What is A Dental Emergency and How Do You Deal With One?

dental checkup by dentist

Encountering a dental emergency can be unnerving and leave you unsure of the next step. However, arming yourself with essential knowledge can help manage these tough situations. We will delve into what defines a dental emergency and the necessary actions you should take to protect yourself.

A dental emergency signifies a severe dental issue needing immediate attention. Conditions such as severe toothaches, unstoppable bleeding, pain despite medication use, or broken facial bones are categorised as critical. At first notice of one of these issues, reaching out to your dentist is crucial. Most dentists offer emergency contact numbers for situations beyond regular clinic hours. Additionally, nearby urgent care facilities or emergency rooms can extend their support. Some examples of dental emergencies include, but are not limited to, severe toothaches, badly cracked teeth, or the loss of a tooth. It is vital to seek immediate treatment to avoid worsening the situation and further complications.

Identifying a Dental Emergency

Dental emergencies span from slight to severe, often indicated by certain signs. These signs include dental pain, knocked-out tooth, severe pain, tooth decay, broken tooth, uncontrolled bleeding, tooth loss, and facial swelling. Among these, toothaches are the most prevalent, usually stemming from infections. It’s imperative to grasp the various dental emergencies and the symptoms linked with each. This understanding aids in knowing when urgent dental care is necessary.

  • Severe Toothache: A severe toothache might signal a deeper, more concerning issue, like an infection or nerve damage. If a toothache lingers over several days or brings on a fever, urgent dental treatment is vital. Recognising severe toothache symptoms, such as sharp pain, hot and cold sensitivity, and difficulty when chewing, is key to receiving timely care.
  • Knocked-Out or Extruded Tooth: When a tooth is knocked-out or extruded (partially dislodged), quick action is imperative. Such incidents often result in heavy bleeding and severe pain, demanding immediate dental attention. Acting fast can improve reimplantation success and avert any lasting harm.
  • Dental Abscess: A dental abscess is a perilous infection found in the gum or tooth, necessitating immediate care. Symptoms may include intense pain, swelling, and redness in the affected vicinity. Left untreated, it poses risks of further complications, highlighting the urgent need for professional intervention.
  • Severe Soft Tissue Injury: Deep cuts, lacerations, or tears in the lips, cheeks, or tongue represent dental emergencies as well. Such injuries lead to substantial bleeding and must be dealt with right away to avoid escalating damage. Proper and immediate care is also critical for ensuring effective healing.

Understanding and recognising the symptoms of various dental emergencies is critical. Quick response is essential to prevent complications and guarantee the best outcome for your oral health!

Dental Emergency First Response

emergency response

When faced with a dental emergency, quick and precise action is vital. The first step is to stop any bleeding, ease pain, and save knocked-out teeth. This buys time until a dentist can provide proper care.

  • Stopping Bleeding: To halt oral bleeding, place pressure with a clean gauze or cloth on the wound. Doing so stops the bleed and minimises harm. Always ensure the patient can breathe well during this critical step.
  • Alleviating Pain: Stand-in relief for severe toothaches includes over-the-counter pain medications. Additionally, washing the mouth with warm water and gently removing debris with floss can lessen the pain.
  • Preserving Knocked-Out Teeth: If a tooth gets knocked out, handle it with care. Rinse it in clean water and if possible, put it back in place. If reinsertion isn’t an option, store the tooth in milk or saliva to keep it viable. Swiftness in action is key to the successful relocation of the tooth.

These immediate steps aim to stabilize the issue and reduce further harm. They are crucial until the patient visits a dentist for proper care.

When to Seek Professional Help

For most dental emergencies, your dentist offers the needed help in their office. Yet, with severe injuries like broken facial bones, you must head to the emergency room.

Emergency Room vs Dentist

Your dentist manages a broad spectrum of dental crises. However, some cases necessitate a trip to the emergency room. Instances like severe trauma to the face or mouth, or profuse bleeding demand immediate medical care. The dental emergency room can stabilise your condition and help you get back on track. 

Conversely, dental afflictions like intense tooth pain, abscesses, or dislodged teeth are best addressed by your dentist. They hold the expertise and tools to efficiently handle these emergencies. In contrast, an emergency room might face limitations in such scenarios.

Understanding which emergency situations require a dentist and which mandate a hospital visit is crucial. Choosing the right care path significantly betters the outcome and avoids complications.

Non-Emergency Dental Issues


Dental emergencies need quick action, but not all dental issues are urgent. Many common problems can wait for regular care. This includes dull toothaches, small chips or cracks, broken braces, and items caught between teeth if there’s no heavy bleeding or pain along with it.

  • Dull Toothache: A dull, persistent toothache without severe pain or swelling might not be urgent. Yet, it’s smart to see your dentist soon to find the cause.
  • Small Chips or Cracks: Small chips or cracks often don’t need immediate emergency care. If the damage doesn’t cause much discomfort or risk further breakage, waiting a bit longer is okay.
  • Broken Braces: For braces wearers, a loose or broken part usually isn’t an emergency. Waiting until your next appointment is usually fine, Avoid this if it’s causing severe irritation or pain.
  • Objects Stuck Between Teeth: A lodged object between teeth can be bothersome, but it isn’t an emergency issue. First, try to remove it gently. If you seem to have no luck in removing it, you can wait for your dental visit. 

Non-emergency dental matters can wait but address them soon to avoid complications. If you’re unsure, contacting your dentist is wise. Managing these problems promptly aids in maintaining oral health and avoiding extensive treatments later on.

Be Prepared with Bite Dental: Ensuring Quick Response and Prevention for Dental Emergencies

Dental emergencies often catch us by surprise, but readiness is key. Issues like severe toothaches, knocked-out teeth, abscesses, and major soft tissue injuries demand quick action. Immediate first aid and fast professional help are crucial in these situations. They enable us to handle emergencies effectively and limit the damage. This could involve steps to stop bleeding, reduce pain, or save a knocked-out tooth. Knowing what to do and having the tools can be life-saving.

Don’t let a dental emergency catch you off guard—be prepared and know where to turn for help. At Bite Dental Brisbane CBD, we are committed to providing prompt and professional care for all dental emergencies, ensuring you receive the immediate attention you need to safeguard your oral health. If you or a loved one experiences a severe toothache, knocked-out tooth, dental abscess, or any other urgent dental issue, call us right away at 07 3221 5399. Our team is ready to assist you and get you back to smiling confidently.

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