Dental pain is impossible to ignore. From severe toothaches to jaw discomfort, you may wonder if you should visit your dentist immediately or whether you can wait until your next appointment. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 40% of people experienced oral pain in the last 12 months.

Ways you might experience a dental crisis include poor hygiene, sporting accidents, work-related injuries, and even rough play in and around your home can result in a dental emergency. Knowing the difference can save your teeth. 

Dental emergency

What Is a Dental Emergency?  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 40% of people experienced oral pain in the last 12 months. However, not every dental situation is considered an emergency. From severe pain, discomfort, and swelling, here is a list of the most common oral emergencies and what you need to know: 

  1. Inexplicable toothache. Consider a toothache your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. Until you can see your provider, try these methods at home to manage your toothache:
    Apply a cold compress
    – Rinse with warm salt water
    – Use over-the-counter medications to alleviate discomfort, including Ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, or Naproxen
  2. Bleeding gums. Occasional gum irritation is not necessarily a dental emergency. However, gums that won’t stop bleeding, especially when followed by pain and swelling, can signal underlying issues. 
  3. Swollen jaw or mouth. If you experience abrupt swelling for no apparent reason, it’s time for an emergency trip to the dentist. You could have an infection, lymph node irritation, or other problems that require professional treatment.  
  4. Exposed nerves. If you have exposed nerves, this will only get worse over time. Prevent further nerve damage, infections, or more extensive treatments by seeking assistance as soon as possible.
  5. Knocked-out tooth. Your provider can reinsert and preserve your tooth, but you must quickly take action. Use these steps before visiting your dentist:
    – Pick up your tooth carefully by the top and avoid touching the root
    – Rinse it without scrubbing
    – Reinsert in the socket, if possible
    – Place in milk or water if you’re unable to reinstate it
    – Immediately go to the dentist to increase the chance of saving your tooth
  6. Missing filling. The last thing you want is to break or chip your tooth. It can expose nerves, often leading to other issues. 
  7. Broken crown. If your crown breaks or falls off, it uncovers a higher risk for infections and damage. Scheduling an emergency appointment to replace the crown will help avoid needing a root canal, extraction, or other procedures.
  8. Abscessed tooth. As a potentially life-threatening condition, this infection can spread into your jaw, surrounding tissue, and the body. Here are signs to look out for:
    – Fever
    – Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
    – Persistent toothache
    – Tender lymph nodes in your neck
    – Facial swelling
    – Bumps on the gum near the infected tooth 
  9. Tooth sensitivity. As this is typically not considered an urgent oral issue, it should be examined sooner than later to ensure it’s nothing more serious. You can use over-the-counter toothpaste that reduces sensitivity
  10. Infections. If you’re experiencing periodic discomfort, this could be a sign of a dental infection. Symptoms can multiply, becoming more noticeable when trying to eat food. Other signs include facial or jaw swelling and a high fever.

Dental problems can sometimes lead to more significant issues if left untreated. See treatment if you meet any of the above criteria.

Accidents can happen anytime and place, and emergency care is equally as important as first-aid, so knowing what to do can go a long way. 

Why You Should Immediately Act During a Dental Emergency 

Not all oral pain requires urgent services. Please seek professional help promptly if you are having an oral health crisis. While it sounds unappealing to have a tooth extraction or oral surgery, emergency dental services offer various benefits, including: 

  • Saving your teeth 
  • Eliminating discomfort 
  • Preventing problems from multiplying 
  • Preserving dental appliances 
  • Conserving time and money

To help assess your problem, here is a list of questions to ask yourself before rushing to the dentist: 

  • Are you experiencing severe pain? Consistent pain and bleeding are signs of an emergency. 
  • Are you missing a tooth? Fast treatment results in higher chances of saving a tooth. 
  • Do you have any loose teeth? Even without pain, a loose tooth could indicate gum disease, injury, osteoporosis, etc.   
  • Do you have an infection? An abscess or infection in the mouth could be life-threatening, and treatment should not be delayed. 
  • Is your mouth bleeding? Any bleeding of the mouth could occur from infection, certain medications, or underlying health issues and requires immediate attention. 

Accidents can happen anytime and place, and emergency care is equally as important as first-aid, so knowing what to do can go a long way. 

Dental emergency

What Are Treatment Options? 

Treatments depend on your situation. In circumstances of severe toothaches, chips, or cracks, your provider might proceed with the following: 

  • Root canal 
  • Filling 
  • Extraction
  • Irrigation and antibiotic treatment 

On the other hand, if your tooth is broken, loose, or has fallen out, your dentist may perform: 

  • Filling
  • Root canal 
  • Splinting 
  • Reimplantation 
  • Antibiotic treatment 

At Anders Dental, we believe that a healthy outside starts from the inside. If you think you may have a dental emergency, please visit our website and fill out the contact form, or call us at 828.669.8781