What Constitutes a Dental Emergency?

Imagine these scenarios: 

You’re at your son’s baseball game, and he knocks a tooth loose while sliding into home plate. 

You have pain in your jaw that begins to throb and cause ear pain. 

You bite down too hard on a piece of candy and chip a tooth or loosen a filling. 

In any of these situations, should you seek emergency dental care, or should you wait and schedule an appointment with your dentist? Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what constitutes a dental emergency, so we want to help you understand when you shouldn’t wait to seek treatment. 

Here at Virginia H. Ellis, DDS Dental Corp. in Orinda, California, Dr. Ellis and her skilled general and cosmetic dental team provide prompt treatment for a variety of common oral injuries and conditions. As a general rule of thumb, if you’re in severe pain, don’t wait to seek treatment. And, if you or a family member experiences any of the following emergency situations, contact us by phone immediately, or walk in during our regular business hours. 

A knocked-out tooth

Time is of the essence if you lose a permanent tooth unexpectedly. The sooner you get to our office, the better the chance you have of saving your tooth. Acting fast and taking steps to preserve your tooth ― such as submerging your tooth in milk ― may make it possible for Dr. Ellis to reattach your tooth back in its socket. This might also help you avoid needing a dental implant to replace the tooth. 

Uncontrolled bleeding inside your mouth

If you experience uncontrolled bleeding from your gums, cheeks, or tongue, don’t wait to seek the help of our skilled dental professionals, especially if you don’t know why the bleeding is occurring. Any time there is bleeding from your tongue or the soft tissue in your mouth and you don’t know why, consider it a dental emergency. 

Severe tooth or jaw pain

When tooth pain becomes unbearable or travels from your jaw into your face or ear, it’s time to seek emergency dental services. Severe tooth or jaw pain may indicate an abscessed tooth or another type of infection that needs immediate attention. If you ignore the pain and you have an infection, it can quickly spread to other parts of your body.

If you do have an infection or an abscessed tooth, Dr. Ellis can prescribe the appropriate medication, and, if necessary, perform a root canal to save your infected tooth. Acting quickly when you have severe mouth pain could mean the difference between saving your tooth or needing to have it extracted.

Pain and swelling from facial trauma

You shouldn’t ignore mouth pain and swelling if you get injured or have an accident. If you experience a sports-related oral injury or another type of trauma to your face and mouth, seek emergency dental care right away. You could have a bone or tooth fracture and not even realize it. 

A severely cracked or chipped tooth

If you have a painful chipped or cracked tooth, don’t wait to contact our office. A fractured tooth may be a sign of internal damage. If that’s the case, Dr. Ellis can evaluate your condition and determine if she can perform procedures to save your natural tooth. 

Seeking emergency dental treatment from a dental professional, rather than going to an emergency room, can also save you time and money. When you come to our practice, we will give you the specialized care you need. 

For urgent dental services, call Virginia H. Ellis, DDS Dental Corp. at 925-478-3237, book an appointment online, or come to our office during business hours.

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