What Is Emergency Dentistry?

Did you lose a tooth? Are you bleeding from the mouth? You’re not alone.

In fact, the number of dental-related emergency room visits has increased in the US. Emergencies happen every day. Not every accident falls under emergency dentistry, though.

What is emergency dentistry, and when should you call for help?

Keep reading to find out. In this guide, we’ll review a few dental emergency examples you might encounter. Then, you’ll know exactly when it’s time to visit your emergency dentist.

Otherwise, you might hesitate to get the help you need, when you need it most.

Keep reading to learn more about emergency dentistry procedures today.

Emergency Dentistry

First, let’s answer the question that’s likely on your mind: what is emergency dentistry?

Dental emergencies include any situation where you think your life is potentially in danger. During a dental emergency, it’s possible the situation could impact your future health. In these instances, it’s important to visit a professional dentist right away.

Their immediate services will ensure the situation doesn’t impact your current or future health.

If the situation seems time-sensitive and urgent, it’s likely an emergency.

When asking yourself, “what is emergency dentistry,” it helps to know what symptoms to watch for. A few example dental emergencies include:

  • A broken jaw
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • A lost or broken filling
  • An abscess or serious infection in the mouth
  • Swelling or knots on the gums
  • Swelling around the face
  • Loose teeth
  • Severe pain

Dental problems that require immediate treatment are considered emergencies. If any of these situations sound familiar, don’t wait to seek help. Instead, seek treatment right away.

Otherwise, a severe infection or excessive bleeding could prove life-threatening.

Also read: How To Keep Your Teeth Dazzling White?

What Isn’t an Emergency?

If you can wait a few days before visiting a professional dentist, the situation likely isn’t an emergency. If you can take care of yourself for the time being, it’s likely not a critical situation.

For example, let’s say you have a cracked or chipped tooth. If the fracture is painful and leaves sharp fragments, it could cause oral trauma. If the tooth is only chipped but doesn’t hurt, it’s not an emergency.


In situations when tooth pain isn’t severe, you can usually wait for treatment.

Make sure to check for an abscess. You might develop bumps on the gums, a high fever, or swelling of the face. If you develop an abscess, visit an emergency dentist right away.

Did you lose a crown or filling? In most cases, you can wait a few days before seeing a professional dentist.

If you’ve lost a crown, you can use denture adhesive or dental cement, which is available over-the-counter.

Examples of Emergency Dental Problems

What is emergency dentistry and what kind of situations does an emergency dentist handle? Here are a few examples.

1. Tooth Abscess

Remember, you should visit an emergency dentist if you develop a tooth abscess.

An abscess is a pocket of puss that’s built within the tooth. The abscess could infect your tooth’s root. You might develop an abscess if you didn’t get a cavity treated in time.

Some medications can cause abscesses as well. Otherwise, a diet that’s high in sugar can cause an abscess to form.

You could experience symptoms such as:

  • A throbbing toothache
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Fever
  • Facial swelling
  • Swollen or tender lymph nodes
  • Sensitivity when chewing
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
  • A salty or foul taste

If these symptoms sound familiar, visit a professional dentist right away. Otherwise, the abscess can cause an infection. Your mortality rate could increase to 40% as a result.

Instead, you can visit an emergency dentist to have the abscess drained. You might require a root canal as well.

2. Broken Teeth


A car crash or sporting accident could cause you to chip, break, or crack a tooth. If an accident occurs, try to save what pieces of the tooth you can find.

Then, wash your mouth with warm water. Place a cold compress against your cheek to minimize swelling.

If you start bleeding, press a small piece of gauze against the area.

3. Gum Abscess

A gum or periodontal abscess can develop if pus forms on the gums. You could experience symptoms such as:

  • Loose teeth
  • Fever
  • Pain when chewing
  • A bad taste in your mouth
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Pus discharge

An infection could weaken your immune system. Make sure to contact a professional dentist if you experience these dental problems right away.

4. Damaged Braces

If you experience any issues with your braces, consider contacting your dentist right away. For example, a wire could break away from a bracket. The metal wire could poke your cheek or tear the inside of your mouth.

Cover the tip of the wire with a cotton ball until you can see a dentist.

5. Knocked Out Teeth


An accident could knock a tooth out as well. If the tooth is removed from the socket, visit a dentist immediately.

Make sure to avoid touching the tooth’s root when you pick it up. Collect it by the crown instead. Then, rinse it out with water.

Avoiding Potential Emergencies

Try to remain proactive regarding your oral hygiene. Otherwise, make sure to schedule regular appointments with your dentist.

Your dentist can check for signs of gum disease, infection, or decay. Regular visits can help you catch a potential issue before it gets worse. You could avoid a dental emergency as a result.

Your dentist can then develop a customized treatment plan with your needs in mind.

Make sure to find an emergency dentist in your area like, just in case. They can help you prepare for potential emergencies. You’ll have peace of mind knowing they’re only a phone call away.

What is Emergency Dentistry?: Know When It’s Time to Call

To recap, what is emergency dentistry? It’s any situation when you need immediate dental care. Don’t hesitate to request the help you need.

Responding promptly to a dental emergency can help you avoid bigger problems in the future.

Searching for more tips and tricks? We can help.

Explore our latest guides today to get started.

Cheryl Henson

Cheryl Henson is a passionate blogger and digital marketing professional who loves writing, reading, and sharing blogs on various topics.

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