Examples of Dental Emergencies

medium_examples-of-dental-emergenciesIn spite of our best efforts, sometimes dental emergencies happen. When they do happen, they can be worrisome. There can also be a question of what exactly constitutes a dental emergency.  People are not always sure if they should wait to see the dentist during normal business hours, or if they should call immediately, regardless of the time of day. Let’s talk about examples of dental emergencies, and if you should wait to see the dentist—or if you should do an online search of the term emergency dentist Anchorage, AK.

Dental Emergency FAQ

What constitutes a dental emergency?

A dental emergency is any dental issue that needs to be addressed right away.

Examples of dental emergencies.

Virtually any dental pain that the patient is preoccupied with can be defined as a dental emergency. A broken tooth, infected gums, or extreme sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures could qualify as an emergency.

What should you do if your tooth is knocked out?

Pick up the tooth and carefully rinse off any debris. Try to avoid touching the root of the tooth if possible. If you can, reinsert the tooth into the socket. Hold the tooth in place by closing your jaw and lightly biting on that tooth area to keep it positioned, or holding the tooth in place with a finger.

If you are unable to reinsert the tooth, place it into a glass of milk. This will help keep the tooth moist. DON’T submerge the tooth in regular tap water, the tooth will become damaged if exposed for long periods of time to the chemicals present in tap water.

Visit an endodontist as soon as possible.

What should you do if you have an abscess?

An abscess is a bacterial infection. Symptoms include redness, pain, sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, swelling, and pus. The swelling and discoloration will be present at the root of the tooth, above the gum line.

An abscess has the potential to be life threatening, as the infection could continue to spread from the tooth throughout your body, so contact your dentist right away.

What DOESN’T constitute a dental emergency?

A chipped tooth, noticeable cavity, or a dull toothache is not an emergency. These minor dental issues can wait for a dental appointment.

Is Your Dental Situation Urgent?

Some dental emergencies cannot wait for treatment; some emergencies might not be urgent, so you can wait to see your dentist. It’s important to know the difference when it comes to seeking treatment. Here are few examples of emergency situations that would likely be classified as urgent:

  • Swelling that is very painful
  • Bleeding that won’t stop
  • A toothache that hurts unbearably
  • A permanent tooth that becomes loose or that is completely knocked out
  • An injury to the jaw

If you have any of the above situations occur, it is best to call your dentist immediately to deal with the situation right away.

Here is a list of some situations that would not be considered an urgent dental emergency:

  • A cracked bridge or crown
  • A broken retainer or night guard
  • A lost crown or filling
  • A mild toothache
  • Food stuck between teeth

If you have a nonemergency situation, you should still call your dentist and make an appointment to be seen as soon as possible. But if it is after hours or the weekend, you are probably just fine waiting until the next available appointment.

Preventing Dental Emergencies

When you’ve had one dental emergency, you will probably vow to do whatever it takes to avoid having more emergencies in the future. When it comes to dentistry, prevention is key—and that is the case with emergencies as well. Those who visit their dentist regularly are less likely to have an unexpected emergency happen than those who don’t.

Call Us for Your Next Appointment

Stay on top of your oral health and do what you can to prevent dental emergencies from happening. Contact our Anchorage dental office if you think you’re having a dental emergency.


I’m Having a Dental Emergency! What Do I Do?

medium_im-having-a-dental-emergency-what-do-i-doNo question about it – a dental emergency can really wreck your day.

Whether you woke up with sharp pain in your tooth or you were hit in the face by a surprise fly ball during your recreation league softball game, you need help and you need it quickly.

If you need emergency dentistry in Anchorage, AK, you can turn to Turnagain Dental. We leave space in our schedule every day for the inevitable emergencies, so call us right away so we can get you in to assess the emergency and provide necessary treatment.

It’s important to note that a dental office is set up to handle dental emergencies, not more serious or life-threatening issues. If you suspect a concussion or a broken bone or you are bleeding or having difficulty breathing, please call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room immediately. We can deal with your dental emergency once you are safe!

If you are a patient of record with Turnagain Dental and your emergency has happened after business hours (as is common for all kinds of emergencies!), don’t worry! We’ve still got you covered! Call the office number and you’ll be provided with instructions for contacting Dr. Green after hours so that he can triage you and provide you with recommendations to keep you comfortable until we can see you.

Here are the most common dental emergencies we see and what you can do until you can get in to our Anchorage dental office:

Knocked-out or displaced teeth – If the tooth is knocked completely out, find the tooth (if possible) and handle it carefully, by the crown only. Rinse it in warm water, but don’t scrub and take care to not disturb the fragile tissue attached to the root. Place it in a cup of milk, salt water, or even your own saliva and contact us immediately. Ice packs and an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory can help with the pain and swelling.

Lost restorations – You can purchase over-the-counter dental cement at many pharmacies, and this can be used to temporarily hold a lost crown or other restoration. Call us so that we can replace the restoration more permanently. If you are feeling discomfort, apply ice packs and take Tylenol or ibuprofen.

Abscesses and other infections – Infections in the teeth and gums can be incredibly painful. Call us right away. Infections should be handled quickly because they can spread to other teeth or even other areas of your body. A salt-water rinse and over-the-counter medication will help with the discomfort, and ice packs will help with the swelling.

Bottom line – if you are in pain, call us right away! We are here to help you.