When you have a dental emergency, your dentist should be the first call. If it's after clinic hours and you need immediate attention, visit an emergency dentist or the emergency room.
A dental emergency typically involves immediate risks, including threat of infection or permanent tooth loss. You may experience intense pain needing professional treatment.
Some instances of a dental emergency include: cracked or chipped teeth, knocked out teeth, abscessed tooth or damage to the gums or tongue. Often dental emergencies are the consequence of unanticipated trauma to the mouth or sudden impact - you were hit in the mouth or fell.
To help determine whether you should wait till the next day, need to immediately see an emergency dentist or need to go to the ER, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you in severe pain? If you answer yes, you may have an emergency.
- Have you lost a tooth? If you answer yes, taking action now can save your tooth.
- Do you have loose teeth? If you answer yes, adults' teeth should never be loose. This is problematic even if you aren't experiencing pain.
- Is your mouth bleeding and won’t stop? If you answer yes, this is a sign of an emergency.
- Do you have an infection - which can be seen as severe swelling? If you answer yes, an abscess or infection can be life-threatening. Do not wait to seek treatment.