Older man discussing Emergency dentistry treatment options with a dentist

Two questions we get asked often are:

  • What’s a dental emergency?
  • When do I need immediate care?

We get it.

It’s understandably confusing because emergencies don’t always involve tooth loss or even direct tooth damage.

It’s always better to just call and ask us. We’re always happy to take your calls to help in any way possible, whether you’re a current patient or not.

Not all dental emergencies are obvious emergencies, but ignoring them can cause unnecessary pain and even compromise your dental health. Swift action, however, can prevent problems and even possibly save your tooth. Read on to discover five types of dental emergencies you shouldn’t ignore.

1. Swollen gums

Swollen, inflamed gums lead to serious discomfort. The most common cause of inflammation is gum disease called gingivitis, but there are other possible causes. Swelling with pain that doesn’t subside can indicate infection and should be evaluated by your dentist as soon as possible.

2. Broken, chipped, or cracked tooth

A tooth can become cracked or broken from trauma (such as being hit by an object), decay, or even biting down on something hard. If you notice a broken or cracked tooth, it’s important to see your emergency dentist as soon as possible to repair the tooth and avoid further tooth damage.

To protect your smile while awaiting treatment:

  • Call your emergency dentist ASAP.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm water.
  • Gently apply a cold compress to temporarily relieve pain (try not to apply pressure!)
  • Take over-the-counter medication as needed.
  • If you find the piece of the broken tooth, wrap it in wet gauze and bring it with you to your appointment.

3. Lost crown or filling

Crowns or fillings can fall out or break for several reasons, such as extensive tooth decay or degradation of the materials. When this happens, it leaves the damaged tooth exposed. This can lead to pain, infection, and further tooth damage.

To protect your smile while awaiting treatment:

  • Call your emergency dentist ASAP.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm water.
  • Gently apply a cold compress to temporarily relieve pain (try not to apply pressure!)
  • Take over-the-counter medication as needed.
  • If you have lost a filling, wash it off and protect it by placing it in a zip-seal bag. It may or may not be reused later on.
  • If your lost crown is intact, try slipping it back over the tooth temporarily. Gently clean the inside and coat it with dental cement (found in most drug stores) to hold it in place.

4. Toothaches

Never ignore severe and persistent tooth pain, even if you don’t think it’s an emergency. An emergency dentist can determine the source of pain, which could be caused by serious issues such as a bacterial infection or abscess.

To protect your smile while awaiting treatment:

  • Call your emergency dentist ASAP.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm water.
  • Gently apply a cold compress to temporarily relieve pain (try not to apply pressure!)
  • Take over-the-counter medication as needed.

5. Knocked-out or partially dislodged teeth

If a permanent tooth gets knocked out or becomes dislodged, your best chance of saving the tooth is to place the tooth in water or milk (if it’s already knocked out) or gently keep it in place (if dislodged) and call your emergency dentist as soon as possible.

If the tooth cannot be saved, your dentist can suggest other important solutions, such as dental implants. Missing teeth can, over time, allow the misalignment of your remaining teeth and negatively impact your current smile.

“Am I experiencing a dental emergency?”

There are many types of dental emergencies. To help identify them, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you bleeding from the mouth?
  • Are you in severe pain?
  • Do you have a cut that will not stop bleeding?
  • Do you have any loose teeth?
  • Have you been hit in the face or mouth?
  • Do you have any swelling in the mouth or facial area?
  • Do you have any bulges or swelling on your gums?

Emergency dental treatment

If you’re experiencing a dental emergency, it’s important to get evaluated as soon as possible. Quick action can alleviate pain, prevent further damage, and protect your dental health.

Our compassionate and highly skilled team can provide emergency dentistry on weekdays and weekends at our Greenville and Simpsonville locations.

Are you in need of an emergency dentist?

If you have any concerns or are experiencing a dental emergency, give our office a call immediately, and we’ll get you in ASAP! Whether you’re a current patient or just seeking care for an urgent dental condition, we’re happy to serve you at one of our two locations.

For more information about emergency dentistry or any of our other dental services, please call us!