Dental Emergencies: How to Distinguish Between Minor and Major Dental Emergencies

Patient with jaw pain

Dental emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere, and to anyone. From a chipped tooth to unbearable toothache, dental problems can be excruciating and may need immediate care. However, not all dental emergencies require the same level of attention and treatment. Knowing the difference between minor and major dental emergencies can help you identify the level of care needed and avoid unnecessary panic. In this blog, we will help you understand how to distinguish between minor and major dental emergencies.

Chipped Tooth or Broken Teeth:

Emerging tooth

A chipped tooth can be painful and cause discomfort, but it doesn’t always demand immediate attention. If the chip is small, doesn’t expose the inner part of the tooth, and doesn’t cause pain or sensitivity, it can be treated as a minor dental emergency. In such cases, you may wait for a few days or until the next available appointment with your dentist. However, if the chip is larger, exposes the inner tooth, or causes severe pain or bleeding, it’s a major dental emergency and requires immediate medical attention.

Dental Pain or  Toothache:

dental pain

A toothache can range from mild to severe, and the cause can be anything from simple sensitivity to infected pulp. If your toothache is mild and you can manage the pain with over-the-counter painkillers, you may wait for a few days. But, if you have a severe toothache, you have a fever, swelling, or pus in your mouth, it’s a major dental emergency, and you need to see a dentist as soon as possible. In such cases, delaying could lead to serious oral health issues.

Broken or lost Tooth:

broken or lost tooth graphic

A broken or lost tooth is a dental emergency that requires immediate attention, irrespective of the severity of the injury. If you can find the broken or lost piece of your tooth, rinse it with water, and take it to your dentist. Immediate care can give your dentist a better chance of saving the tooth and avoiding further complications. But if your injury is severe and includes bleeding, head trauma, or other injuries, seek immediate medical attention before heading to the dentist.

Bleeding Gums:

Patient with jaw pain and a chewed apple

Bleeding gums are often a sign of gum disease or injury. If you see blood in your saliva while brushing or flossing, it may be a minor dental emergency that you can treat with improved oral hygiene and regular visits to your dentist. However, if the bleeding is persistent, excessive, and accompanied by other symptoms like pain, fever, or swelling, it’s a major dental emergency that needs immediate medical attention. Delaying treatment could lead to complications and put your oral health at risk.

Objects Stuck in Teeth:

Object stuck in teeth

If you have food or foreign objects stuck in your teeth, you may try removing them with dental floss or water. If you can’t remove it easily, avoid using sharp instruments, and see your dentist soon. Leaving the object could cause discomfort, pain, and other oral health problems.

Lost or broken dental restoration

Lost tooth

If you have a lost or broken filling crown, or other dental restoration, it may not seem like an emergency at first. However, leaving it untreated could expose your tooth to bacteria and cause infections or further damage. Call your dentist immediately for advice and schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

Dentist examining rear teeth

Dental emergencies can be overwhelming and scary, but knowing the difference between minor and major dental emergencies can help you stay calm, make better decisions, and avoid unnecessary panic. It’s essential to seek immediate care for major dental emergencies and take preventive measures to avoid such situations. Keep your dentist’s emergency contact handy, maintain good oral hygiene, and get regular check-ups to avoid dental emergencies.

At Plage Dentistry, we believe in empowering smiles and ensuring your dental health is in good hands. Don’t let tooth troubles overshadow your well-being – take action today and experience the difference of expert care at Plage Dentistry!