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Should You Go to the ER for a Dental Emergency?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Cornerstone Dental Arts @ 8:53 pm
Man with tooth pain

It is estimated that someone makes an ER visit for a dental emergency every 15 seconds. ER visits for dental emergencies have doubled since 2000, making dental trauma an increasingly common problem. If dental disaster strikes, do you know how to handle it? How do you know when to see your dentist and when to go to the ER? Thankfully, your expert dentist knows exactly what to do in the event of a dental emergency.

When Should I Visit the Hospital?

Dental emergencies that require a trip to the hospital include:

  • Injury to the head or neck
  • Sudden and severe pain
  • Persistent bleeding
  • Severe swelling
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing

Additionally, if you have preexisting conditions like immune disorders or chronic illness, you should visit the ER as soon as possible to prevent complications from occurring.

When Should I See My Dentist?

Your dentist can treat dental emergencies that are not considered life-threatening but are still serious for your oral health. These emergencies include:

  • Loose teeth
  • Teeth that are knocked out
  • Pain from tooth decay
  • Cracked, chipped, or fractured teeth
  • Lost or loose fillings
  • Toothaches
  • Pain from wisdom teeth

Additionally, if you have an abscess or infection in your mouth, your symptoms will decide whether or not it requires an ER visit. If you’re having trouble swallowing, breathing, or you have persistent swelling, you should head to the ER right away.

How Can I Handle a Dental Emergency?

If an emergency occurs, it’s important to know what to do next. Here are some of the most common emergencies and how to handle them:

Lost Tooth

If your tooth gets knocked out, the sooner you can see your dentist, the better your chances are of your tooth being successfully replanted. Pick your tooth up by the crown to avoid damaging its roots and try to keep it moist until you get to your dentist. If you can, hold it in place in the socket with your tongue, or if that isn’t possible, keep it in water or milk. You can also use a cold compress to curb swelling and numb pain.

Cracked or Chipped Tooth

If you fracture or chip your tooth, rinse your mouth out with warm water, then apply a cold compress for swelling. You can find any pieces of your tooth that you can, then call your dentist to get your tooth restored. In the meantime, if there’s pain, you can take over-the-counter pain medication to ease discomfort.


If you have a toothache, it may just be a piece of food lingering after a meal. Brush and floss around the area to remove any debris, and if you’re still in pain after a few days, call your emergency dentist to get treatment.

What’s even better than handling emergencies properly are preventing them in the first place. Practice good oral healthcare and see your dentist regularly to minimize your chances of dental emergencies.

About the Practice

At Cornerstone Dental Arts, we have a team of skilled dentists who are ready to help. They understand how dental disaster can strike at any time, which is why they offer expert emergency dentistry to get you out of pain fast. For any questions, they can be contacted through their website or by phone at 865-531-7177.