When Is a Dental Issue an Emergency?

Brunette young woman wearing a gold shirt cringes and touches her cheek due to a toothache emergency

When something happens to a tooth, it can feel alarming. Although anything abnormal with your oral health should never be ignored outright, luckily not every dental issue is an emergency that requires immediate professional attention. Read on for a few examples of situations that are urgent and which can wait a day or two.

Is It an Emergency?

Although all dental issues should be taken seriously, not all require you to come straight to our office or to visit an urgent care in the middle of the night. Signs that you’re dealing with a dental emergency include things such as:

  • Intense oral pain
  • A loose adult tooth
  • Signs of infection like swelling, pus, redness & fever
  • Profuse & uncontrollable bleeding
  • Broken dentures

There are other tooth-related problems that may seem dire, but aren’t incredibly urgent. For example, if you chip a tooth, have a very mild toothache, or a filling or crown comes loose without severe pain and sensitivity, there’s no need to panic and rush to the emergency room. Call our office during business hours and we’ll let you know when you need to visit to address the issue.

Common Dental Emergencies

A clear glass of white milk that can keep a knocked-out adult tooth moist until emergency dental care

Here are a few of the most common dental crises that do require emergency care:

  1. Missing Tooth
  2. If a permanent tooth is knocked out, it’s important to act fast and get to our office ASAP because there’s a chance the tooth can be saved within the hour after injury. Handle the tooth only by its chewing surface and gently rinse the tooth with milk or clean water. Do not rub or scrub it with soap, a cloth, or a towel. Then, if you feel comfortable doing so, put it back in its socket. Or, keep it moist in a container of milk or a tooth preservation kit approved by the American Dental Association.

  3. Broken Tooth
  4. If you break or crack a tooth, rinse your mouth with 1 cup warm water mixed with 1 teaspoon salt and visit us as soon as you can (bring any pieces if your tooth is broken). While some cracks appear minor, many reach below the gumline. Serious breaks and cracks expose your sensitive inner tooth and nerve to dangerous bacteria and potential infection that would require root canal therapy or extraction if not fixed ASAP.

  5. Dental Abscess
  6. An infected tooth is usually painful and can be accompanied by flu-like symptoms. Don’t ignore moderate to severe tooth pain thinking it’ll run its course, especially if there is any type of sore or pus around your tooth. Untreated oral infections can spread to other parts of your mouth and body, becoming very dangerous. Call us as soon as symptoms become apparent.

Be Prepared

It never hurts to be prepared. For example, always wear an athletic mouthguard when participating in contact sports and wear a nightguard if you grind or clench your teeth during sleep. Moreover, if dental disaster does strike, you’ll feel more ready to handle it if you have dental first aid kits in your home, car, and purse or backpack that contain handy items like gauze, ibuprofen, an ice pack, string floss, a tooth preservation kit, dental wax, temporary dental cement, and our office’s contact information.

Emergency Dental Care in Corvallis, Oregon

Unfortunately, sometimes you just can’t prevent a dental emergency… but fortunately, we’re here to help. Call Corvallis Dental Group at 541-754-6116 if you ever require emergency dental care!

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