When To Visit An Emergency Dentist

Posted by Dr. Soto Jul 17, 2020

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When it comes to our teeth, it can be difficult to know whether to see a dentist right away and when to hold out for a regular appointment. There are a number of situations when visiting an emergency dentist is necessary in order to reduce your chances of serious complications and irreparable damage and to save your teeth from further treatment down the line.

Dental emergencies can be frightening, especially if they result from a sudden injury. However, if you do have a significant dental problem that cannot wait, you should contact your dentist as soon as possible. If the problem occurs outside of your dentist’s normal office hours, you should contact an emergency dentist.

What Constitutes as a Dental Emergency?

There are many situations that constitute dental emergencies, and if you are unsure whether your symptoms require urgent care, it is best to seek medical advice before the problem becomes worse. Delaying treatment for some dental conditions can lead to significant health complications. Signs that require emergency dental care include:

  • Significant pain or swelling in the tooth, mouth, or around the jaw
  • Trauma to the face or mouth
  • A tooth that has come out or is very loose
  • Bleeding or significant damage to a tooth, gums, or mouth

Common Dental Emergencies

The following conditions are common dental emergencies:

Painful Toothache

Facial swelling, fever, or severe dental pain can indicate an abscess or severe mouth infection. A dental abscess is usually caused by a bacterial infection and is a build-up of fluid that forms inside the infection. Other symptoms include:

  • Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
  • Redness and/or swelling around the face, jaw, or cheek
  • Throbbing pain in the affected area
  • Pain that is worse when lying down
  • A discolored or loose tooth
  • Shiny, red, and swollen gums
  • Bad breath/unpleasant taste in your mouth
  • Tender, swollen lymph nodes under your jaw or in the neck

Urgent medical treatments such as medication or a root canal procedure to treat an infected tooth may be required. If an infection is left untreated, it can lead to significant health complications and in severe cases, can be life-threatening.

A Damaged Tooth

A broken, cracked, or chipped tooth can occur for a variety of reasons, such as a sports injury or from eating extremely hard foods. Teeth can also deteriorate with age because they are more susceptible to damage and breakage as we get older. A tooth fracture or badly damaged tooth can cause symptoms such as severe pain (particularly when chewing or biting), sensitivity (to heat, cold, or sweet foods), and swelling of the gums surrounding the affected tooth. It is important to visit a dentist as soon as possible to prevent additional problems, such as infection and further damage, and to prevent sharp edges from causing trauma to the mouth.

Missing or Loose Tooth

If you knock out or loosen a tooth, an emergency dentist can potentially rescue the tooth and reinsert it, but this requires quick action. In order to preserve and save your tooth if it comes out, try to avoid touching the root as this can damage it, rinse it (without scrubbing), and if possible, try to reinsert it into the socket and hold it in place until you reach a dentist. If you are unable to reinsert it, place the tooth in a clean container with some milk or saliva to help preserve it.

An emergency dentist can also provide dental services for broken crowns, severe mouth or gum pain, a swollen jaw, root canal therapy, and emergency dental repairs.


The most effective way to prevent a dental emergency is to see a dentist for professional dental check-ups and to practice good oral hygiene at home. This includes carefully brushing your teeth twice daily, flossing daily, and by following your dentist’s advice. Eating well-balanced meals and calcium-rich foods and limiting sweets and in-between meal snacks can also help to keep your teeth and mouth healthy.

Comprehensive Dental Care in Plantation, Florida

If you have a dental emergency, the compassionate staff at the dental office of Dr. Ernie Soto can help. We provide a comprehensive range of dental services, including general and cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics, and emergency dental care. We also offer pain-free IV Sedation for dental treatments when necessary.

For quality dental care, visit Dr. Soto today and get the skilled dental care you need. Call our office at (954) 368-6264 or schedule an appointment online.

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