How Do I Know If I Am Having A Dental Emergency?

emergency, dental, Kenosha Breeze Family Dental

Sometimes things happen in life for which we are totally unprepared, and that lack of preparation can make even the smallest incidents feel much worse than they actually are. When life throws us those crazy curveballs - sometimes literally - the first thing you should do is assess the situation for severity. The second thing you should do, if you’re unsure, is to call us to double-check whether your situation is truly an emergency or if you can wait for an appointment.

What constitutes a dental emergency?

A dental emergency is any form of trauma or injury to your teeth, jaw, tongue, or mouth that requires immediate professional attention. This is usually in order to reduce immense pain, stop bleeding that won’t stop on its own, or prevent the loss of teeth or tissue. A lot of common dental emergencies we see are:



Not every dental issue is an emergency, but it’s better to be safe than sorry! To know if you’re experiencing a dental emergency or not, ask yourself these questions.

Have I experienced dental or facial trauma?

One of the most common precursors for many dental emergencies is facial or dental trauma of some sort. This may be caused by a fall, impact during sports, or a vehicle accident. If this is the case, you should first assess if there is any trauma that may be more life-threatening, such as in the case of a vehicle accident. If so, call 911 first. If the trauma isn’t life-threatening and is primarily dental related, please call us immediately to set up an emergency appointment.

Do I have loose, chipped, or missing teeth?

If you’re otherwise fine, assess the dental damage. Impacts can damage the roots of the teeth, as well as the teeth themselves. If you notice loose, chipped, or missing teeth, contact us immediately. We may still be able to save your tooth, even if it’s knocked out. If your tooth is knocked out, place it in a clean, sealed area, and try to avoid touching the root as best you can to avoid further damaging it.

Am I experiencing tooth or jaw pain?

For the most part, you’ll feel some pretty serious pain if you’re experiencing a dental emergency. Lack of pain doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t an emergency, though. Rate the severity of your pain, and if it’s so painful as to interrupt other areas of your life, contact us immediately.

Do I have any severe bleeding?

A small amount of blood is to be expected with most dental trauma, emergency or not. If the bleeding is excessive or refuses to stop, that may be an indication that the situation is an emergency. Try your best to stop the bleeding, and contact us immediately. If the blood is severe enough that you begin bleeding out, it may be best to head straight to the nearest emergency room.

Am I having problems breathing, talking, chewing, or swallowing?

Dental trauma that causes swelling may impact breathing, talking, chewing, or swallowing. If you experience any issues with these tasks, call us immediately, or head to your nearest emergency room.

Do I have an abscess or infection?

Abscesses and serious infections are, without a doubt, high-level dental emergencies. If left untreated, these problems can land you in the emergency room or worse. Here’s an overview on how to tell if you have an abscess. But, even if you’re unsure, you can still make an appointment with us to double check.

Asking yourself these questions after dental trauma can help you to determine if you’re experiencing an emergency or not. Being prepared for a dental emergency, or any kind of emergency for that matter, can make the experience easier to deal with and much less traumatic.

If you’ve experienced any kind of dental trauma and need to see us for an emergency appointment, contact us immediately. We keep emergency appointments open during the day and after hours to be as accessible to you as possible.

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