What is Considered a Dental Emergency?

Dental emergencies are nearly impossible to ignore. They usually present themselves with pain, swelling, and discomfort. They also have the ability to turn into more significant issues if left unattended. The best thing a patient can do when facing a dental emergency is to see a dentist right away. 

If you are here, you might be experiencing a dental emergency. We understand that it can be challenging to determine if your pain, swelling, and discomfort are signs of an emergency or signs of an issue that can be dealt with the following day. Below is a list of questions that will help you determine if you need to see a dentist right away: 

  • Are you in severe pain? Experiencing severe pain is never normal. This is a great indicator of your need for dental assistance right away. 
  • Do you have an infection? Infections can be very dangerous. They can turn into life-threatening moments. Treatment for infections should not wait!
  • Has a tooth been lost? A tooth lost is an emergency, mainly because the tooth can be saved the sooner a dentist can get to work on it.
  • Is there a tooth that is loose? Adults should not experience loose teeth. This is a serious problem even in the cases where pain is not present. Seeking professional help right away is the best course of action for this situation.
  • Are you bleeding from your mouth? Bleeding could be a potential sign of an emergency. We recommend that you contact our office if you are experiencing bleeding. 

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, please contact our office immediately. We are happy to help you navigate through the next steps to ensure that your emergency does not turn into a bigger problem. 

While an emergency can vary amongst many different things, we have found that there are 5 specific instances that tend to be the most common reasons for our patients to visit us unexpectedly. They are as follows:

Unexplained Toothache

Toothaches are not normal. They also should not be disregarded. A toothache is a message from your body that something is wrong in the mouth. It is important that you do not wait for your toothache to get worse before seeking dental assistance. While you wait for your appointment, you can try the following remedies to soothe the ache: 

  • Take over-the-counter pain medication
  • Rinse the mouth with salt water
  • Apply a cold compress to the area 


Bleeding or Swollen Gums

Experiencing occasional bleeding from the gums from irritation is not a reason for panic. Having said that, gums that won’t stop bleeding and come hand-in-hand with pain and swelling is definitely a red flag. This is often an indication of an underlying issue which requires intervention. 

Swollen Mouth or Swollen Jaw

Is your mouth or jaw swollen for no apparent reason? This is, without a doubt, a strong indication that you should be booking an emergency visit. A swollen jaw or mouth is usually a sign of infection, irritation to the lymph nodes, or some other issue that needs immediate intervention. Please do not delay booking an appointment to get treatment.

Exposed Nerves

Exposed nerves are incredibly painful. There is never a reason to delay seeking professional help when dealing with exposed nerves. Delaying treatment will only make the situation more severe and painful. There is also room for the exposed nerve to turn into an infection, further nerve damage, or a more extensive dental issue if treatment is prolonged. 

Knocked-Out Tooth

Heavy impact accidents happen a lot more frequently than they should. We have seen many patients that have incurred tooth loss from heavy impact accidents. The main feeling they have in common is shock. If you are in that position, take a deep breath! Pick up the phone and give us a call. The faster you book your appointment, the higher the chances that we can reinsert your tooth. Please take the below steps for your best chance at having your tooth reinserted: 

  • Pick up your tooth very carefully
  • Rinse it without scrubbing it
  • If you can, reinsert the tooth back into its socket
  • If the above fails, insert the tooth in a container of milk or water
  • Get to our office right away! 


Dental emergencies can be very difficult to experience. We want to remind you that while the information above encompasses the top 5 reasons we see patients for dental emergencies, it does not mean these are the only reasons. There is a wide array of reasons why patients book emergency visits. If you answer yes to the initial questions we asked, please give us a call. We are here to help guide you through your emergency!

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