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What Is Considered a Dental Emergency?

October 28, 2022
What Is Considered a Dental Emergency?


An injury, severe cut, lost dental restoration, or sudden tooth or gum pain are all dental emergencies that should be treated as soon as possible.  Here is what to know about various dental emergencies and why it’s essential to see a dentist as quickly as possible.

Types of Dental Emergencies

  • Severe Tooth or Gum Pain

    You need to seek emergency dental treatment if you suddenly develop severe pain in a tooth or in your gums. Though a dental emergency is typically not a matter of life and death, the source of pain must be diagnosed as soon as possible. Pain in a tooth or gum can have many causes, including severe decay, an infection in the tooth's pulp, gum disease, a crack in a tooth, or the development of a dental abscess.
  • Swollen, Bleeding GumsSwollen or bleeding gums are a sign of a bacterial infection. Bacterial infections will not go away without treatment. If left untreated, a bacterial infection may lead to bone loss in the jaw, or the infection may spread to other areas of your body. If your gums begin to bleed for no reason, or if you notice bumps or swelling on your gums, contact your dentist for emergency treatment.
  • Cracked ToothA cracked tooth is considered a dental emergency that needs to be treated immediately. A crack in a tooth leaves the interior (pulp) vulnerable to infection and decay. A fracture that extends below your gum line will require a tooth extraction. Cracked teeth should never be ignored, even if you’re not experiencing severe pain.
  • Lost Filling or Crown that has Fallen OffFillings protect natural teeth from cracking. If a filling comes out, you need to take swift action to replace it to prevent your tooth from splitting. Likewise, both a dental crown and a dental filling protect the interior of the tooth from bacterial infections. So, if your dental crown has come off, do not panic, but be sure to schedule immediate dental treatment.

What Treatments Are Used for Dental Emergencies?

If you’ve experienced a dental emergency, your dentist will examine your mouth, and you’ll have digital x-rays taken. The x-ray images will allow your dentist to see beneath the soft tissues of the mouth to identify an infection within a tooth, fractures in a tooth, and decay in a tooth. This will inform your dentist’s treatment plan.

Treatments for dental emergencies include replacing a lost filling or covering a tooth with a dental crown. If your dentist finds that the interior of your tooth has suffered extensive decay or there is an infection in the pulp, a root canal may be necessary.  Your dentist may need to perform scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) if you have mild to moderate gum disease. In some cases, a topical or prescription antibiotic may also be necessary.  

Cracked and fractured teeth can often be saved. However, if a tooth has cracked beneath the gum line, you may require extraction and a dental implant or other restoration, such as a dental bridge.  

Emergency Dental Treatment in Washington DC

Blossom Dentistry provides emergency dental treatment in Washington, DC. If you’re suffering from severe pain, contact us today at 202-922-2900 and notify our team of the emergency. We will prioritize your treatment. If you have suffered jaw or facial trauma or you’re experiencing uncontrolled bleeding, go to the nearest emergency room. 

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