Can You Tell What Is Considered a Dental Emergency?

Though everyone’s situation and dental history are unique, how can you tell you are experiencing a true dental emergency? By definition, a dental emergency requires immediate care from a dentist to prevent further damage or the possible loss of teeth. If you wait until a problem becomes severe, it may be too late to avoid further complications. If you are uncertain about what constitutes a dental emergency, the following article will clarify the differing degrees of urgency and available treatment options.

What exactly is a dental emergency?

Generally, a dental emergency is any situation in which uncontrollable bleeding, dental trauma, severe pain, or other symptoms that require immediate intervention occur. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your general dentist or emergency dentist.

Know when to get help for an unexpected dental condition.

Here are some of the most common reasons people seek emergency dentistry in Allen and Fairview. Below you’ll find common dental emergencies and the different types of urgent care recommended. Depending on each of the scenarios, each type of dental emergency is ranked on a scale of 1 to 3. Please note…The following urgency ranking should be used as a guideline and not as a replacement for professional attention. If you’re ever unsure about your dental emergency or have questions about severe dental pain, call your dentist for further guidance on whether you need to see a dentist immediately or soon.

  • 1 – Real dental emergency – Immediate dental care is needed for this type of dental emergency. The more time passes, the greater the risk of long-term damage to your teeth and gums.
  • 2 – Urgent dental emergency – We highly recommend you contact a dentist today to address an urgent dental issue. The ADA defines “urgent” dental care as necessary for issues that, while they aren’t life-threatening, require medical attention.
  • 3 – Serious dental emergency – Not as urgent as the other two, however it is recommended to seek dental treatment as soon as possible.

Broken tooth - 1

It is essential to address the problem immediately before the tooth becomes infected or risk losing the entire tooth. If it’s only a small break, a general dentist may be able to repair a small break with a white filling and crown, but serious breaks may call for a root canal. Call the dentist, describe the circumstances of the accident, and schedule an appointment for an exam and treatment. While waiting for your appointment, please follow these procedures:

  • Rinse your mouth with warm water
  • To reduce swelling, try applying a cold compress to the sore area.
  • Take acetaminophen to minimize pain

Knocked-out Tooth - 1

If you lose a tooth, whether in an accident or through a sports injury, contact your dentist for an emergency appointment immediately. If it’s a permanent tooth (adult tooth), your dentist may be able to put it back in, but the chances of that happening decrease dramatically after about two hours. The sooner you see your emergency dentist, the better your chances of saving your tooth and preventing tooth loss. If you lose a tooth, place the tooth in a container of milk to keep it moist and visit the dentist as soon as possible.

Toothache - 3

If you have a severe toothache, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as you can. A range of problems can cause toothaches, but they shouldn’t be ignored. In fact, a toothache can indicate a severe infection and can even spread to neighboring teeth if left unchecked. While we only rank a toothache as a 3, its urgency increases the longer you have it, and the more serious the underlying cause is (e.g., tooth decay, grinding teeth, a fracture, a damaged filling, or infected gums).

If you’re not seeing the dentist right away, you can manage the pain by taking over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen. You can also try to relieve pain by using an ice pack against the area where you’re experiencing pain. Do not apply heat to the affected area, which could make the pain worse.

Dislodged Crown - 2

If you lose a dental crown, it is advisable not to chew on this tooth until you have seen a dentist. Without the protection of the dental crown, the exposed pulp tissue of the tooth will be sensitive. To minimize further damage, arrange to see a dentist as soon as possible.

Missing Filling - 2

Without a filling to reinforce the tooth, your tooth is vulnerable to further damage, such as being broken or chipped. If a nerve is exposed, you may experience other dental problems that require immediate treatment. Although there is no need for immediate alarm, you should call your dentist to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

Abscessed Tooth - 2

If you have a tooth abscess, also known as a dental abscess, seek immediate treatment. Tooth abscesses are often accompanied by a fever, tooth sensitivity to hot and cold, tooth pain, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, swelling in the face, and a pimple-like swelling on the gums near the infected tooth. Tooth abscesses are typically caused by bacterial infections that inflame the tooth pulp due to cavities, gum disease, or tooth fractures.

Untreated abscesses can spread infection throughout the body and be quite painful. If a regular dentist is unavailable, seek an emergency dentist for your dental care.

Common questions on restorative dentistry

Having a dental emergency is stressful. To avoid this, there are certain things you can do.

  • First, brush your teeth twice a day with toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush for two minutes. Floss daily to remove bacteria and food particles between your teeth.
  • Second, maintain a healthy diet to keep your teeth strong and avoid tooth decay. Limit snacks, eat more fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of water.
  • Third, visit your dentist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings at least once every six months.

This will help your dentist catch problems early and prevent tooth decay and gum disease like gingivitis.
By following these simple guidelines, you can avoid an emergency dental visit and keep your smile in great shape!

If you don’t have a dentist you see regularly, use the tool on the American Dental Association’s (ADA) website to find a dentist office near you. In general, dentists often keep time open in the afternoons for emergency walk-in patients, meaning you’ll be able to get care on the same day if you have an emergency situation.

For dental problems occurring outside of normal office hours, weekend, or holiday emergencies, dental patients may contact their dentists through a recorded message that provides instructions for situations requiring immediate care. You can also visit a dental office specifically for after-hour dental services like an emergency dental clinic.

Come see our dentist today for emergency care

If you need emergency dental treatment, have a loose tooth, or are interested in our dental restoration services, give our dentist in the Allen & Fairview area a call. Our experienced dentist and team can help you navigate the process from beginning to end and go over your treatment options.

You can reach us at our Fairview, TX dental office to schedule an in-person consultation with us today – 972-468-1440. Our dental office is located in Fairview, Texas, and our patients visit us from across the surrounding areas, including Allen, Plano, McKinney, and Lucas.

Rest and relax after tooth removal