emergency dental care guideThe difference between your common dental problem and a real dental emergency lies in how urgently the issue requires care.

Some oral health problems may be annoying but will be fine if left unaddressed until the following morning, while others can put your health at risk or result in a lost tooth if you don’t seek immediate treatment. Knowing what consists of a dental emergency can help save a tooth or even your life.

Signs of a Dental Emergency

If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, you need to see a dentist or visit the ER ASAP:

  • Acute pain
  • Lost or loose teeth
  • Oral bleeding
  • Severe infection

Generally speaking, we consider any dental concern that requires treatment to save a tooth, alleviate severe pain, stop bleeding or care for critical infection an emergency.

Common Oral Health Emergencies

Below are some of the most common dental emergencies, warning signs that you require urgent care, and what to do before seeking treatment:

Dental Abscess

An abscessed tooth is one of the most distressing dental emergencies, and could even become fatal if you don’t get treatment promptly. Before treatment, use mild salt water to rinse out your mouth and repeat the process a few times to help draw out pus and provide temporary pain relief.


This common dental problem is typically nothing to worry about and will go away on its own. However, if you experience a fever, face swelling, or have bumps on your gums, you’ll want to get it checked out pronto

Loose or Misaligned Teeth

For adults, a tooth that has started to loosen or shift out of place is always an emergency. While waiting for dental care, you may want to try using gentle pressure with your fingers to put the tooth back in its proper place.

Cracked or Chipped Teeth

Cracks or chips in your teeth may cause panic, but can generally wait to be treated. However, if you also experience acute pain or the broken fragments cause oral bleeding, the problem should be addressed immediately. Another sign you shouldn’t wait for treatment is if the fracture is extreme. Until you make it to the dentist’s chair, you’ll want to rinse with warm water and take an over-the-counter pain reliever.

Knocked Out Teeth

If one or more of your teeth have been knocked out, you must seek emergency care at once. The longer a tooth is uprooted, the less chance there is that it will be able to be reattached. For knocked out teeth, you should delicately rinse the tooth, being sure not to handle the root, and attempt to place it back in your gums. If you are unable to reinsert the tooth, encase it in a small milk-filled container while waiting for your dentist.

No matter the severity of your oral health issue, Dentistry at East Piedmont will get your smile back in shape. We view our patients like family, and Dr. Patel shares his cell number so patients can always reach him when an emergency occurs. Contact us today to set up an appointment and experience the difference of Dentistry at East Piedmont!

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