We’ve all dreaded scheduling a dental cleaning or checkup at some point. However, severe dental pain or an injury can indicate a proper oral health emergency requiring immediate care from an emergency dentist. Ignoring these warning signs risks further damage or severe complications down the line. Understanding which situations classify as dental emergencies helps patients get the prompt relief they need from emergency dental clinics.

Recognizing Emergency Dental Symptoms

Specific dental symptoms rise to an emergency level versus a routine issue more appropriately addressed during regular office visits. 

Some clear red flags that should prompt contacting your emergency dentist include:

  • Intense, unrelenting toothache not improved by over-the-counter pain relievers. Severe pain indicates an underlying problem beyond typical discomfort.
  • Jaw, face, or tooth fractures from falls, accidents or blows to the mouth area impacting function and appearance.
  • Swelling in the face, jaw, neck or mouth region impacting breathing, swallowing or visibility. Rapid swelling suggests a potential infection.
  • Knocked out permanent teeth with hopes of prompt reimplantation within 30 minutes for the best chance of survival.
  • Broken or cracked teeth exposing sensitive dental pulp inside. An emergency can prevent severe pain or infection.

Without diagnosis and intervention by a dental professional, these urgent issues pose risks, including spreading infection, tooth loss, osteomyelitis of the jawbone and more severe complications.

When to Visit an Emergency Dental Clinic

Emergency rooms can provide medication or minor care for dental emergencies after hours, but patients should still follow up with their emergency dentist for complete resolution.

Some options include:

  • Monday through Friday during regular business hours, contact your usual dental office. Many make accommodations for urgent walk-in appointments or see patients with cancelled slots.
  • Evenings and weekends, search online or call an emergency dental clinic, which maintains extended hours staffed with dental professionals to handle urgent issues promptly.
  • Call 24/7 emergency dental hotlines available in many areas to obtain referral information for after-hours emergency dentists on-call at clinics.

Ideally, an emergency clinic visit occurs within 24 hours of the problem arising to prevent worsening. Explain all symptoms clearly over the phone to help staff properly triage level of urgency.

What to Expect at the Emergency Dental Clinic

When patients arrive, clinical staff will likely gather the following information:

  • A thorough medical and dental history, including current medications and pre-existing conditions.
  • Detailed report of current symptoms like location, duration and description of any pain.
  • Assessment via tests such as tapping, applying pressure, and hot or cold sensitivity checks to evaluate pulpal nerve involvement.
  • Visual inspection of gums, teeth and surrounding tissues for signs of damage, fracture, or infection.

Depending on the diagnosis, possible emergency treatments include:

  • Prescribing or administering medications for pain management or prevention/treatment of infection.
  • Temporary fillings, sedative dressings or splints to protect exposed dental pulps or stabilize fractures.
  • Extractions or dental repairs, if possible, to cease ongoing distress until definitive care.
  • Referral to an endodontist, oral surgeon or periodontist for complex cases needing specialty attention.

Post-Treatment Follow-Up Care

Following emergency dental procedures, patients should:

  • Take all prescription medications as directed and contact the dentist about any side effects or ongoing pain.
  • Apply ice packs wrapped in a thin towel to the outside of the face for 20 minutes per hour for two days to reduce swelling.
  • Follow a soft diet until comfortable chewing and avoid extreme hot/cold until healing.
  • Practice excellent oral hygiene and return for a follow-up exam after 1-2 weeks.

These post-op tasks ensure proper healing without infection or re-injury until full resolution occurs. Contact emergency dentists immediately for any worrisome signs.

When an Emergency Isn’t True Emergency

While specific urgent symptoms undoubtedly warrant a quick response, some issues represent priority issues that should be addressed during routine appointments to avoid emergency clinic crowding.

Some examples include:

  • A broken filling, cracked tooth or minor toothache may not progress rapidly enough to classify as an emergency if pain can be controlled.
  • Loose temporary crowns or fillings exhibiting no infection or sudden intense pain often suffice with follow-up care for definitive treatment.
  • Chipped or cracked teeth causing no symptoms can wait if closely monitored for changes requiring prompt evaluation.

Knowing which problems qualify makes immediate care more accessible for dental crises threatening oral health. Focusing on limited emergency resources where most urgent supports cost-effective management. However, any change in a presenting condition always merits re-evaluating the need for prompt clinical assessment.

Contact Forest Glade Dental Centre for Prompt Emergency Dental Care and Overall Oral Health Services

At Forest Glade Dental Centre, our emergency dentists and staff are committed to being available whenever patients experience a dental emergency, day or night. As this blog post outlines, dental emergencies can occur suddenly and require prompt treatment to prevent severe pain, infection or other issues. Forest Glade Dental Centre has the skills and resources to assess and treat your emergency promptly and adequately, whether a fractured tooth after an accident or sudden intense toothache. In addition to emergency care, our practice also provides general dental services like cleanings, checkups and restorative care. Forest Glade Dental Centre aims to keep your entire family’s smiles happy and healthy by addressing emergency and routine oral health needs.

For reliable emergency dental services in your time of need, you can trust Forest Glade Dental Centre.