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Signs You Have A Dental Emergency

Excerpt: Do you need a general, special, or emergency dentist? If the dental issue is so impactful that it's severely causing you pain...

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Do you need a general, special, or emergency dentist? If the dental issue is so impactful that it’s severely causing you pain, or disrupting your day-to-day activities like eating or sleeping, it may be an emergency. However, unless you are at the dental office, it can be very difficult to determine if you have a dental emergency or just a common dental issue. We’ve made this blog so it may be at least a little bit easier to decide the best course of action to take.

What are the signs of a dental emergency?

You’ve got a loose tooth

As an adult you don’t get another set of teeth, if you’re teeth are loose, it’s a problem. Teeth that are healthy, securely fit into the jaw, and leave no room for movement. Secure teeth help you eat, talk, and live more comfortably, if you are experiencing a loose tooth, then you need to see an emergency dentist right away. 

Loose teeth are generally indicative of a more serious injury, there also may be an issue of infection. If your teeth have room to move around, bacteria can also get into the gum, this can cause issues like gum disease, dental abscess, and more toothaches.

model of teeth

You have a severe toothache

Pain is subjective to the person experiencing it. However, if a toothache is considered severe, it can be totally disruptive to the person’s life. If you’ve ever stubbed your toe badly or got a harsh cramp, you might be familiar with the pain that’s disruptive. The issue with a toothache is that patient has no power over their situation to make it better. There are a couple of qualified remedies that will work for you when you’re at home, you can read about them in this blog we wrote here.
see through model of dental implant

Your gums are bleeding and sore

Bleeding gums are never a “good” sign of health. This is true for all instances, one of the most common reasons for bleeding gums is from flossing and brushing. If your oral routine is causing bleeding, then it may be an early indicator of gingivitis (gum disease). However, if your gums are bleeding and/or aching on a regular basis, it’s time to see a dentist, they can tell you what is wrong.  
man with face in hands

Your Jaw Is Swollen Or In Pain

There is never anything good about a jaw that is swollen, generally, pain also shows up with swelling as it is a sign of more serious concern. Even if there is no pain, a swollen jaw should be immediately diagnosed by a professional. A swollen jaw could be anything from a serious infection that might lead to a dental abscess or even infected salivary glands. Your dentist should be able to tell you what the issue is. To fix it, they may be able to do it, or they might have to refer you to a specialist.

You have a Dental Abscess

Dental abscesses are serious conditions that can be devastating for the individual that has one. They are caused by an infection in the tooth that has impacted the inside of the tooth. This is often a result of a fracture, or opening in the tooth and gums that allow for bacteria to breach the tooth. Symptoms of a dental abscess could be anything from fever, swollen glands, pus, or a bad taste in your mouth. 


It may be hard to tell if you have a dental abscess since these symptoms are not just specific to the dental abscess. Most of these symptoms are worthy of a dentist or doctor appointment, and if you’re experiencing ongoing bad breath (halitosis), you should consider the dentist as well, instead of another breath mint.

gloved hand pointing at x-ray

The Final Word

Unless you’re a trained dentist, diagnosing dental problems is a very difficult job for the average person. Some dental symptoms may lead you to believe that the problem isn’t orally related at all. However, if you are experiencing any of the issues listed in the blog, it should be your first priority to get it checked out by a professional. If you go to the doctor, they may refer you to a dentist if it is oral, or vice versa, if the problem turns out to be something else. It never hurts to get an issue checked out sooner than later if you’re experiencing these problems.
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