What are Signs of a Dental Emergency?

For many of us, determining whether or not we are experiencing a dental emergency can be difficult. But when it comes to your dental health, understanding what is normal and when to get to the dentist as soon as possible is important for saving you time, money and discomfort.

Should I see a dentist immediately?

There are a few key ways to determine the severity of your dental discomfort and identify a true dental emergency.

Visible tooth damage

One of the easiest ways to tell whether or not you are experiencing a dental emergency is by seeing visible signs of severe tooth damage. Small chips or hairline cracks in the tooth can be repaired during regular business hours by your regular dentist, but large breaks require immediate emergency medical attention. Teeth missing chunks or with severe fracturing may be accompanied by severe pain and may be a sign that damage to inner tissue or bone may have occurred.


When an abrasion, lesion or other kind of injury occurs in the mouth, a pocket of pus called an abscess can form around the tooth. An abscess or other infection can also be caused by a bacterial infection, which in turn will cause uncomfortable and often very painful odor around the jaw and mouth. If you are experiencing mouth or jaw swelling, contacting or visiting an emergency dental professional is the best course of action. Leaving an abscess unattended can result in the infection spreading and worsening.

Bleeding and gum tenderness

A sign of bacterial infection and gum disease can be bleeding from the gums and gum tenderness. In these situations, getting help from an emergency dental professional is necessary. Aching and bleeding gums are the most common signs of gum disease, and left untreated, this can result in decay and tooth loss. Proper brushing and flossing will help to avoid gum pain and disease.

Headaches and sensitivity

Because your teeth are in your head, infections, swelling and irritation in your mouth can cause headaches and irritation to occur in the rest of your head. A sign that your dental health is impacting your head health is constant and persistent headaches, and this should be addressed to avoid worsening of the condition. Often times, headaches and head sensitivity related to dental care require simple fixes, such as wearing a mouth guard to avoid tooth grinding at night. To ensure fixes remain simple, address head pain with your dental provider as soon as possible.

Metallic taste

For individuals with fillings, a persistent metallic taste in the mouth can be a sign of cracked, loose, or damaged fillings. In these cases, emergency care is required not because the situation is dire, but in order to prevent further damage or infection. An open filling is vulnerable to bacteria and infection, which can result in much more painful conditions that require more involved and painful intervention. To prevent needing root canals, routinely have your fillings checked, and have them replaced immediately if they become damaged.

Do you need to make an appointment now?

If you are experiencing any of the issues above, get in touch with us using the information below in order to schedule your appointment with an emergency dentist or oral health specialist.

Request an appointment here: https://www.preferreddentalcenter.com or call Preferred Dental Center at (210) 593-7636 for an appointment in our San Antonio office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Emergency Dental Care.

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