When You Should Call an Emergency Dentist

Asian woman puts hand on jaw due to pain

Dental issues can range from mild to quite serious. Your emergency dentist will determine how severe your dental issue is. It’s important to know the difference. A serious problem can diminish your total health.

The Range of Severity

Your emergency dentist will decide what tier of care you need. You may need emergency or urgent care, or a simple routine appointment.

Non-urgent dental care is for scheduled cleanings and routine procedures.

Urgent dental care aims to take pressure off emergency rooms. Its purpose is to relieve severe pain and prevent infection.

Emergency dental care is for resolving life-threatening issues. 

Non-Urgent Dental Care

Non-urgent dental care is likely the care you receive during most dentist appointments. Maintenance is the goal for these appointments, and there is no risk involved.

Reasons for receiving non-urgent dental care:

  • Regular check-ups
  • Periodic Cleaning
  • Routine dental X-rays
  • Standard orthodontic procedures
  • Extraction of a tooth
  • Dental procedures for aesthetic purposes
  • Filling cavities
  • Repairing a chipped tooth

These are procedures to fix problems that do not pose a threat to your health or cause excessive pain. In these situations, scheduling an appointment is the best course of action.

Urgent Dental Care

Urgent dental care is for serious dental issues. Issues that you need to take care of right away but aren’t life-threatening. It’s serious if it causes severe pain or if there is a risk of infection without intervention.

Reasons for receiving urgent dental care:

  • Severe pain from inflammation
  • Pain from the third molar (wisdom teeth)
  • Deep dental trauma
  • Post-operative dressing changes
  • Biopsy
  • Replacement of damaged or missing filling
  • Altering painful oral orthodontic tools

Everyone should immediately respond to these issues. but they don’t call for a trip to the emergency room. That’s reserved for people with even more serious conditions.

Emergency Dental Care

Emergency dental care is for those with life-threatening dental issues. People with these conditions need immediate intervention or will experience severe consequences.

Reasons for receiving emergency dental care:

  • Dental swelling that might block the patient’s airway
  • Severe infection
  • Dental trauma that may involve facial bones

Dental Accidents and What To Do

You or your child may one day be in one of the following situations that need emergency or urgent care. Sometimes the best thing to do differs from what seems right. Here are some scenarios you may experience one day and what to do in case it happens:

Dislodged Filling

Fillings may not last forever. They might fall out because you’ve bitten down on something hard or simply because you’ve them for a while. If your filling falls out, take a small piece of sugarless chewing gum and put it where the cavity is.

This is a very temporary solution. You still need to get to the dentist as soon as possible, especially if you’re in a lot of pain.

Broken Tooth

Treatment depends on how broken the tooth is. Your dentist can fill in a small chip as if it were a filling. But you may need a different procedure for a broken tooth, such as a crown replacement or a root canal.

Lost Tooth

An accident may cause your child to lose a baby tooth. If it does, don’t put the tooth back in and go to the dentist as soon as possible. Baby teeth should come out — but not that way!

If an adult tooth gets knocked out, check to see if the tooth is clean. If it isn’t, zip it under running water but don’t scrub it. Then put it back in where it came out and hold it in place with something soft while you rush to the emergency dentist. They should see you right away.

If you can’t keep the tooth in place, put it in your saliva, milk or a saline solution. If you cannot, put it in water. Water isn’t ideal, but it’s better than nothing. Your best chance is to see the emergency dentist within ten minutes of losing the tooth. The more time passes, the less likely the tooth will root back into place.


For a toothache, call the emergency dentist to see how soon he can look at your tooth. In the meantime, put a cold compress on it. No heat. Heat can make it worse. You can take over-the-counter pain medication but make sure you don’t let it touch your achy tooth.

Possible Broken Jaw

Apply a cold compress and go straight to the emergency room.

It’s important to prepare yourself for the possibility of something unexpected. If there’s an accident, knowing what to do beforehand saves precious time.

If you’re in Kalamazoo and need a dentist for urgent or non-urgent care, Briarwood Valley Dentistry can do that and so much more. Briarwood Valley Dentistry makes beautiful smiles their business, so call today and make an appointment!