What Is A Dental Emergency? A Short Guide

What Is A Dental Emergency

Nobody likes an emergency, especially one that involves discomfort and dental care. While a key indicator of a dental emergency is discomfort, many conditions require same-day treatment which may not necessarily cause any unpleasant sensations.

So, if you’re awake at 2 am with a throbbing pain under your tooth, you know that you need to get on to either your phone or computer and type in ‘an emergency dentist near me’ to resolve the issue. But in this article, other types of dental emergencies will also be explored to help you to determine if you need a same-day appointment.


As mentioned before, a key indicator that you need to see an emergency dental team is discomfort. If you have sensitivity when breathing in, notice a bruised or burning sensation underneath one of your teeth, or your tooth feels uncomfortable when pressure is applied to it then this can indicate an oral abscess. An oral infection will need to be diagnosed and treated promptly. You may even need to undertake a course of antibiotics and if delayed this can cause life-threatening sepsis. So be sure to seek out emergency treatment if you suspect an oral abscess.

Swollen face or mouth

Swelling to the face and mouth can come hand-in-hand with an oral abscess. But it can also point to an impacted tooth or another oral health condition. Either way, if you notice that there is swelling in your face, jaw, or in your mouth, you need to seek emergency dental care. Even if that swelling is not uncomfortable.

Missing filling or crown

Fillings and crowns are a common sight in the mouth of dental patients but as is the way, they can come loose and fall out. Especially amalgam options as they are made with metal and react to heat. If you suspect that your filling or crown is loose, or you have lost it completely, you need to find a dental team urgently to reset it and prevent bacteria from gaining access to the dentine. This can lead to an abscess. Treatment will also prevent the tooth from cracking or disintegrating, which is more common in teeth that have crowns that have gone missing.

Chipped or cracked tooth

Chipped or cracked tooth

It may not seem like a dental emergency to have a chip or crack in your teeth, but it does indeed warrant a same-day appointment to see your dental team. This is because a small crack in the enamel can allow bacteria access to the dentine and deeper regions of the tooth, where the bacteria can multiply and create an infection. Not only that, but cracks or chips can spread easily and will need to be repaired for the structural integrity and aesthetic benefit of the tooth.

Excess bleeding

An oral bleed may not seem urgent. But if after 20 minutes of applying gauze to the area the bleeding has not slowed, then you need to seek out the advice of your emergency dental team. This will prevent blood loss and also determine the underlying cause.


Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

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