A woman holding a cold compress over her cheek

What Do I Do in a Dental Emergency?

Dental emergencies can occur at virtually any time, leaving you in pain and feeling distraught. For instance, extreme tooth pain is an emergency that is difficult to tolerate without immediate treatment. You should seek urgent care for throbbing tooth pain and other dental emergencies soon after experiencing the problem. 

But what qualifies as an emergency? How bad does a tooth have to hurt before you should be concerned? This guide explains how to know when you have an emergency and what to do next.

What is a Dental Emergency?

A dental emergency is any situation that is causing you pain, discomfort, or distress lasting for more than a few minutes. Some dental emergencies aren’t necessarily painful but can become an issue if ignored. For instance, if you have an infection in your mouth, you need an antibiotic as soon as possible to keep it from spreading. 

Other issues can be severely painful and require emergency dental treatment. You should never wait to handle a dental emergency since, in many cases, the pain will not go away without some type of in-office treatment.

What Are Examples of Dental Emergencies?

Emergencies can range from severe tooth pain to fractures and avulsions. Dental emergencies can affect both pediatric and adult patients. Children’s dental emergencies are similar to adults’ but need gentler care. Here are some of the most common situations that require emergency dental treatment.

Severe Toothache

Severe tooth pain is an emergency that can disrupt your whole day. Note that not all toothaches are emergencies. If you have an intermittent toothache — one that seems to come and go throughout the day — it could be due to a sinus infection. You should be concerned when your toothache is at a constant intensity and has lasted for more than a day. Receiving tooth pain urgent care is also necessary when you feel a bump on your gums, the tooth is darkening, or you’re experiencing fatigue and fever.

If you are experiencing severe tooth pain, rinse your mouth with warm saltwater and floss your teeth. The pain may be due to something stuck between your teeth. If the pain doesn’t go away, take over-the-counter painkillers. Put a cold compress over the area and call the dentist for emergency dental treatment.

Infections and Abscesses

Dental abscesses and infections can occur due to aggressive brushing or underlying gum disease. Dental abscesses become emergencies when there is severe pain, swelling, bleeding, vomiting, or a weird taste in the mouth. You must seek immediate treatment because if the infection spreads throughout your body, it can be life-threatening.  

Before your appointment, you can control the swelling with a cold compress. Rinse your mouth with antibacterial mouthwash or saltwater to manage the infection. Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen can reduce your pain while controlling the bacteria. 

Chipped or Fractured Teeth

A chipped tooth can result from falling or otherwise injuring your mouth. Chipped teeth don’t always require same-day emergency dental treatment. If the extent of damage is too severe and you’re experiencing unbearable tooth pain, urgent care is necessary. Otherwise, you can wait a few days for an appointment. 

The biggest concern is infection. It may not always be visible, but you can tell a tooth is fractured if you experience sudden pain or sensitivity following an injury. Apply an ice pack over the area to control swelling, and don’t chew anything on that side of your mouth.

Before your appointment with Dr. Guirguis, rinse your mouth with warm salt water to wash away the chipped fragments. If your tooth is fractured, keep the broken piece in milk and bring it to your emergency dental treatment appointment. 

Knocked-Out Tooth

You must make an appointment immediately if your tooth falls out due to a sports injury or an accident. If you see the dentist soon enough, he might be able to put your tooth back in its place. 

In these cases, pick up the avulsed tooth from the crown. Wash away any debris and try to place it back in the socket. If this isn’t possible, put it in a container with milk and bring it to your emergency dental treatment appointment.

Severe Sensitivity

A man in pain holding his cheek

Severe tooth pain from sensitivity is often an emergency. You may always feel some sensitivity to hot or cold foods. However, sudden or severe sensitivity accompanied by tooth pain requires urgent care. That is because it may be due to an infection, abscess, or a chipped tooth.  

Try to avoid sweet or acidic food and hot or cold beverages. You can take over-the-counter medications until your appointment if the pain is too much.

Loose or Fallen Restorations

Restorations are temporary. Even the highest quality dental fillings, veneers, crowns, or bridges don’t last forever and may become loose or fall out. These situations don’t usually require same-day emergency dental treatment, but you do need to address the problem soon to prevent further complications. Call Definitive Dental if your crown or filling becomes loose to avoid infections. 

Broken Appliances 

You may not feel tooth pain with broken appliances, but you still need urgent care. Mouthguards and dentures breaking in your mouth can damage your soft tissues. 

Do not try to reinsert them back into your mouth. Drugstores carry emergency at-home repair kits for broken dental appliances, but it’s best to avoid them to prevent further damage. The best thing you can do is call our office to address your dental emergency in Grand Prairie

Other Mouth Injuries

While severe tooth pain is an emergency, injuries to the mouth, gums, and lips are usually not. You only need emergency dental treatment for mouth injuries when the bleeding doesn’t stop after you apply pressure.

If you experience trauma and your mouth starts bleeding, control it by applying some pressure on the area. Rinse your mouth off any blood and use a cold press to reduce swelling. Take painkillers to help with the pain and if the bleeding doesn’t stop after 10 minutes, call our office at 972-646-0660.


What should I do in an emergency?

As much as possible, stay calm. The first step is to call in the emergency and schedule an appointment. We’ll accommodate you as soon as we can. When you arrive at our office for your emergency dental treatment, we will ask a few questions and may take some X-rays if needed. 

It’s important to share the full extent of your pain and symptoms with the dentist so we can make a quick diagnosis and recommend the proper treatment right away.

How do you treat each type of dental emergency?

dentist treating patient dental emergency

Each emergency dental treatment is different depending on the problem. For instance, for severe sensitivity or tooth pain, urgent care involves treating the underlying issue, which can be a cavity or gum disease. If there is an infection, you may need to take antibiotics first to clear the bacteria before further treatment. 

We treat abscesses by draining them under local anesthesia and repair chipped or broken teeth with restorative treatments. Knocked-out teeth are sometimes salvageable, and we can place them back in the socket. Other times we may need to consider tooth replacement options. No matter the dental emergency, you can receive the appropriate treatment at Definitive Dental.

How much is the cost of emergency dental treatments?

The costs of emergency treatments differ based on the problem and the patient. We can’t give you an exact estimate until we have examined your mouth. You may need a simple filling or a more complicated treatment like root canal therapy

However, we won’t let the cost stand in the way of you receiving the quality treatment you deserve. Our team will work with your dental insurance and help reduce the costs as much as possible. Remember that taking care of your teeth in emergencies can help you avoid future expenses. 

Contact Dr. Peter Guirguis in Grand Prairie

Don’t ignore your dental health. If your tooth pain is severe enough that you wonder if it is an emergency, you are likely overdue for an appointment. Whether you need urgent care for tooth pain or another emergency dental treatment, we are here for you.

Definitive Dental has experience offering emergency treatments in Grand Prairie to patients of all ages. If you need immediate assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly staff to schedule a visit with Dr. Peter Guirguis as soon as possible!

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