Patient experiencing pain before visiting an emergency dentist

Signs You Need to See an Emergency Dentist

In our daily lives, dental emergencies can arise unexpectedly, causing discomfort and distress. Knowing when to seek immediate dental care is crucial for preserving oral health and preventing further complications.


In our daily lives, dental emergencies can arise unexpectedly, causing discomfort and distress. Knowing when to seek immediate dental care is crucial for preserving oral health and preventing further complications.

What Constitutes a Dental Emergency?

A dental emergency involves any oral health issue that requires immediate attention to alleviate severe pain, stop bleeding, or prevent further damage to teeth or gums. These emergencies can result from accidents, injuries, infections, or sudden onset of severe symptoms.

Importance of Prompt Dental Care

Seeking prompt dental care during emergencies is vital for preventing complications such as infections, tooth loss, or permanent damage. Delaying treatment can exacerbate pain and lead to more extensive and costly procedures in the future.

Severe Tooth Pain

Persistent and severe toothache can indicate underlying issues such as an abscess, infection, or tooth fracture, necessitating immediate evaluation by a dentist.

Swelling in the Gums or Face

Swelling or inflammation in the gums or face accompanied by pain may indicate an infection or abscess that requires urgent dental attention.

Persistent Bleeding

Excessive bleeding from the gums, mouth, or after a dental procedure should be addressed promptly to prevent complications and ensure proper healing.

Knocked-Out Tooth

A knocked-out tooth, if not re-implanted promptly, may lead to permanent tooth loss. It’s essential to seek emergency dental care within the first hour of the injury for the best chance of saving the tooth.

Broken or Cracked Teeth

Fractured or cracked teeth can cause significant pain and increase the risk of infection. Seeking immediate dental care can help preserve the tooth and prevent further damage.

Loose Teeth

Loose teeth, especially in adults, may indicate advanced gum disease or trauma to the mouth, requiring prompt evaluation by a dentist.

Abscess or Pus

The presence of a dental abscess, characterized by pus-filled swelling and severe pain, signifies a serious infection that requires immediate treatment to prevent systemic complications.

Injury to the Jaw

Trauma to the jaw, such as dislocation or fracture, requires immediate attention from an emergency dentist to assess and stabilize the injury.

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Steps to Take When Facing a Dental Emergency

Contact an Emergency Dentist Immediately

As soon as you recognize a dental emergency, contact an emergency dentist or dental clinic for guidance and to schedule an urgent appointment.

Severe Tooth Pain

Maintaining composure during a dental emergency can help you think clearly and take appropriate actions to address the situation.

Manage Pain or Bleeding Temporarily

While awaiting dental care, you can alleviate pain with over-the-counter pain relievers and control bleeding by applying gentle pressure with a clean gauze or cloth.

Preserve Knocked-Out Teeth

If a tooth is knocked out, handle it carefully by the crown (top part), avoid touching the root, and rinse it gently with water. Place the tooth back into its socket if possible, or store it in milk or saliva until you can see a dentist.

Handle Broken Teeth Carefully

If you have a broken or fractured tooth, rinse your mouth with warm water, and avoid chewing on that side. Save any broken tooth fragments and bring them to your dental appointment.

Preventive Measures for Dental Emergencies

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene

Brush and floss your teeth regularly to prevent dental issues such as cavities, gum disease, and infections.

Wear Mouthguards During Sports or Physical Activities

Protect your teeth from injuries during sports or recreational activities by wearing a custom-fitted mouthguard.

Avoid Chewing Hard Objects

Refrain from chewing on hard objects such as ice, popcorn kernels, or pens, as they can cause tooth fractures or damage dental restorations.

Regular Dental Check-Ups

Schedule routine dental check-ups and cleanings to detect and address any potential dental problems before they escalate into emergencies.


Recognizing the signs indicating the need for emergency dental care is essential for preserving oral health and preventing serious complications. By understanding when to seek immediate treatment and taking proactive measures to maintain oral hygiene, individuals can minimize the risk of dental emergencies and safeguard their smiles.


Dental emergencies typically involve severe pain, swelling, bleeding, or trauma to the teeth or gums. If you’re unsure whether your condition constitutes an emergency, contact a dentist for guidance.

It’s best to seek immediate care for dental emergencies to prevent further complications. Many dental clinics offer emergency appointments outside of regular office hours to accommodate urgent cases.

If you can’t reach your regular dentist, contact an emergency dental clinic or visit the nearest hospital emergency room for immediate assistance.

Most dental insurance plans cover emergency dental treatments, but coverage may vary depending on your policy. Contact your insurance provider for details on coverage for dental emergencies.

Some minor bleeding or discomfort after dental procedures such as cleanings or extractions is normal and should resolve within a few days. However, if bleeding persists or worsens, contact your dentist for further evaluation.

At Bonnie Doon Dental Associates, serving Bonnie Doon and Whyte Ave in South Edmonton, we understand the importance of prompt and compassionate dental care, especially during emergencies. Our team is dedicated to providing high-quality dental services to address a wide range of dental concerns, from routine check-ups to urgent treatments. Whether you’re experiencing severe tooth pain, swelling, or a dental injury, we’re here to help. Contact us for personalized care and expert guidance in maintaining optimal oral health.

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