What Is Considered A Dental Emergency?

You never know when an emergency will happen. No one can plan for every single situation that may occur. However, some patients have anxiety and need to prepare in order to feel safe or in control. If you are a person that likes to plan, understanding dental emergencies can be useful. It might be helpful to know what is a dental emergency and what can wait. Knowing when you need immediate attention can give you peace of mind. 

white tooth wearing stethoscope for dental emergency dentist Ardmore Pennsylvania

Tooth Loss

If you have a tooth that gets knocked out, you should seek emergency dental care as soon as possible. Once a tooth comes out of its socket, there is a limited window of time to save it. Generally, you have about an hour to get you and your tooth to a dentist. Your odds of saving your tooth in that timeframe are high. However, the longer you wait to see your dentist, the chances of saving your tooth go down significantly. 

It is essential to store your tooth correctly as you make your way to the dentist. You should never touch your tooth by the root. To safely handle your tooth, hold it by the crown–the white portion of the tooth. The best way to transport your tooth is in its socket. You can set the tooth between your gums and cheek if you cannot place it back in its socket. This will keep the tooth moist and protected. A glass of milk will work in a pinch if your mouth is not an option. 


Excessive bleeding that you can’t control is reason enough to find an emergency dentist. Injury to the soft tissues of the mouth can cause pain and uncontrolled bleeding. If applying pressure to the area doesn’t stop the bleeding, you may need stitches. Ultimately, this will require a professional’s touch. 

While the bleeding may be concerning, the damage to the soft tissue is more important. Without stitches, you could experience nerve damage and loss of function. Also, it is vital to seek medical treatment for open wounds in your mouth. This is because your mouth is full of bacteria that can cause infection if left untreated.  

Periodontal disease can also cause gum bleeding. If you experience frequent bleeding from your gums, it could be a sign of gum disease. Although gum disease needs immediate treatment, it isn’t necessarily an emergency. You would be safe to make a regular appointment with your dentist. 

Severe Pain or Infection

If you experience pain that doesn’t go away with pain relievers, you should contact your dentist immediately. Of course, you shouldn’t suffer any extreme pain, but it could be a sign of something serious, such as an infection. Infections need immediate treatment because they can create a series of dangerous conditions. For example, any infection in the mouth can be deadly since it is so close to the brain. Infections can also spread through the bloodstream, known as blood poisoning. It is important to note that infections can be life-threatening if left untreated.