It’s an unfortunate fact of life – emergencies happen, and typically at the worst time and when we least expect them. That’s why many dentists offer “emergency services” to their patients. But it may not be entirely obvious what actually constitutes an emergency. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of conditions that most dentists would agree need to be treated as quickly as possible.
- A severe toothache – Although a typical, run-of-the-mill toothache is not considered to be an emergency situation, if you are experiencing an extremely painful toothache, it could indicate an infection. These conditions are considered to be emergencies and should always be treated right away to prevent the infection from spreading.
- Knocked-out teeth – If you have lost one or more teeth due to an injury, you should try to preserve the tooth by keeping it in a glass of milk and contact an emergency dentist right away. It may be possible for your dentist to save the tooth and reinsert it into the socket, assuming that not too much time has passed.
- Broken, chipped or cracked teeth – Any time a tooth is badly damaged, it is usually considered to be an emergency. And the faster it’s treated, the better.
- Pain, swelling and/or injury to the jaw – If you experience sudden jaw pain and/or swelling, whether it’s obviously an injury due to an accident or simply sudden and intense pain that occurs in the jaw for an unknown reason, you should contact an emergency dentist as soon as possible.
- Loose teeth or suddenly misaligned teeth – The most common reason for loose teeth is severe gum disease, but trauma can also cause your teeth to become loose. If your teeth are suddenly misaligned, it could be due to a jaw injury. Either way, it’s considered a dental emergency.
While some accidents are simply impossible to predict, other injuries to your teeth and jaw are not only predictable but avoidable. If you play sports or engage in any kind of vigorous activity that may result in an injury to your teeth or your jaw, talk to your dentist about a mouth guard. Wearing this type of appliance can provide you with an added measure of protection and may prevent a future trip to the emergency dentist.
Whatever type of emergency you experience, most dental professionals who offer emergency services will do whatever they can to schedule a same-day appointment for you. Some even provide services for walk-in emergency patients. And, fortunately, most dental emergencies are treatable conditions that can be resolved after one or more dental procedures.