Dental pain can be intense and sometimes even debilitating. Statistically, around 22% of people have experienced dental pain within the past six months, according to the American Family Physician. If you think about it, that statistic means that dental pain is actually quite common for many of us.

But how do you know when it’s something that can wait until your dentist’s office reopens the next day, or something that warrants a trip to the emergency room? Dental emergencies are more common than you think. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to help determine if you’re in a true dental emergency situation:

  • Is the level of pain not tolerable? Does it prevent you from eating or talking or sleeping?
  • Has a tooth been lost or knocked out in a traumatic way? Are you bleeding a lot?
  • Do you have a loose tooth for no reason?
  • Does it seem like you have an infection? Symptoms of this include swelling, drainage from an area, bad breath, and severe pain.

If you answer yes to this question, you should likely consult an emergency dentist or go to the emergency room.

These are two conditions that are absolutely considered dental emergencies:

  • Knocked out tooth: If you act fast enough and get to an emergency room or emergency dentist, a doctor may be able to reinsert the knocked out tooth without need for an implant. Be sure to preserve all parts of the tooth and bring it with you to the emergency room.
  • Abscessed tooth: An abscessed tooth happens when a pocket of pus near or around a tooth has caused an infection. You may have a fever, feel hot and cold sensitivity around that tooth, and have swelling or a bump on your gums near the infected tooth. You need emergency medical attention because this infection can quickly spread from the tooth to your jaw to surrounding tissues and other parts of your body.

There are also some situations that may seem like an emergency in the moment, but in reality can wait until your regular dentist’s hours. For example, if you a chip a tooth but it’s not painful and hasn’t left any sharp edges in your mouth, you can wait to see your dentist. A toothache can also wait for a regular appointment as long as you don’t have swelling, a fever, or severe pain.

Losing a filling or a crown can induce panic, but as long as it’s not causing extreme pain or interfering with eating, it can wait to be fixed. If you’re not sure whether or not you need immediate dental care, call us today at 602-482-5100.