Dental Emergencies and What You Need to Know

Last updated Wednesday, October 5th, 2022

Dental Emergencies and What You Need to Know

Dental care may not be a number one priority in your life. But a miserable tooth can quickly change your mind. All it takes is one oopsie or uh oh. Then those chompers can easily become your first concern.

Dental emergencies can happen to anyone. Unfortunately, a tooth doesn’t care if you’re on vacation or working on a deadline before getting sick. A minor toothache may not be the end of the world. But when discomfort turns to hard-core pain, it’s time to seek professional help.

Here at Smiles by Hanna, we take your dental health seriously. Each of our caring team members jump right into action in an emergency. Our own Dr. Mansoor is skilled in professional dental arts. Together, we use our cutting-edge resources to assess the issue and correct the problem.

What is Considered a Dental Emergency?

An inconvenient toothache can strike at any time, but is it an emergency? Possibly. Dental emergencies can appear when there is:

  • Bleeding. It’s never a good sign if blood begins oozing from your mouth. This crisis can frazzle you, especially when the cause is unknown.
  • Infection. Fever, swelling, a bad taste and/or pus leakage can all indicate a dental infection. Treatment is critical whether your gums, teeth or bone is infected.
  • Pain. We’re not talking about discomfort, like what you get when you’ve stubbed a toe. Dental emergencies can cause severe pain. Throbbing, pounding and/or searing pain that make everyday tasks unbearable fall into this category.
  • Trauma. If a vehicle accident, fight, fall or sports injury has dealt your mouth a blow, time can be your enemy. Teeth may be loose, cracked or broken. A tooth may even have come out completely.

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What is Not a Dental Emergency?

Pain in the mouth may not always result in a dental emergency. When routine care is postponed or neglected, teeth are left vulnerable. Bypassing oral health tasks like brushing and flossing also put your teeth and gums at risk. When teeth aren’t cared for as they should be, they’re likely to cause trouble at some point.

Example: Ed sees his dentist for a regular check-up. He is told to have a cavity filled. He decides to wait. One night he wakes up with excruciating pain from that tooth.

Ed failed to take care of his tooth. Now there’s inflammation. Even though he’s experiencing pain, an emergency visit could have been avoided.

What Are Some Examples of a Dental Emergency?

Wondering if you’re experiencing a dental emergency? Your best bet is to reach out to Smiles by Hanna. A professional opinion can put your mind at ease.

Some situations that call for an emergency visit include:

  • Damage. Quick action may be able to save a cracked, broken, chipped or loose tooth. Save tooth fragments in milk and bring them to your appointment.
  • Exposed Root. When a tooth’s root is exposed, the nerve is out in the open. This situation can cause debilitating pain that needs treatment right away.
  • Intense Toothache. A sharp pain coming from a tooth may need prompt attention, especially when it comes out of nowhere. This is not an instance where your teeth became irritated after enjoying a frozen treat.
  • Missing Tooth. Your mouth begs for an emergency visit if a tooth gets knocked out or becomes detached. Although often classified as nonurgent, the same goes for restorative and cosmetic treatments like crowns, fillings, veneers and bridges unless they are causing pain.
  • Soft Tissue Injury. It’s not hard for the inside of the mouth to get accidentally cut or torn. Injured gums, tongue, cheeks and even around your lips may need dental expertise.
  • Unexplained Swelling. If your mouth or jaw blows up like a balloon for no reason, then an emergency visit is the way to go.

Chipped or Cracked Tooth

A cracked, chipped or fractured tooth can cause even cool cats to freak out. If the damage is large, causing pain or close to the gumline, then emergency treatment is probably best. Hairline fractures and small chips need professional help, just not immediately. You’ll just have to be extra cautious with what you’re chewing in the meantime. Hint: that means no snacking on jawbreakers or ice!

Abscessed Tooth

A tooth abscess can be downright dangerous. Ignoring this problem puts your mouth at risk and can threaten your entire well-being. If prompt dental attention isn’t sought, the infection could spread.

Pain and swelling typically accompany an abscess. The source of all this agony is a pocket of pus somewhere around the tormented tooth. A bacterial infection has taken root.

An abscessed tooth is not going to get better with time. The pain will only worsen. Don’t wait. Seek treatment- now!

Knocked-out Tooth

Unlike baby teeth, adult teeth are supposed to last. Mother Nature doesn’t provide another set to humans like she does to sharks. If a permanent tooth comes out, it’s a bona fide emergency.

Highly skilled dentists like Dr. Mansoor aren’t magicians. The best chances of saving your tooth come from getting into the dental office immediately. Every minute your tooth is out of the socket lessens the likelihood of rescue.

How do I Set up a Dental Emergency Appointment?

Contact Smiles by Hanna at the first sign of trouble. Clients like you are our top priority. We’ll do what we can to get you the assistance you need.

What Should I Expect from my Emergency Appointment?

The area in question is carefully examined. Dr. Mansoor can share her findings with you once the source of the problem is discovered. A temporary solution may be offered if time or supplies are in short supply. Anesthetic may be given before work is done.

Plans for a more permanent solution can be made if necessary. But the immediate issue can be handled. Some instructions or advice may be given to follow until your next appointment.

Frequently Asked Dental Emergency Questions

Does a toothache count as an emergency?

Is every toothache an emergency? No. But a toothache can turn into an emergency.

If you experience minor discomfort from hot, cold, or sweet foods from time to time, chances are this isn’t an urgent matter. If you begin having throbbing pain from a certain tooth, that could be entirely different.

You really won’t know the extent of the damage until you have an exam. Don’t feel like gambling? Call us right away!

What is an acute dental emergency?

This situation is serious. Professional attention is urgent. Some acute dental emergencies include:

  • Abscessed tooth
  • Severe pain
  • A tooth that is knocked or fallen out (partial and full)

Is a black tooth an emergency?

If a tooth breaks or cracks, you may be able to see the inside of it. When dark colors like black or brown are seen here, there’s potential damage. Tooth decay may be to blame.

Unless there are massive amounts of pain accompanying a black tooth, it’s probably not an emergency. You’ll need to get into the dental office as quickly as possible though.

What is the most common dental emergency?

One of the most frequent plights that cause folks to seek emergency dental care is a toothache. This pain can stem from all sorts of problems present in the mouth. When a toothache comes on strong, you can’t live your best life until there is a relief- and that comes from Smiles by Hanna.

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