How Do You Know If You're Facing a Dental Emergency?

Not all dental problems are true emergencies; as an example, a toothache can simply be irritation from sleeping crooked or without proper support along the neck and shoulders and the pain is now radiating to your jaw. Cuts inside the mouth can also heal on their own, just like other scrapes and sores. However, it's never good to put off seeing an emergency dentist when needed as this can mean risking serious oral health problems, tooth loss and even other problems with your overall health. Note a few tips for determining if you're facing a dental emergency and should visit a clinic or treatment centre right away.

1. Are you running a fever?

A toothache can be the result of muscle pain that is originating elsewhere in the body, as mentioned above, but it can also be a sign of an oral infection. Usually you will be running a fever when your body has an infection of any sort as heat can help to kill an infection; your body will naturally raise its own temperature when your immune system is working against any type of infection or irritation. If you feel flushed and sweaty, your forehead feels hot or you've actually taken your temperature and it's above normal, it's good to visit an emergency dentist if you have a toothache as well.

2. Were you injured?

While some aches in the jaw are the result of muscle cramps and stiffness that will usually go away on their own, if you've been injured in some way, that pain means you may have actually chipped a bone in your jaw, dislocated your jaw or otherwise damaged the roots and nerves of the tooth. If you have jaw pain after walking into something, being in a car accident or getting hit and you know that the pain should have subsided by now, you want to get to a dentist as soon as possible.

3. Can you see a split or crack in the tooth?

A tooth may be slightly cracked and be fine for some time, but if you have pain, bleeding or swelling and can also see a crack or split in the tooth, this often means that the tooth is severely damaged and needs immediate attention. The crack or split may have exposed the roots or nerves of the tooth, or it may be so severe that the tooth is no longer securely resting in its socket. In this case, you risk having the tooth come loose or fall right out.