Dental Emergencies: When to Call Your Dentist?

Dental emergencies can happen at any time and often require immediate attention to alleviate pain and prevent further complications. While some oral health issues may be manageable at home or can wait until regular dental office hours, certain situations demand prompt intervention from a dental professional. Recognizing the signs of a dental emergency and knowing when to call your dentist can make a significant difference in preserving your oral health and overall well-being. In this article, we will explore various dental emergencies and guide you when it is necessary to seek immediate dental care.

Dental Emergencies: When to Call Your Dentist?

Understanding Dental Emergencies:

A dental emergency is any oral health condition that requires immediate attention to address severe pain, bleeding, swelling, or potential damage to teeth, gums, or surrounding tissues. Dental emergencies can arise from various causes, including trauma, infection, or sudden onset of severe symptoms. It is crucial to differentiate between routine dental issues and true emergencies to ensure appropriate and timely care.

Common Dental Emergencies:

When faced with a dental emergency, it’s crucial to act swiftly and seek immediate dental care. Here are some common dental emergencies and the necessary steps to take:

a). Toothache: A severe toothache can be a sign of an underlying issue such as tooth decay, infection, or an abscess. Warm water should be used to rinse your mouth and floss around the tooth to be affected gently. Avoid placing aspirin or any other painkiller directly on the gum tissues, as it can cause burns. Contact your Emergency Dentist in  Adelaide to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

b). Knocked-Out Tooth: Time is important if a tooth is fully knocked out. Handle the tooth by the crown (top) and stay away from the root. To get rid of any dirt or debris, gently rinse the teeth with water. Try to put the tooth back into its socket while holding it in place by biting down on some fresh gauze or cloth. If reinsertion is not possible, put the tooth in milk or a tooth preservation solution and seek prompt dental care. After one hour, there is a considerable drop in the likelihood of the tooth being successfully re-implanted.

c). Fractured or Broken Teeth: A fractured or broken tooth can cause pain and sensitivity. Rinse your mouth with warm water and use a cold compress on the affected area to minimize swelling. Gather any tooth fragments if possible and contact your dentist immediately. They will assess the extent of the damage and provide suitable treatment options, such as bonding, dental crowns, or extractions if necessary.

d). Dislodged or Loose Teeth: It’s crucial to get dental care straight once a tooth becomes loose or is partially knocked out as a result of trauma. The tooth should be gently pushed back into place without being forced. To keep the tooth in place until you can visit your dentist, bite down on a piece of clean linen or gauze. The likelihood of preserving the tooth rises with prompt stabilization.

e). Dental Abscess: A dental abscess is a serious infection that requires immediate attention. It often manifests as a painful, swollen bump on the gum, accompanied by fever and general discomfort. Rinse your mouth with mild saltwater to help alleviate the pain temporarily. Contact your dentist promptly to receive appropriate treatment, which may include draining the abscess and prescribing antibiotics.

f). Soft Tissue Injuries: Lacerations or injuries to the soft tissues, such as the gums, lips, or tongue, can cause significant bleeding. Clean the area gently with warm water and apply a cold compress to control bleeding and reduce swelling. If the bleeding persists or the wound is severe, contact your dentist or visit an emergency room for further evaluation and treatment.

Keep in mind that the material above is only a general overview of typical dental crises. For specific advice and care tailored to your particular circumstance, speak with your dentist. Additionally, it is always essential to have your 24/7 dentist’s contact information on hand, including their after-hours emergency contact number, to ensure prompt treatment in case of a dental emergency.

When to Seek Immediate Dental Care:

Seeking immediate dental care is crucial in certain situations to address severe pain, prevent complications, and preserve your oral health. Here are some scenarios in which you should seek immediate dental care:

a). Severe and Unmanageable Pain: If you are experiencing intense or persistent dental pain that is not relieved by over-the-counter pain medications, it is essential to contact your dentist promptly. Severe pain often indicates an underlying issue that requires professional treatment.

b). Uncontrolled Bleeding: If you are experiencing excessive bleeding from your mouth due to an injury or oral condition, and you are unable to stop the bleeding, seek immediate dental care. Your dentist can assess the cause of the bleeding and provide appropriate treatment to control it.

c). Swelling of the Face or Gums: Facial swelling can be a sign of infection, abscess, or another serious oral health issue. If you notice significant swelling accompanied by pain or difficulty breathing, contact your dentist immediately. Prompt intervention can prevent the spread of infection and alleviate discomfort.

d). Trauma or Injury to the Teeth: Any trauma or injury to the teeth, such as a knocked-out tooth or a fractured tooth, necessitates immediate dental attention. Time is of the essence in these cases, as quick intervention can increase the chances of saving the tooth and preventing further damage.

e). Signs of Infection: Symptoms like fever, facial swelling, a foul taste or odor in the mouth, or visibly swollen or red gum area may indicate an infection. Dental infections can spread rapidly and affect overall health, so it is crucial to seek prompt treatment.

f). Loose Dental Restorations: If a filling, crown, bridge, or any other dental restoration becomes loose or dislodged, contact your dentist as soon as possible. Failing to address this issue promptly can lead to further damage or complications.

g). Persistent Tooth Sensitivity: While tooth sensitivity is common, persistent or sudden sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures may be a sign of a more significant issue, such as an infection or tooth fracture. Seeking dental service care promptly can prevent the problem from worsening and causing more discomfort.

h). Dental Abscess: A dental abscess is a serious infection that can cause intense pain, swelling, and fever. If you suspect you have a dental abscess, seek immediate dental care. The dentist will need to drain the abscess and prescribe antibiotics to prevent the infection from spreading.

Remember, it is always wiser to err on the side of caution and seek advice from your dentist if you are unsure whether your situation qualifies as a dental emergency. To maintain your oral health and well-being, dental experts are educated to evaluate crises and administer the proper care.


Recognizing dental emergencies and knowing when to call your dentist is essential for preserving oral health and preventing further complications. While some dental issues may be manageable at home or can wait for regular dental appointments, certain situations demand immediate professional attention. By being aware of the signs and symptoms of dental emergencies and promptly seeking the appropriate care, you can ensure that your oral health is protected, and any issues are addressed before they worsen. Remember, if you are unsure whether your situation constitutes a dental emergency, it is always better to err on the side of caution and contact your dentist for guidance.