What Constitutes a Dental Emergency?

What Constitutes a Dental Emergency?

Barotz Dental | November 29, 2023
What Constitutes a Dental Emergency?

A dental emergency is any situation that poses an immediate threat to oral health. This could range from severe pain to physical injury that needs immediate attention. Understanding what constitutes a dental emergency can help you make an informed decision about when to seek immediate medical attention.


Common Dental Problems: What Constitutes a Dental Emergency?

While all dental issues require attention, not all of them are classified as emergencies. A dental emergency is typically characterized by severe pain, bleeding, or trauma to the face or mouth that may cause damage to the teeth and surrounding tissues.

Common dental problems such as toothaches, gum disease, cavities, and sensitive teeth, while uncomfortable, may not necessarily be emergencies. However, severe toothache, swelling, or bleeding could indicate a more serious issue such as an abscess or infection, which would constitute a dental emergency.

Dealing with Toothache


Toothache is a fairly common dental problem. However, when the pain becomes severe, it could indicate a much more serious problem. If your toothache is accompanied by fever, swelling, or a foul taste in your mouth, it could be a sign of an infection or abscess and should be treated as a dental emergency.

Even if the pain is bearable, if it persists for more than a day or two, it's best to seek professional help. Chronic toothache can be symptomatic of an underlying issue such as decay or gum disease.

A Broken Tooth


A broken tooth can be a result of biting on something hard, a physical accident, or even due to tooth decay. A broken tooth is definitely a dental emergency. Apart from the pain and discomfort, it could also cause damage to the surrounding teeth and tissue if left untreated.

If you experience a broken tooth, rinse your mouth with warm water immediately to clean the area and apply a cold compress to reduce any swelling. Avoid eating or drinking until you've seen a dentist to avoid further damage.

A Broken Jaw


A broken jaw is a severe dental emergency and requires immediate medical attention. Signs of a broken jaw include difficulty in opening and closing the mouth, swelling, bruising, and an uneven bite. If you suspect your jaw may be broken, try to keep it from moving by using a bandage wrapped around the top of the head and under the jaw.

Do not attempt to correct the position of the jaw. This should only be done by a medical professional. Apply a cold compress to control swelling and get to a hospital emergency room as soon as possible.

Lost Dental Filling or Dental Crown


A lost dental filling or dental crown might not seem as urgent as a broken tooth or knocked out tooth, but it still qualifies as a dental emergency. If a dental filling or crown falls out, the affected tooth becomes vulnerable to further damage and decay.

Dental Abscess


A dental abscess is a pus-filled pocket caused by an infection and is a serious dental emergency. An abscess can cause severe toothache, sensitivity to hot and cold, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. If left untreated, the infection can spread, leading to serious health complications.

If you suspect a dental abscess, rinse your mouth with mild saltwater solution several times a day and get to a dentist immediately. Do not try to drain the abscess yourself; this could cause the infection to spread.

Acting Fast During Dental Emergencies


Understanding what constitutes a dental emergency is critical for ensuring the health of your teeth and gums. The faster you act, the greater your chances of reducing damage and ensuring a successful treatment.

For more information on what constitutes a dental emergency, visit Barotz Dental at our office in Denver, Colorado. Please call (720) 573-1500 to schedule an appointment. If you have a dental emergency, call (303) 502-5534.