When is a dental issue an emergency? There is no pain quite like a toothache, and it can be fairly alarming to feel such a sensation. What if there is no pain at all, but there are other worrying symptoms? Here is what you need to know when you might be faced with a dental emergency.

What Constitutes a Dental Emergency?

A chipped tooth that is painless, a lost filling or a mildly achy tooth are not urgent dental issues. These issues are still concerning, but you can just make a normal appointment to have them addressed. However, some things require immediate treatment. If you experience any of the following, you could be experiencing a true dental emergency.

  • Bulges, knots and swelling in the gums: Any of these could be a sign of an abscess or trauma to the root of the tooth. An abscess will sometimes be accompanied by pain in the face and jaw, as well as when biting down (1). Abscesses are not only risky for your tooth but also dangerous systematically and should be treated as an emergency.
  • Severe pain: Any time pain is unbearable, it is an emergency. Extreme sensitivity to hot or cold or excessive pain following facial trauma or a chipped tooth should be addressed right away.
  • Facial or mouth swelling: Swelling can be a sign of quite a few issues, including injury, infection or abscesses. Swelling that is unexplained or accompanied by pain is cause enough for concern and is a reason to contact your dentist ASAP.
  • Loose or knocked-out teeth: Facial trauma can cause loose, cracked or totally knocked-out teeth. If you have had a tooth knocked out, collect the tooth, gently clean it without touching the root and, if possible, attempt to place it back in the socket (2). Then, immediately contact your dentist. If you are unable to do that, keep it moist and still contact your dentist right away for an action plan.  You can keep the tooth moist in milk, saliva or, if available Hank’s balanced salt solution.
  • Tongue, lip or cheek injury: A bite to the tongue or an injury that causes a cut can bleed quite heavily. This becomes an emergency if you have bitten through your tongue or you cannot stop the bleeding in a reasonable amount of time. In this case, go to the emergency room (2).
  • Bone injury: If you think you may have a broken jaw, this is a medical emergency and should be treated in a hospital emergency department right away.

Conclusion: Dental Emergencies Can Be Serious

These emergencies should be treated immediately if possible. If you feel like you may be experiencing a urgent dental issue, do not wait, contact us immediately for help.

Referenced Source(s)
(1) https://www.yourdentistryguide.com/emergency/
(2) https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/dental-care-concerns/dental-emergencies