What Constitutes a Dental Emergency?

A dental emergency requires immediate attention from a dentist so that they can ease pain, discomfort, and swelling. Prompt attention also prevents more extensive damage, infection, or worsening pain. But what situations constitute emergencies, and when can you wait to seek treatment? 

Understanding the difference between a common dental issue and a concern that can jeopardize your health is important. This knowledge will help you quickly navigate your options and decide on emergency services

Common Causes of a Dental Emergency 

Many events can lead to a dental emergency. But some of the most common include:

  • Car accidents
  • Falling off a bike 
  • Work-related accidents 
  • Drinking from glass bottles 
  • Eating hard candies
  • Chewing on ice
  • Sports injuries 

You should always wear a protective mouth guard when participating in sports to help prevent dental-related injuries. 

3 Common Dental Emergencies 

The following are common occurrences that often require prompt attention: 

Severe Toothache 

A minor toothache may be treated with over-the-counter pain medication. But if it doesn’t minimize your symptoms, you may have an infection, abscess, injury, or severe decay. You may also experience constant pain in the jaw or a sharp, throbbing sensation. Some patients also have sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks. 

Knocked Out Tooth 

Any loose, cracked, or broken tooth needs prompt attention. Nerves may become exposed, causing you to feel sensitivity. In addition, a knocked-out tooth will bleed and may leave fragments in your gum tissue. Only a trained dentist should attempt to remove these fragments. 

Swelling, Bleeding, or Pus 

It’s common for gum tissue to become slightly swollen after irritation. But gums that won’t stop bleeding, especially when accompanied by pain and swelling, are clues that there is an underlying concern. Swelling, bleeding, and pus can indicate gum disease, infection, or abscess. Sometimes, a fever or headache appears alongside these symptoms.   

Get Compassionate, Emergency Dental Treatment

If you need an emergency dental appointment, contact David W. Piper, DMD Family Dentistry, at (727) 548-7100. We’re ready to help you get the treatment you need.  


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