What Is a Dental Emergency? 9 Signs You Are Having One

What Is a Dental Emergency? 9 Signs You Are Having One

Do you find yourself wondering, “What is a dental emergency?” Learn the signs your dental problem is immediate in this guide.

Each year around 1.65 million emergency room visits can be referred to a dental clinic. Hospitals don’t usually have the proper equipment or staff to address these issues, so patients typically get pain medications and antibiotics. If these problems aren’t addressed, the problem is likely to get worse.

Do you find yourself wondering, “What is a dental emergency?” Learn the signs your dental problem is immediate in this guide.

1. Severe Toothache

If your toothache is minor, you may be able to treat it at home for some relief. Some home treatments include rinsing with salt water, using a hydrogen peroxide rinse, peppermint tea bags, and a cold compress. You can also take over-the-counter medications, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, to help relieve pain.

For a more severe toothache, you should see your dentist as soon as you can. There are several reasons that can cause a toothache.

Your treatment will be different depending on the cause. This is why you need to see a dentist for a proper diagnosis.

Types of pain you should see a dentist for include pain lingering after temperature change or touch. For pain that gets worse after home treatment, don’t wait too long before visiting the dentist.

2. Painful Swelling

If your jaw is swollen, you could have an infection, lymph node issues, or cancer in some rare cases. Another sign of swollen jaw could also be gum disease. The salivary gland could also be infected, which happens when the salivary glands are blocked and prevent the saliva from breaking down food.

If your jaw is swollen, you should see an emergency dentist immediately if you also have these symptoms:

  • Bad taste in your mouth
  • Trouble breathing
  • Hard time swallowing
  • Fever

You should never ignore swelling that doesn’t go away after a day or two. A dentist can diagnose and treat the cause. 

3. Dental Abscess

If you have an abscessed tooth, it can be an extremely painful infection. These infections are usually at the tooth’s root. This happens when you don’t treat a cavity or if you have severe gum disease.

You can also get an abscess from trauma to your tooth. Abscessed tooth symptoms include bad taste in your mouth, pus, fever, and swollen glands.

These symptoms are similar to any other infection that is why you need to make sure it is diagnosed properly, so the infection is treated and drained if necessary.

4. Loose Tooth

An adult should not have wiggly or loose teeth like a child. Adult’s teeth are already grown and should remain sturdy. 

If your teeth are feeling loose, there could a few reasons. First, you may have injured the tooth, which can be painful. You should get your mouth checked after any sports, vehicle, or any other accident to the mouth.

You could also have an infection. Your dentist can see what type of infection and help treat it. Treating an infection early will help it stop spreading—and may help you from having to get the tooth extracted.

5. Bleeding Gums

You may see your gums bleed occasionally after flossing, and that’s not an emergency. It could be a sign of gingivitis or early gum disease.

If your gums are bleeding excessively and ache, you should see a dentist immediately. These are signs of gum disease. If you care for your teeth properly, your dentist will need to figure out what’s going on.

Catching any form of gum disease at the start helps keep your gums and teeth healthy.  If you wait too long, you may not be able to restore your teeth to a healthy state if your gum disease reaches the next stage. Your treatment depends on the stage of gum disease.

6. Broken Tooth

If you have a broken tooth or if your tooth got knocked out, you should see an emergency dentist for pain management. You don’t need to run to the dentist immediately if it is a small chip and you don’t have any pain.

If your entire tooth is knocked out, put the tooth in a cup of milk until you can get your emergency dental care. This can help preserve the tooth for the dentist to reinsert it if possible.

7. Persistent Canker Sore

Canker sores can be normal. They can happen a dozen times throughout the year for any person.

If the sore or any lesion lingers, it is time to go to the dentist. If you think it’s infected, you should go to the dentist immediately for treatment before it spreads.

8. Mouth Tastes Like Metal

Having the taste of metal in your mouth is a sign that your filling or crown is loose. You should get emergency dental care because you can get cavities or infection in that open space. 

Waiting too long may require a root canal to fix it. You need to get that space closed up and clear any infection before it gets worse.

9. Numb Tooth

For teeth that were painful and then went numb, this could mean the root is not infected. Not having any feeling in your tooth is a bad sign. It means that there is some damage to your nerves and roots, and you may need a root canal.

You should never ignore a toothache. Make note of any changes because this could mean you have an infection and it is spreading.

So, What is a Dental Emergency?

Issues with your mouth can be extremely painful and make your life miserable. Now you know what is a dental emergency and when you should seek dental care immediately. You should pay close attention to your mouth and monitor any changes, which could be a sign of more major issues.

If you have any of these symptoms, it’s time to see an experienced Aurora dentist. Summerbrook Dental approaches dental and orthodontic care differently than others. Patients are our top priority—we will work together to make sure you get the care you want and make you comfortable.

Contact us today to make an appointment. We will help you start smiling again and give you the best care and service.