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If you have an injury affecting your teeth or severe dental pain, seek emergency treatment. Any of the following may be considered a dental emergency:
Because it is difficult to predict how a dental infection will spread, it is best to assume that any tooth abscess is an emergency.
If you have visible gum swelling, especially if it’s painful, seek dental care as soon as possible.
A toothache is considered a dental emergency if:
Wisdom tooth removal usually isn’t an emergency procedure, even if the teeth are impacted. However, if your wisdom teeth are causing an abscess or a severe toothache, you may need emergency wisdom tooth removal.
If the condition does not worsen without immediate intervention, it is not a dental emergency.
However, some dental issues should be treated as soon as reasonably possible, even if they aren’t emergencies. These include:
These issues don’t require immediate treatment, but they aren’t likely to get better if neglected. You should still make an appointment with your regular dentist to address them.
If your emergency happens during your dentist’s normal hours, call them as soon as possible and let them know. Dentists generally have time between appointments to provide emergency care.
If you need emergency dental care on weekends or holidays, you can still try calling your dentist. If you do not get a response, they may provide a voicemail message that provides instructions for dental emergencies.
If you live in a major urban area, there may be 24-hour emergency dental clinics nearby. Search in your browser for emergency dentists in your area. An emergency dentist or hospital emergency room can provide care if your regular dentist isn’t available.
Before your emergency dental visit, you can reduce pain, swelling, or bleeding by doing the following:
Note that these are temporary measures, and aren’t a replacement for prompt treatment from a dentist or doctor.
When you arrive at the dentist’s office, let them know what you’ve done to manage the pain, swelling, or bleeding. Be sure to let them know if you’ve taken any medication.
If your emergency involves a broken tooth or crown, be sure to avoid chewing or putting pressure on the affected side of your mouth. If the tooth has a sharp edge, you can apply dental wax to protect your gums.
If you have an object stuck in your gums or mouth, do not attempt to remove it with anything sharp or pointed. You need to see a dentist or doctor if it can’t be gently pulled out.
If your dentist isn’t available and you have no emergency dental clinics in your area, you may need to go to the hospital. Severe oral or dental pain, especially if it spreads or is combined with a fever, requires urgent medical attention.
While hospital staff may not provide ordinary dental care, they can provide antibiotics, pain relievers, and emergency surgery if necessary.
An emergency appointment can be expensive, especially if you don’t have dental insurance. However, some dentists may offer payment plans.
You can also check out other low-cost dental care options, including government dental clinics, dental school services, charity dental clinics, and discount dental plans. Learn more about affordable emergency treatment options here.
To avoid an emergency caused by a dental infection, you should visit your dentist regularly. They can catch dental problems before they reach the emergency stage.
You should also maintain good oral hygiene and a balanced diet that supports your oral health. Many dental emergencies happen due to preventable oral health problems, such as tooth decay.
Dental emergencies due to trauma are harder to predict. However, wearing an athletic mouthguard during contact sports can prevent or reduce sports injuries.
A dental emergency is any issue affecting your teeth or gums that will worsen without immediate attention. This may include an abscess, a painful broken tooth, or a broken crown.
Your first point of contact for a dental emergency should be your regular dentist. However, if you have an emergency outside their normal hours, you may need to find an emergency dentist or hospital.
Don’t wait to get care if you are in severe pain, especially if you also have a fever, swelling, or bleeding. Emergency dental care can treat the problem and prevent it from getting worse.
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