what qualifies as dental emergency

How to Know If You Need Emergency Dental Care

When a dental problem occurs at an inconvenient time (like the middle of the night) it can be tempting to put off calling the dentist. However, some dental problems require immediate treatment to prevent further issues. Understanding what qualifies as a dental emergency can help you preserve your oral health and save your smile. 

At Lifetime Family Dental, we want to provide the care you need as quickly as possible, so we offer emergency dental care. Continue reading to find out when tooth pain, missing fillings, and other problems count as dental emergencies.

What qualifies as a dental emergency?

Without immediate treatment, certain types of dental emergencies can lead to tooth loss, infections, and other serious complications. Contact your dentist immediately if you experience any of the following problems:

  • Tooth abscess
  • Severe toothache
  • Loose or knocked-out tooth
  • Broken teeth
  • Your dental crown, bridge, or filling fell out
  • Bleeding from the mouth that doesn’t stop
  • Large cracks or chips in teeth, especially if painful

Not every dental concern is an emergency, but it’s still a good idea to seek treatment as soon as possible when a problem occurs. Non-emergency dental problems that can wait a couple of days include:

Six Common Types of Dental Emergencies

1: Severe Tooth Pain

One common type of dental problem that can’t be ignored is a severe toothache. Tooth pain can be a result of a variety of oral problems and will likely grow worse over time. An emergency dental visit provides quick relief and the opportunity to diagnose and treat the problem early on. 

2: Loose or Knocked-Out Tooth

Whether your permanent tooth falls out on its own or gets knocked out, you’ll need to act quickly in order to save the tooth. It’s important to treat missing teeth sooner rather than later to prevent your other teeth from shifting and becoming more vulnerable to tooth decay. If your tooth is loose but has not fallen out, emergency dental care is still required in order to preserve it. 

3: Excessive Bleeding

Continuous, extreme, or unexplained bleeding in your mouth, especially with swelling or pain, is considered a dental emergency. Bleeding gums after brushing or flossing your teeth is a sign of gum disease. Having gum disease is not a dental emergency, but does require early treatment to protect your health.

4: Missing Dental Restoration or Metal Taste in Mouth

A missing or broken dental restoration such as a filling or crown leaves your tooth weak and susceptible to cavities. If you have amalgam (metal) fillings and experience a metallic taste in your mouth, the filling has most likely cracked or become loose. Protect your teeth by replacing loose, broken, or missing dental restorations as soon as possible. 

5: Swelling

Swelling of your mouth or jaw can be a sign of a life-threatening oral problem. For example, serious infections and oral cancer can cause swelling in your gums, face, or lymph nodes. If you experience sudden, unexplained swelling, don’t wait for it to go away on its own. Call us to make an emergency appointment

6: Dental Abscess

A dental abscess is a painful infection that affects the root of your tooth. The infection can spread deeper and cause bone loss or affect the rest of your body if left untreated. 

Signs of a tooth abscess include:

  • Severe toothache
  • Swelling of the face or cheek
  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • A pocket of pus or a bump on your gums
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck or jaw

Emergency Dental Care in Gilbert, Arizona

Now that you know what qualifies as a dental emergency, don’t hesitate to give Lifetime Family Dental a call. If you lost a filling, cracked a crown, or if you’re experiencing any emergency symptoms, contact us right away. We provide emergency dental care, including same-day appointments, to Gilbert and the surrounding areas. Call 480-558-4331 today to schedule an emergency visit.

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (5/2/2022). Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels