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Our teeth are very important to us, and it can be very concerning when there’s an issue. It’s important to act when you feel like something is off with your oral health. You should be able to recognize the difference between a dental problem and a real emergency. We’ve broken up dental emergency signs into three categories: pain, signs of infection, and tooth loss. Read on to learn more when you’re having a dental emergency.


Severe Toothache: A persistent and severe toothache, especially when accompanied by swelling or fever, could indicate an infection or abscess, which requires prompt treatment.

Painful or Infected Wisdom Teeth: Wisdom teeth can become impacted, infected, or cause severe pain. If you experience intense pain, swelling, or difficulty opening your mouth, it may be a dental emergency.

Signs of infection

Severe Gum or Facial Swelling: Swelling of the gums, face, or jaw can indicate an infection or abscess. This can be accompanied by pain, fever, or a foul taste in the mouth. Immediate dental attention is necessary.

Injury to the Soft Tissues of the Mouth: Trauma that results in cuts, tears, or puncture wounds to the lips, tongue, cheeks, or gums may require immediate medical attention to control bleeding and prevent infection.

Bleeding Gums: While occasional bleeding during flossing or brushing can be common, persistent and excessive bleeding from the gums, especially if it’s painful, could be a sign of gum disease or other oral health issues that require treatment.

Broken or missing tooth

Lost or Broken Dental Restoration: If a filling, crown, bridge, or dental implant becomes dislodged or damaged, it can expose sensitive tooth structures. This may cause pain or discomfort and should be addressed promptly.

Broken or Cracked Tooth: A broken or cracked tooth can expose sensitive nerves and lead to severe pain. Rinse your mouth with warm water, and if there’s bleeding, apply gauze to the affected area. See a dentist as soon as possible.

Knocked-Out Tooth (Avulsed Tooth): If a tooth has been completely knocked out, it’s crucial to see a dentist within 30 minutes for the best chance of re-implantation. Handle the tooth by the crown (top part) and rinse it gently with water, then try to place it back in the socket, if possible, or keep it in milk or a tooth preservation kit until you can get to the dentist.

Loose or Dislodged Tooth: If a tooth is loose or has been partially dislodged, seek dental care immediately. Do not try to force the tooth back into place, but you can gently apply pressure with your tongue or a clean cloth to keep it in position.

If you experience any of these dental emergency signs, it’s essential to contact your dentist or an emergency dental clinic as soon as possible for proper evaluation and treatment. Dental emergencies, if left untreated, can worsen and lead to more severe complications.

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