Emergency Dental Services

Most visits to the dentist are scheduled in advance, but some dental issues require immediate dental care. Knocked-out teeth, cracked or broken teeth, severe toothaches and sore gums or jaws are examples of dental problems that cannot wait for an appointment. For these problems, emergency dental care is usually provided by an emergency dentist.

Most emergency dental care facilities offer walk-in or same-day appointments. Occasionally, next-day appointments are necessary, especially for procedures that consume a substantial amount of time, such as root canal therapy. Emergency dentists and their clinics reserve the right to prioritize patient cases and the order in which admissions are made, but most operate on a first-come, first-served schedule.

What Are Dental Emergencies?

A dental emergency is any issue that causes dental discomfort, pain or trouble chewing or even talking. Dental emergencies are usually unforeseen and unexpected, and they may affect daily plans significantly. Toothaches and acute dental problems cause intense pain, making it difficult to work, attend school or perform daily chores and errands.

There are different types of dental emergencies, and most involve intense pain. They include:

  • Intense pain in the teeth, gums, jaws or face, making it hard to bite, chew, eat or talk
  • Dental trauma, especially when a tooth or teeth are knocked out, cracked or broken
  • Dental infections that result in pain and swelling of the gums, tongue or jaws
  • Tooth sensitivity due to trauma or nerve exposure
  • Lockjaw
  • Missing crowns or fillings resulting in nerve exposure

Emergency dentists provide solutions to these problems with quick turnarounds, enabling patients to move on with their normal lives as fast as possible. Some facilities offer after-hours calls to both new and existing patients, while some emergency dentists will only see existing patients after-hours.  

How to Handle a Dental Emergency                

Many people with dental problems try to alleviate pain and discomfort using over-the-counter drugs, but this is not advisable, as such medications provide temporary relief without solving the underlying issue. The appropriate solution to dental emergencies is to visit an emergency dentist for quality dental and medical care.

It is advisable to clean one's mouth using water before visiting an emergency dental facility. Gargling warm water may lessen pain and discomfort while also cleansing the affected area. If a tooth is broken or knocked out, the fragment should be kept moist in a full cup of milk, reinserted in its place or stored between the tongue and the cheek.

During the first visit, the emergency dentist will perform a comprehensive assessment of the patient's teeth and mouth. Patients should ensure that they inform the dentist about existing teeth diseases or infections and exactly what caused the emergency. Once the dental problem has been addressed, the dentist will most likely schedule a re-evaluation visit.