What Is A Dental Emergency?



We all know that regular dental care is important, but what happens when you have a dental emergency?

Emergency dental care can help alleviate your pain and save you time and money by getting you into a dentist’s office right away.

In this blog post, I would like to quickly cover just what constitutes an ‘emergency’ in the world of dentistry— and how best to deal with one should it happen to you or someone close to you.



What Is Considered A Dental Emergency?


A dental emergency is a situation that requires immediate attention, usually because of pain or the threat of further damage. 

For example, if you have an abscess causing you severe pain, you need to see your dentist right away as a medical GP will not be able to treat the problem.

If not managed promptly, infections can spread throughout the body causing serious or life threatening effects. 

The most common dental emergencies are



When to Seek Emergency Dental Care?


If you are experiencing a dental emergency, it is important to seek care as soon as possible. 

Waiting too long can worsen the problem and result in more expensive treatment. 

In addition, if you are in pain or discomfort, do not wait until tomorrow or later that day to get help! 

It is always best to err on the side of caution when dealing with a dental crisis of any kind so that your teeth can be repaired properly and quickly at an affordable price.



Broken Tooth


A broken tooth should be treated as soon as possible by a dentist.

If you suspect that your tooth may be cracked or broken, see a dentist within 24 hours of the injury so they can determine whether or not treatment is needed. Your dentist will help stabilize the damaged area and protect it from further harm while they make arrangements to repair the damage at their office or refer you to another specialist who can fix your problem more quickly.

If a tooth has been knocked out, pick up the tooth by the crown and avoid touching the root. It is best to replant it immediately and see your dentist as soon as possible. If you are unable to replant the tooth, quickly place it in a cup of milk or saline – if neither option is available, place the tooth in the owner’s mouth and seek dental treatment immediately. 



Tooth Abscess


If you have a tooth abscess, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Pain and swelling in the mouth and/or face
  • Swollen lymph nodes (glands)
  • A bad taste in your mouth (due to pus)
  • Fever

Other symptoms of this condition include nausea and headache.


Soft Tissue (Gum) Injuries


The most common soft tissue injuries that a patient may experience are:

  • Abrasions. This is the term used to describe minor cuts and scrapes to your gums and mouth lining. These can be treated with antiseptic wash, bandages and/or stitches as needed.
  • Lacerations (cuts). Cuts can happen due to falls, accidentally biting your lips or cheeks or other activities such as baseball practice or karate classes. They can become infected if not properly managed so it’s important to get it checked as deep cuts may require stitching for optimal healing. 





If you experience toothache, this may be due to dental disease. The most common causes include:

  • Cavities (also called caries) are areas of decay on the surface of a tooth caused by bacteria that feed on sugars in your diet.
  • An abscess is an infected pocket of fluid that forms when bacteria collects inside the gum tissue or bone surrounding a tooth root. Abscesses can be painful and require treatment by your dentist to prevent serious complications such as infection spreading into other parts of the body.
  • Inflammation in the mouth caused by food packing, bacteria or viruses may also cause pain and swelling around one or more teeth.


Dental emergencies can be scary and painful, but by calling the right dentist in time, you can help alleviate your pain and save you both time and money.


It’s important to note that the sooner you seek treatment, the better your chances are of getting your tooth back in place and avoiding further complications.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms or pain, call a dentist right away:

  • Severe toothache
  • Jaw pain
  • A loose tooth or broken crowns
  • Extreme sensitivity to heat or cold





Whatever the dental emergency, a trip to the dentist is always recommended. Not only is it better to get treatment sooner rather than later, but waiting could also lead to more serious problems in the future. 

If you are experiencing any kind of discomfort with your teeth or gums, then it is highly recommended to seek help! 

The Author 


This medical article has been written and medically reviewed by Dr Thira Wong. Dr Thira Wong is a general dentist that has a special focus on sports dentistry and restorative procedures for dental trauma.