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You’ve woken up with a strange feeling in your mouth, but you aren’t sure whether it’s due to a cracked tooth, an emerging wisdom tooth, or an untreated infection. The bottom line is this: you’re in pain, and you aren’t sure what to do. 

In all likelihood, you’re dealing with a dental emergency. These situations often occur at the least convenient times, like during a meal or in the middle of the night. But when it comes to dental emergencies, you can’t delay treatment—doing so puts you at risk of developing an infection, losing a tooth, or damaging your surrounding teeth. 

Your first instinct might be to drive to the emergency room at the nearest hospital. While this is necessary in some cases, you could also call an emergency dentist. 

What should you do if you’re dealing with a severe toothache? We’re going to share a few ways that you can handle this situation: 

What Is A Dental Emergency?

Many of us tend to dismiss how painful an injury can really be, but this comes at the cost of your oral health. By ignoring dental issues, they are given time to develop further. When you have a painful or broken tooth, or swollen gums, don’t delay—all these signs indicate that it’s time to call the dentist. 

To determine the severity of your issue, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you dealing with intense pain? 
  • Is your mouth bleeding uncontrollably? 
  • Have you lost a tooth?
  • Do you have an infection? 

If you answered “yes” to any of the above, you may be dealing with a dental emergency.

Common Dental Emergencies

Are you wondering if your injury constitutes a dental emergency? You might be torn between calling for help now or deciding to wait until the following day. Here are a few of the most common emergencies that we treat at our clinic:

Knocked Out Teeth

A knocked out tooth can cause excruciating pain. It’s also an incredibly stressful situation—you may fear that your tooth is gone for good. By scheduling dental emergency treatment as soon as possible, you can increase your chances of saving the tooth. 

In some cases, the tooth may not dislodge completely. Parts of it may still be attached to your gums. However, the tooth is still likely to fall out and will require treatment.

Tooth Abscess

Have you ever wondered why it’s important to fill cavities? If your teeth have holes in them, bacteria can enter the pulp chamber within them. This exposes the nerve tissues and blood vessels of your teeth to harmful bacteria, which can lead to an infection.  

A tooth abscess can form on the gums or in the roots of the teeth. Signs include pain, swelling, redness, and pimples on the gums.

Prompt treatment is essential with any tooth abscess. Left untreated, the infection can easily spread throughout the mouth and impact your surrounding teeth. 

Chipped and Cracked Teeth

Teeth can break for all sorts of reasons. You may have bitten down on something that was too hard or suffered an injury during sports. No matter the reason, one thing stays the same: you need treatment ASAP.

If you’re dealing with broken teeth, you aren’t alone—it’s one of the most common dental emergencies. Try to collect the fragments of the tooth, as your dentist may be able to reattach it. Otherwise, they can use a filling material and shape it to match your original tooth. 

Fractured Jaw

Trauma to the mouth may result in a fractured or broken jaw. This causes intense pain and swelling in the facial area. While your teeth may not be damaged, your jaw is still a pivotal part of your oral health. 

These injuries can be severe. In some cases, you may need to go to a hospital. You might consider this if you’re dealing with excessive bleeding or you suspect the bone is broken. 

Broken or Lost Filling

Fillings are intended to replace decayed tooth material and protect the inner chambers of the teeth from bacteria. If you lose a filling, the hole in your tooth can cause intense sensitivity and pain. Depending on how large the filling was, losing it could compromise the structure of the tooth, making it more likely to break. 


Sometimes, a tooth is sore, but you can’t figure out why. Over-the-counter painkillers are no help. Each time you chew, you feel a stabbing pain in the area of concern. The pain can inhibit your productivity and make it difficult to enjoy your life. 

Severe toothaches are one of the most common dental emergencies. The cause behind them isn’t always obvious. Your dentist can diagnose the cause behind your discomfort. 

Wisdom Tooth Pain

Most of our teeth came in when we were young children. But as adults, some of us experience pain when our wisdom teeth start erupting. If your wisdom teeth are impacted, they may be unable to emerge through the gums, and/or they could damage your other molars. 

The pain caused by impacted wisdom teeth can be severe. You may require an emergency surgical extraction to remove the tooth.

Prevent Dental Emergencies

Dental emergencies are, as you can imagine, a pretty unpleasant experience. You want to do what you can to avoid them. We’ve put together a few tips for you:

First, avoid chewing foods that are tough or sticky. This includes ice, hard candies, and popcorn kernels. If you tend to chew things when you’re nervous (like your nails, straws, or pen caps), try to find a softer replacement. Whenever possible, stay away from acidic or sugary foods, and rinse your mouth with water after consuming them. 

When you have a plastic package that just won’t budge, don’t use your teeth to tear it open! You’ll regret it if the tough material causes a tooth to fracture.

To prevent a knocked out tooth, make sure to wear a mouthguard during contact sports. You should also wear a mouthguard if you grind or clench your teeth at night to reduce the risk of broken teeth.

If you have concerns about a tooth, see your dentist sooner than later. Ignoring the issue can put you at a higher risk of breaking or losing a tooth. By scheduling regular check-ups, your dentist can repair minor issues, remove plaque, and apply fluoride treatments that strengthen your teeth.

What To Do In A Dental Emergency?

Taking the following steps quickly can reduce the risk of complications with your dental emergency:

  • Try to control bleeding. Losing large amounts of blood can be dangerous. You may need to apply gauze to the wound to slow the bleeding. This will also help the wound form a blood clot.
  • Find the broken tooth. If you’ve lost an entire tooth or part of one, set it aside in a clean place. Your dentist might be able to reattach it to the gums. In the meantime, you can submerge the tooth in a cup of milk to keep it hydrated.
  • Apply a cold compress. Many common dental emergencies cause swelling near the area. By applying an ice pack, you can reduce inflammation. This also serves to numb the nerves and reduce your pain. 
  • Rinse with salt water. A mixture of water and salt can sanitize the injured area of your mouth. Gently swish this area around your teeth, especially around the damaged tissues. 
  • Take a deep breath. Dental emergencies can be high-stress situations. It’s hard not to worry when you fear that you may lose a tooth or be dealing with a serious injury. Try taking a few deep breaths to slow your heart rate and ease your mind. When you’re ready, the next step is scheduling your emergency treatment.
  • Call an emergency dentist. The only way to treat your oral health issue is to contact a dentist. They can assess what is causing your pain and develop a treatment plan to address it. 

We’ll Help Find A Dentist Near You

We understand how important it is to schedule emergency treatment as soon as possible; that’s why we provide 24 hour service. When you call our dental emergency clinic, we’ll put you in touch with a dentist near you. We can connect you with dentists across Edmonton so you can visit the most convenient one. 

No one should have to live with the pain that dental emergencies cause. With our restorative services at Edmonton Emergency Dentists you don’t have to. Contact us today to schedule treatment for issues like a cracked tooth, tooth abscess, toothache, and more.