Is it a Dental Emergency? How to Know if Your Dental Issue Needs Immediate Attention

Dental Emergency in Urbandale

Dental pain and issues can occur on occasion, but how can you be certain if what you are experiencing is a routine problem or an emergency that requires immediate attention? Because emergencies happen unexpectedly, it is best to be aware of the signs of a dental emergency as well as actions to take. Dr. McDonald is committed to helping patients achieve and maintain great dental health. Below, he shares tips on how to determine if your dental issue is an emergency.

Severe Dental Pain

Toothache is a common dental issue that affects many people. However, if your dental pain is severe, prevents you from sleeping, or radiates down to your jaw and neck, you may need immediate dental care. Toothache causes, such as tooth decay and cracks, should be treated by a qualified professional before the condition — and your pain — worsens.

Knocked Out Tooth

A tooth being knocked out is a dental emergency. In order for the tooth to be saved, the patient should act quickly, keeping the following points in mind:

Locate and secure the tooth: If your tooth has been completely dislodged, locate it right away. When you do find the tooth, be sure to handle it with extreme care, ensuring that you do not touch the root of the tooth.

Cleanse the tooth gently: If the tooth is dirty, you can gently clean it with water. It is important to avoid using soap or any other cleaning agent on the knocked-out tooth.

Keep the tooth moist: The tooth should not be wrapped in a cloth or paper towel. Instead, keep it moist at all times. This can be done by placing the tooth inside the mouth or putting it in milk. Avoid using plain tap water to keep the tooth moist, as this could cause damage.


A dental abscess is an infection in the gums, often appearing as a reddish, swollen bump. An abscess is a serious issue, and the infection can spread to other parts of the body if left untreated. Symptoms include throbbing, radiating, or sharp pain, tooth sensitivity, halitosis, and loose teeth. Jaw swelling is also common.

What Types of Dental Issues Are Not Considered Emergencies?

Dental issues that do not count as emergencies include:

  • A dull toothache
  • Small cracks on the tooth
  • Small cuts within the soft tissues of the mouth

Schedule an Appointment Today

Dental emergencies can happen at any time, but prompt treatment can relieve your pain and help save your teeth. In the meantime, prioritize your dental health by scheduling a routine dental appointment with Dr. McDonald. Contact our office to get started.

Posted Under: Dental Emergency