What is Considered a Dental Emergency?

Dental Emergency InfographicWhen there is severe damage to your teeth, trauma to your mouth or face, bleeding from your mouth or extreme pain, it likely means a dental emergency and usually requires surgery. Our dental office should be the first person you call is you suspect you have a dental emergency. These types of emergencies take into account the condition of your teeth.

To see if you are experiencing a dental emergency, it helps to answer the following questions:

  • Are you bleeding from the mouth?
  • Are you in severe pain or experience pain when biting down or having cold or hot foods and beverages?
  • Do you have any loose teeth?
  • Have you been hit in the face or mouth?
  • Do you have any swelling in the mouth or facial area?
  • Do you have any bulges, swelling or knots on your gums?

A “yes” answer to any of these questions means you may have a dental emergency and should call our office immediately.

Common Dental Emergencies

Knocked-Out Tooth

When you have a tooth that has been knocked out, it is important to call us right away. Quick action will increase the chances that your tooth will be able to be preserved and reinserted by our dentists.

If you have a knocked out tooth, be gentle with handling it. Be sure to pick it up by the crown, not the root. Gently clean it, but don’t scrub it. If you’re able to, gently put the tooth back into the socket and hold it in until you get to the dentist.

Loose Tooth, Tooth Out of Alignment

If one of your teeth is lose or out of alignment, you should call us. In the meantime, you can hold the tooth in its original position with you finger, putting slight pressure on it if needed. You can also bite down to help keep the tooth in place.  Whatever you do, don’t try to force the tooth in.

Cracked or Fractured Teeth

A cracked or fractured tooth is a dental emergency that requires immediate attention. If a tooth is cracked or fractured, it usually means that there is damage that has occurred both on the inside and outside of the tooth. If the fracture is severe, the tooth may not be able to be saved. If you have a fractured tooth, follow these steps after you call your dentist:

  • Use warm water to gently clean and rinse out your mouth.
  • If your tooth fracture is caused by trauma to your face, you can apply a cold compress to the area to reduce the swelling.
  • Take Tylenol or Advil or other brand acetaminophen to relieve the pain. Don’t take aspirin or ibuprofen.
  • Do not apply topical painkiller to your gums as it can burn and irritate the gum tissue.

Tissue Injury and Facial Pain

If you incur any kind of injury inside of your mouth that includes lacerations, tears and puncture wounds to the mouth, lips, cheeks and tongue, you have a dental emergency. If you experience any type of tissue injury, it is important to clean the area immediately with warm water. If your mouth is bleeding, place pressure on the wound using gauze. Bleeding from inside the mouth requires you to see an oral surgeon immediately.

Take acetaminophen to relieve any facial pain you experience as a result of a tissue injury. Don’t take aspirin or ibuprofen as they can cause excessive bleeding.

Other Dental Emergencies

Any severe infection or abscess in the mouth is a dental emergency and requires immediate attention. Some infections can be deadly if not treated right away. An infected tooth may warrant a root canal by our dentists. The root canal will allow the abscess to drain.

Your wellbeing and comfort as well as salvaging your teeth are all important. If you experience severe pain in and around your mouth, have had trauma to your face or mouth, have bleeding from inside your mouth, have loose or misaligned teeth or fractured teeth, you likely have a dental emergency. Be sure to have our contact information so we can quickly assist you in your dental emergency.


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