Dental Tips |3 min read

What Is Considered a Dental Emergency?

Female holding cheek with toothache

Are you experiencing some discomfort in your mouth?

Is this just an issue you need to deal with, or is it something more serious?

If you do not know the common signs of an emergency dental situation, you may be unable to distinguish between an issue and a more serious condition.

Dental emergencies can happen even if you have been taking good care of your smile all these years.

This article will help you decide if and when to call immediately for emergency dentistry treatment and what to do.

What is a dental emergency?

While dental emergencies are more common than you may think, only some dental problems should be considered an emergency.

The key to successful emergency dental care is recognizing when you should call a dentist to schedule an appointment or go directly into their office.

Some problems can wait until your next appointment to receive treatment, while others need immediate pain or bleeding control intervention.

Below are considered emergency dentistry issues and would require urgent dental care:

  • Knocked-out tooth
  • If the damage is causing pain or discomfort
  • Chipped or cracked tooth
  • If the problem is affecting other teeth or causing discomfort
  • Dental abscess
  • Extreme tooth pain
  • Bleeding Gums

What to do during dental emergencies

Knocked-out tooth

Try to keep the tooth moist by placing it between your gums and cheek or in milk, and go to your dentist’s office as soon as possible.

Chipped or cracked tooth

Cracked or fractured teeth can not be saved in case of severe fractures. Clean your mouth with warm water and call your dentist for an emergency appointment.

Dental abscess

An abscessed tooth is a dangerous infection. It could cause a high fever, a swollen face, and consistent toothache. A saltwater rinse may help relieve pain until you see an emergency dentist.

Extreme tooth pain

Rinse your mouth with warm water and floss to remove food debris. To treat any possible swelling, place a cold compress or ice pack wrapped in a towel on the outside of the cheek and call your dentist.

Bleeding gums

If your gums are bleeding, visit an emergency dentist for a dental examination.

If the bleeding was caused by dental trauma or injury to the gum tissue, apply a cold compress on the affected area to relieve pain.

What’s not considered a dental emergency?

Often, issues that seem urgent at first can wait for a couple of days if you know how to take care of them.

Broken tooth

If you have a broken tooth that is not hurting, don’t worry; it is not an emergency.

It is only an emergency if it causes severe pain or has left sharp fragments that can injure the inside of your mouth.

Minor toothache

A toothache treatment can be delayed if the pain is not severe. However, you may want to seek urgent care immediately for signs such as high fever or swollen gums.

Lost fillings or crowns

You can fix a lost filling or crown in the interim. You could replace your dental crown with over-the-counter dental cement or denture adhesive until you can visit your dentist.

To discuss your worries or concerns, either give us a call or schedule an appointment today.


All Smiles Dentistry is proud to serve the people of Lake Stevens and Greater Snohomish County.

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