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  • Writer's pictureACE DENTAL

What is a Dental Emergency?

Dentist examining patient's mouth

We get it!

Going to the dentist can be an inconvenient and uncomfortable experience, something that you may try to avoid until the last possible minute. However, in the case of a dental emergency, it’s best to come in as soon as possible.

A dental emergency occurs when you need immediate dental treatment, such as when you experience pain or bleeding that cannot be stopped. It can happen at any time, and unfortunately, anywhere. They can range from:


Severe Toothache

Call your dentist or find an emergency dental clinic as soon as possible if you are experiencing pain that does not go away with an over-the-counter pain medication, such as Tylenol or Advil, as this level of pain is considered a dental emergency. It is understandable that patients will try to wait the pain out, however, this is never the best course of action as delaying treatment can make the pain worse and potentially cause further costly complications. Ice can be applied until you are seen by the dentist, to help alleviate pain and inflammation.

Severe Bleeding

Any bleeding that occurs in the mouth that cannot be stopped with some pressure is considered a dental emergency. Some minor bleeding due to flossing is not considered a dental emergency, though we do recommend mentioning this to your hygienist during your regularly scheduled dental appointment.

Chipped or Broken tooth with pain

If you experience a chipped or broken tooth with pain, call your dentist or emergency clinic as soon as possible. Prolonging treatment can make treatment more difficult and more costly. If there is no pain associated with the tooth, then treatment can be slightly delayed until a more convenient time.

Badly Bitten Tongue or Lip

If you bite your tongue or lip, and cannot stop the bleeding by applying pressure, then this is considered a dental emergency that requires immediate treatment. Apply pressure and some ice until you are able to be seen by a dentist.

Knocked Out Tooth

If seen by a dentist quickly, within two hours, a tooth may be able to be saved and cemented back into place. Unfortunately, if treatment is prolonged, the tooth may not be saved and you will have to go with other dental treatment options. If you are experiencing this dental emergency, call a clinic immediately. Avoid touching the root of the tooth, put it in milk, and bring it with you to your emergency appointment.

Abscessed Tooth

This type of dental emergency occurs when a pocket of pus from an infection begins to spread, potentially to the jaw and other areas of the body. It can cause swelling, pain, tender lymph nodes, fever, small bumps on the gum, and severe tooth sensitivity to hot or cold. Call your dentist immediately if you suspect you have an abscessed tooth, as complications from this type of infection can be dangerous.

Something lodged between teeth

Getting something stuck between your teeth can be a common annoyance, however, if it cannot be dislodged with dental floss, then you do need to call a dentist as soon as possible. Prolonging treatment can lead to an infection, or further damage to your teeth. Do not try to dislodge the item with anything other than dental floss, as doing so could potentially injure your gums.


At Ace Dental, we accept emergency patients and will always do our best to see you as soon as possible. If you think you are experiencing a dental emergency, call our clinic at 403-457-2233.

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