Dental Emergency: When to Immediately Call Your Dentist

The number of dental-related emergency room visits has increased in the US. Leaving a dental emergency unattended could impact your oral health. Your pain could get worse over time, impacting your quality of life.

What is a dental emergency exactly, and how can you tell when it’s time to visit an emergency dental care clinic? Keep reading to find out.

In this guide, we’ll review everything you need to know about dental emergencies, along with a few examples you might experience. If any of these situations sound familiar, make sure to seek help right away.

Don’t live in pain! Instead, keep reading to learn more about emergency dental care.

What is a Dental Emergency?

A dental emergency is any situation that makes it seem like your life is in danger.

These situations could impact your future oral health. While some problems are small enough that you can wait, others require immediate care.

For example, you could lose a filling, break your jaw, or start bleeding. An abscess, partially dislodged tooth, or gum injury could indicate an emergency, too.

In a dental emergency, your symptoms can impact your life and future health.

Does the situation seem urgent and time-sensitive? Chances are, you need to visit an emergency dental care clinic.

What seems like a small dental problem could cause painful, expensive issues if left without treatment. It’s important to learn how to identify a dental emergency right away. Otherwise, you might not receive the care you need until the problem gets worse.

7 Common Dental Emergencies

Now that you know a little more about dental emergencies, let’s discuss a few examples. Here are a few situations when you might require emergency dental care.

Remember to seek help from an emergency dental care clinic right away if any of these sound familiar.

1. Cracked, Broken, or Chipped Teeth

Accidents such as auto collisions and sporting incidents can cause you to break, crack, or chip a tooth. If you damage a tooth in a dangerous situation, try to save any pieces.

Immediately wash your mouth and the pieces of your tooth with warm water. If you’re in pain, grab a cold compress. Press it against the affected side of your face.

The cold temperature can ease inflammation and swelling, which could help relieve your pain.

If you broke your tooth, you might start bleeding. In these situations, grab a small piece of gauze. Press it to the affected area and visit an emergency dental care clinic as soon as possible.

2. Tooth Abscess

If you have a dental or tooth abscess, request emergency dental services as soon as possible.

An abscess develops when a pocket of puss builds in a tooth. Over time, the abscess can build against your tooth’s root. In these cases, a periapical tooth abscess will form.

You can develop a periapical tooth abscess if you fail to get a dental cavity treated right away. You might also develop an abscess if you’re taking medications that cause your mouth to dry out. A high-sugar diet and poor dental hygiene can cause an abscess as well.

Symptoms of an abscess include:

  • Facial swelling
  • Fever
  • A salty or foul taste
  • Swollen or tender lymph nodes
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Sensitivity when chewing
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold
  • A throbbing toothache

Seek dental emergency services right away if you develop these symptoms.

If your dental abscess causes an infection, your mortality rate can increase to 40%.

An emergency dentist will drain the tooth abscess to remove the infection. They might suggest a root canal or pulling the tooth as treatment, too.

3. Gum Abscess

Pus can form on your gums as well. A gum abscess, or periodontal abscess, can cause serious health problems when left untreated.

You might experience:

  • Pus discharge
  • Fever
  • Pain when chewing
  • A bad taste in your mouth
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold
  • A loose tooth

The infection can build over time, which might weaken your immune system. Call an emergency dental care clinic right away if you have a gum abscess.

In the meantime, use proper oral hygiene to keep an abscess from forming.

4. Knocked-Out Tooth

An accident could cause you to lose a tooth. If you knock a tooth from its socket, seek help right away.

When you pick up the tooth, make sure to avoid touching the root. Pick it up by the crown instead, then rinse it with water.

Dry your mouth and place the tooth in a container of milk. Get an emergency appointment right away.

Your dentist could place the tooth back in without an implant if you react promptly.

5. Damaged Braces

Seek emergency dental care right away if you experience any issues with your braces. For example, you might have a loose band. Did a wire break from its bracket, or is it poking your cheek?

Try to adjust the wire on your own, if you can. Then, cover the tip with a cotton ball.

Don’t cut the wire. Instead, seek emergency dental services right away.

6. Lost Crown/Filling

If your crown falls out, avoid swallowing it. Instead, keep it handy and bring it to your appointment.

A lost filling or crown sometimes indicates tooth decay. Make sure to schedule an appointment right away. Otherwise, you could experience more pain.

The tooth could sustain more damage as well.

Meanwhile, your teeth will slowly start to migrate toward the missing space.

Use clove oil to remedy any tooth sensitivity you experience. Visit your dentist to have them put the crown back in place right away.

Otherwise, you can learn how to fix a broken crown here.

7. Bleeding Mouth

Are your gums bleeding when you brush or floss? In some cases, it could mean you’ve developed inflammation. You might have food particles trapped between your teeth, which could cause bacteria to spread.

When left untreated, plaque and tartar can form. You could develop gingivitis.

Rinse your mouth using salt water. If the bleeding continues after 15 minutes, call your dentist.

Dental Emergency: Call Your Emergency Dentist ASAP

To recap, what is a dental emergency? It’s a situation where your future oral health is at risk. If any of these situations sound familiar, visit an emergency dental care clinic right away.

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