.

The infection can be prevented from spreading by the use of antibiotics. And your dentist may treat the problem with one of several methods, including an implant, crown or composite bonding.


Your dentist or a doctor should also look at any damage to your mouth or cheeks caused by a cut or laceration, as these can be caused by direct trauma. Antibiotics can treat injuries to the mouth, although you may need stitches too, and these injuries can actually spread infection through the bloodstream if they aren’t treated effectively.

Preventative Treatment and Care

The best way to prevent dental issues that aren’t emergencies is to practice good oral hygiene and dental care, although of course accidents, injuries and chipped teeth can’t always be avoided.

Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride to brush your teeth thoroughly twice each day. You should have your teeth cleaned and have a general check-up of your teeth and gums annually. It’s also a good idea to find a dentist in your area that you are comfortable with and have a good relationship with; it means you are more likely to get timely treatment if you ever have a true dental in Richmond emergency.

Dr. Ryan Kaltio
6091 Gilbert Rd #500
Richmond, BC V7C 5L9
(604) 270-9988