Dental Emergencies: When To Go to the ER vs. Your Dentist

by Power Road Dental Care

Dental Emergencies: When To Go to the ER vs. Your Dentist

Reviewed By Dr. Tyler N Davis, DMD

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Dental emergencies come in various forms and intensities. Minor dental issues can be dealt with at home, but some require urgent medical attention. 

But where do you go for your dental emergency? When does an emergency warrant an emergency room visit and which ones can be handled by your dentist?

In this last blog of our series, we will talk about dental emergencies that warrant a visit to the ER vs the dentist. 

When To Go to the ER For a Dental Emergency

1. Severe Trauma or Injury

Dental emergencies stemming from severe trauma or injury, such as facial trauma or jaw fractures, constitute a hospital emergency. These incidents can be the result of accidents, falls, or sports injuries, causing significant damage to the teeth, jaw, or surrounding mouth structures. Prompt assessment and treatment by medical professionals are necessary to prevent further complications and ensure proper healing.

2. Uncontrolled Bleeding

Uncontrolled bleeding in the mouth can occur due to dental procedures, trauma, or underlying health conditions. When bleeding is excessive and cannot be controlled with basic first aid measures, going to the ER is the best course of action. Profuse bleeding may indicate severe underlying issues, such as arterial injury or clotting disorders, requiring urgent intervention and emergency care.

When To See Your Dentist

1. Toothaches and Dental Pain

While toothaches can cause significant discomfort, not all cases warrant a visit to the ER. Your dentist is equipped to manage toothaches, but if you can’t get into your dentist or an emergency dentist and the pain is unbearable, proceed to the ER. Severe pain or signs of infection, such as swelling or fever, may indicate a dental emergency requiring prompt attention. 

2. Broken Teeth or Lost Fillings

Broken teeth or lost fillings can be distressing, but the urgency of dental care depends on the extent of damage and associated symptoms. Minor chips or lost fillings may not need immediate attention and can typically be addressed during regular hours at the dental office. 

However, significant damage compromising the tooth’s structure or causing severe tooth pain may require prompt intervention. This is the same when you have a knocked-out tooth. Your dentist will evaluate the situation and provide temporary solutions until a permanent solution can be implemented.

Making the Right Decision

When faced with an emergency dental situation, you need to make an informed decision regarding where to seek urgent care. From severe toothaches to broken or knocked-out teeth, these emergencies can be excruciatingly painful and require immediate attention. In such situations, the emergency room may be the first option that comes to mind. While the ER is certainly equipped to handle many types of emergencies, it may not always be the best choice for a dental emergency.

Consider the severity of dental injuries, level of dental pain or discomfort, and availability of dental services. If the situation can be handled by first-aid, going to the dentist is usually the best option. Just make sure to prioritize safety and seek appropriate medical care to preserve oral health.

Power Road Dental Care – Your Trusted Dentist in Mesa & Gilbert

At Power Road Dental Care, we understand the importance of prompt and effective dental care in emergencies. 

Whether you require immediate attention for a dental issue or seek routine dental services, our Dr. Davis and his team are dedicated to providing comprehensive and compassionate care. 

From preventive measures to emergency treatments, we prioritize your oral health and well-being.

If you are in the East Valley and are searching for an ‘emergency dentist in Mesa’ or ‘emergency dentist near me’, we can help. To schedule an appointment with our dentist, call (480) 664-1438 or fill out the online booking form.

FAQs About Dental Emergencies

What will the ER do for tooth pain?

The ER may provide pain relief and temporary measures to manage the symptoms. However, long-term treatment and resolution of dental issues typically require intervention by a dentist.

 Will the ER pull an abscessed tooth?

While the ER can provide temporary relief for abscessed teeth, definitive treatment, such as extraction or root canal therapy, is performed by a dentist.

Are root canals only for severely damaged teeth?

Root canals are not just for severely damaged teeth. They can be recommended for teeth with deep decay or infection to save them before they become more problematic​​.

What is classed as a dental emergency?

Dental emergencies encompass a range of issues, including severe trauma, uncontrolled bleeding, severe toothaches, and broken teeth. Any condition causing significant pain, swelling, or functional impairment may warrant immediate attention.

What can you do for unbearable tooth pain?

For unbearable tooth pain, it’s essential to seek prompt dental care. In the meantime, over-the-counter pain relievers and cold compresses can help alleviate discomfort temporarily.
In case you missed it, check out our other blogs in this series: 

Understanding Common Dental Emergencies
Dental First Aid Kit: Be Prepared for Dental Emergencies
12 FAQs About Dental Emergencies

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