4 Dental Emergencies That Need Immediate Attention

When it comes to professional oral care following an accident or other serious injury, timely attention may mean the difference between keeping your tooth or losing it forever. Our Nevada dentists share the types of dental emergencies that need immediate treatment.

woman at an emergency dentistry for her tooth pain

What Is Emergency Dental Care?

Dental emergency care is any dental procedure required to save a tooth or prevent further harm to the mouth. Good oral health affects more than just your teeth. Infections in the mouth can spread to other parts of the body and create issues that could have been prevented. Knowing when to seek emergency care is crucial to keeping your smile strong and healthy.

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Why Is Emergency Dental Care Important?

Calling your dentist or seeking emergency dental care when serious damage has occurred is crucial to saving your pearly whites. This is because teeth are comprised of living tissue that needs blood supply. Without prompt medical attention, repairing a damaged tooth may not be possible.

Teeth are made from several layers, some of which contain living cells. These layers include:

  • Enamel – Hard calcified tissue that covers the crown of a tooth. It contains no living cells.
  • Dentin – This layer is below the enamel and contains hollow tubules and microscopic canals. When enamel wears down, the tubules may be exposed, causing increased tooth pain or sensitivity.
  • Pulp – The space inside the tooth containing blood vessels and nerves. When the pulp is exposed, it can become infected and lead to further dental complications.

Any damage to the living tissue of a tooth1 needs a same-day appointment or an emergency room visit to save the tooth.

When Do You Absolutely Need an Emergency Dentist?

When a tooth is damaged, blood vessels that bring nutrients to the teeth can be severed, and blood flow no longer reaches the tooth. Chips or cracks in the tooth, as well as a dislodged tooth, can cause your tooth to die. You should seek urgent dental care if:

  • The integrity of your tooth is compromised
  • Tooth pain is unbearable
  • You have fever and chills after a dental injury
  • Jaw pain is severe
  • There is excessive bleeding

woman with unbearable tooth pain scheduling an appointment online for an emergency dentist

What Dental Emergencies Need Immediate Attention?

Emergency dental care is necessary anytime a tooth is damaged or becomes dislodged from the gums. You should always seek immediate medical care for these four common dental emergencies:

1. Knocked-Out Tooth

Getting a tooth knocked out can be jarring and requires immediate attention. If your tooth gets knocked out, do not touch the root. Place the tooth in a glass of milk or water, apply a cold compress on your mouth and get to an emergency dental clinic within 30 minutes2 or as quickly as possible.

2. Cracked or Chipped Tooth

Though a crack or chip may not seem very serious, there may be unseen damage deeper in the tooth. Additionally, there may be residual damage on surrounding teeth. Call for a same-day dentist office visit to see what dental treatments are necessary to fix the tooth.

chipped teeth due to seed shells

3. Abscessed Tooth

An abscessed tooth is when a pus pocket forms at the root of a tooth. This is a serious infection that requires an immediate visit to an emergency dental practice. This condition can be life-threatening due to the possible spread of infection to other areas of the body. Once the infection has been treated, a root canal may be required to save the tooth.

4. Orthodontic Emergencies

When a bracket is broken or loose, patients can often wait to see their orthodontist at the next available appointment. However, if the situation becomes more severe with parts of the orthodontic equipment creating open wounds, excessive bleeding, or significant irritation, you should see your dentist immediately.

Get the help you need fast! Contact Absolute Dental for quick, comprehensive emergency dental services.

Is Emergency Dental Care More Expensive?

Emergency dental care can be costly if you wait too long to see your dentist. However, the sooner you get in, there’s a better chance that the damage may not be as extensive. The cost of emergency dental work depends on the severity of the injury and if additional procedures are needed for a full recovery.

If you’ve had some serious damage happen to your teeth, be sure to see a dentist as soon as possible. Waiting is generally not a good idea and may lead to worse problems later on.

woman seeing a dentist for a excruciating toothache

Affordable Emergency Services at Absolute Dental

If you’re looking for excellent emergency care in a hurry, Absolute Dental is ready to help! Contact us today to schedule an appointment or call our office to discuss whether your dental injury is an emergency.


1Seymour, T. (20 March 2018). Everything You Need to Know About a Dead Tooth. Medical News Today. Retrieved 11 March 2022.

2American Association of Endodontists (AAE). Traumatic Dental Injuries. Retrieved 11 March 2022.

About the Author

Dentists in Las Vegas and Reno

Absolute Dental

Absolute Dental started in the Las Vegas valley with a single office and has been providing industry-leading dental care to our communities ever since.

Now at more than 30 offices across Las Vegas, Reno, Sparks, and Carson City and growing, we remain committed to offering quality affordable dental care and patient education while providing a relaxing and comfortable experience for your entire family, from the young to the young at heart.

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