What Is Considered A Dental Emergency? Plus What You Should Do In One

Young Guy Experiencing A Toothache

A dental emergency can take many forms, and knowing what you should do when one occurs will help you gain the treatment you need in a timely manner. If a problem arises with your teeth or gums, taking action quickly is important to preserve your oral health. The good news is that you are not alone in dealing with this situation—an experienced dentist is prepared to help you obtain the appropriate level of care for your needs. If you are wondering what is considered a dental emergency and what you should do when one occurs, read our dentist’s advice below.

What Is Considered A Dental Emergency?

There is no one answer to this question since it can vary depending on the individual’s situation and level of discomfort. However, some examples of dental emergencies that may require immediate treatment include:

  • a tooth that has been knocked out,
  • a cracked or chipped tooth,
  • a toothache that is severe and/or persistent,
  • and an abscessed tooth.

Acute pain, an open wound or an exposed root are some of the biggest signs of a dental emergency.

See below for some more guidance of what constitutes a dental emergency:


When Is Tooth Pain An Emergency?

Toothache comes in many forms and can be very disruptive to your wellbeing. It can be the sign of a cavity that has left your tooth’s root exposed requiring a filling or other remedial dental work, or it could indicate an infection on the tooth pulp which may necessitate extraction or surgery.

Here’s a list of tooth pain symptoms that indicate you need emergency dental care:

  •  You have severe tooth pain that doesn’t go away with over-the-counter painkillers
  • You have a toothache that is throbbing and won’t go away
  • You have facial swelling around your mouth or jaw
  • The area around the root of your tooth is swollen and tender to the touch
  • You have any of the above accompanied by a fever or feel sick to your stomach


Are Cavities Dental Emergencies?

Cavities are not usually considered dental emergencies. Cavities are caused by tooth decay or the breakdown of the structure of your teeth. While cavities are an oral health concern, they’re not a dental emergency because they’re preventable and treatable.

The exception is when a piece of your tooth falls away leaving the root exposed. Dentists can treat a cavity by drilling out the decayed tooth and filling it with a composite material to preserve its strength.


Is Tooth Loss A Dental Emergency?

Tooth loss, or a filling or crown falling out, is a dental emergency because it requires prompt action. This is particularly the case if you have suffered an accident that has weakened a tooth or dislodged it completely. Tooth loss, whether fully or partially, can be painful in itself but it can also result in serious complications, including bleeding, abscesses and infections, cavities and loss of bone integrity. Finding the cause of tooth loss is important, as it will help determine what treatment options you have available to you.


Get Peace Of Mind Today

Dental emergencies can be stressful and frightening, but at Tomaree Dentistry, we are here to help. If you need an emergency dentist in Nelson Bay, call us immediately on (02) 4981 3114.



Dentist Dr John Cropley

Dr John Cropley

John is the principal dentist at Tomaree Dentistry in Nelson Bay. He graduated in Dentistry from the University of Adelaide and is a long-standing member of the Australian Dental Association (ADA). He is known for his gentle, calm and caring manner and offers services in prevention-based dentistry, emergency care, cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry including endodontics.

6 Tomaree Street
Nelson Bay, NSW 2315
(02) 4981 3114
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