Millions of people go to US emergency departments for dental-related problems every year. In 2018 alone, over two million ED visits were for oral health woes. Moreover, 5% of those cases resulted in hospitalizations.

Interestingly, many dental emergencies don’t warrant a trip to hospital EDs. That’s because up to 79% of dental-related ED visits are treatable in dental offices.

For that reason, it’s vital to learn how to tell that you have a dental emergency. This guide details the facts you need to know, including when to visit an emergency dentist, so be sure to read on.

You Have a Swollen Cheek 

Approximately one in four US adults have untreated dental decay. Unfortunately, failure to address cavities can result in the tooth roots becoming infected. Over time, that infection can cause the formation of a pocket of pus, known as an abscess, to form.

Dental abscesses, in turn, can cause the gums and cheeks to swell. Worse, the infection may spread to other body parts, including the jaw, neck, and head. That can then lead to sepsis, a life-threatening medical emergency.

With that said, don’t delay seeking emergency dental care if you have swelling in one or both of your cheeks. It’s best if you can schedule an appointment right away with a dentist near your home. Just make sure that the services this dentist offers include emergency consultations.

You Have a Throbbing Toothache

Throbbing tooth pain can indicate severe tooth damage, decay, or infection. Sharp pain when you bite, an aching jaw, and mouth swelling may also accompany the throbbing pain. In some cases, a fever may also develop alongside all those symptoms.

Since severe throbbing toothache can be a sign of an infection, you should seek emergency care for it.

You Have a Completely Knocked-Out Tooth

Physical trauma, such as a heavy blow to the mouth, can displace an entire tooth from its socket. Such incidents can stem from sports, falls, or motor vehicle accidents.

Fortunately, dental practitioners can still re-implant a knocked-out tooth. However, time is of the essence here; the re-implantation should occur within 30 minutes to 1 hour. Any longer than that, and the chances of success can drastically go down.

For that reason, it’s vital to head to the nearest emergency dental office right after you knock out a tooth. The sooner the dentist can re-implant the tooth, the higher the odds of the procedure being a success.

You Have a Mouth Injury That’s Bleeding Non-stop

Even if dental trauma doesn’t knock your teeth out, it may still cause soft tissue injuries. For example, a blow to your mouth can result in your teeth cutting into your gums. The blunt force can also be enough to wound your gums.

If you experience any of those symptoms, try rinsing your mouth with water mixed with some salt first. Next, place a moistened piece of fresh gauze to the injury, applying slight pressure to the site. If the bleeding doesn’t subside within 15 to 20 minutes, that can indicate a deep tissue injury.

Severe soft tissue injuries, in turn, may require stitches. So, if your wound bleeds for more than half an hour, it’s time to visit an emergency dentist.

Get the Help You Need for a Dental Emergency ASAP

Remember: a dental emergency is any situation involving your mouth requiring immediate attention. After all, failure to get it looked at and treated can result in more severe health concerns. There’s sepsis, for instance, which can stem from untreated infections.

So, as soon as you experience the signs we’ve discussed above, see an emergency dentist right away.

Did you find this article informative? If so, feel free to read our other educational blog posts!