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What Qualifies As a Dental Emergency?

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What Qualifies as a Dental Emergency?

There are some obvious signs you’re having a dental emergency, such as a headache that won’t go away no matter what you do, a broken tooth, or any other mouth pain that could be caused by a tooth shifting. At any moment, you could suffer from a dental emergency. Perhaps you chip a tooth while you’re playing a sport, get an abscess that’s finally beginning to cause you severe pain or break a crown. That’s why many dentists’ offices now offer emergency dental care.

So what types of services can you expect?

Emergency Tooth Repair

Cracking, chipping, or breaking off a tooth is an extremely painful experience, but you can easily get it repaired at an emergency dental center. In the meantime, you may want to use ibuprofen or acetaminophen according to the directions and keep rinsing your mouth with some warm salt water. This will help with the pain and keep an infection from occurring.

Once you arrive at the dentist’s office, the treatment for the tooth will depend a lot on the extent of the damage. If only a small piece has been fractured, a filling or bond can repair the break. However, if the damage is severe, you might have to have a cap or crown installed.


Most often, toothaches are caused by a form of tooth decay affecting your jaw or mouth. It’s inflammation of the dental pulp, which is the innermost layer of your teeth. This results in some extreme pain, depending on the severity of the infection.

Since this area is comprised of soft tissues that have blood vessels and nerves, the pain might come on suddenly and could vary from mild to unbearable. If your pain is mild, you may be able to wait until the following day to see the dentist, but if the pain is unbearable, you should consult an emergency dentist immediately. A minor infection can turn into an abscess within twenty-four hours, and this means your tooth is rapidly decaying.


An abscess is an immediate dental emergency, and you should never wait to be treated. If you have shooting, throbbing pain that’s severe, there’s a good chance you have an abscess. Other symptoms are swollen glands, gums, redness of your face or mouth, pain while you chew, bad breath, and difficulty swallowing.

The infection can worsen and turn into a fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and stomach upset. Sometimes, abscesses can plummet to dangerous levels, causing breathing difficulties as the swelling obstructs the airways.

If you think you might be suffering from an abscess, you need to see your dentist immediately. The pain and discomfort mean your tooth is quickly decaying and needs serious attention. The infection can even break off into the bloodstream and spread to other areas of the body. Your dentist will quickly drain, treat, and prescribe medications to help your abscess heal.

Toothaches, abscesses, and broken teeth are all emergencies. Any serious pain or trauma to your mouth needs to be seen and treated by a dentist right away to ensure no more damage is incurred. That’s why most dentists have emergency phone numbers you can call in case something goes awry, so take note of the local dentists in your area that provide such services.

For those of you in West Covina California, Dr. Joel Manalese and staff at Manalese Dental provide Emergency Dental services. Learn more at