What’s Considered a Dental Emergency?

Not every dental problem should carry the label as being an emergency. For instance, if your smile doesn’t look white enough, this isn’t an emergency. However, if you took a bad fall and one of your teeth become damaged or even knocked out, that is an emergency. We also consider severe pain or bleeding that won’t stop also as dental emergencies. To help you decide if you’re in need of emergency dental care, we’ve compiled a list of dental emergencies below and what you should do if they happen. If you’re unsure if what you’re experiencing is an emergency or not, feel free to contact us anyway.

Knocked-Out/Dislodged Tooth

One of the most severe types of dental emergencies that also requires immediate attention is when a tooth becomes knocked out or dislodged. If your tooth encounters enough physical force, it can get knocked-out or dislodge. Please contact us immediately for emergency dental care. If a tooth becomes knocked out, you need to first apply gauze or a towel to the bleeding socket. Applying light pressure will help the bleeding stop. Next, you need to find the knocked-out tooth. Pick it up by the crown and then rinse it off. Place your knocked-out tooth in a cup of milk, saliva or saltwater to prevent it from drying out. Your tooth needs to be replaced back in your mouth as soon as possible for success. After thirty minutes, the success rate rapidly declines.

Damaged or Missing Restoration

Restorations like fillings, crowns, inlays, onlays, veneers or bridges are essential to keep your existing teeth healthy or looking great. If one of your restorations becomes damaged, loose, or falls out entirely, this is a dental emergency you should address early on. The longer you leave your restoration damaged, the more likely other problems can occur. Please contact us at your earliest convenience.

Damaged Tooth

When a tooth breaks, cracks, or chips, we also consider this a dental emergency. A tooth can cause more problems than just the physical damage you can see. A big enough crack can lead to an infected tooth which requires a root canal to fix. If you damage your tooth in any way, it’s helpful to have it assessed to ensure there isn’t a larger problem going on.

Tooth Abscess

Another reason for emergency dental care you might experience is a tooth abscess. An abscess usually occurs when a cavity has gone untreated, from poor oral hygiene, a high sugar diet, dry mouth, or dental injury. The abscess may appear on the outside of the tooth along the gumline or near the tooth root. The area will look swollen and feel painful and tender. If the abscess ruptures, it will give you a sensation of pain relief and taste a foul salty liquid. Other symptoms of a tooth abscess include fever, facial swelling, temperature and pressure sensitivity and throbbing pain. If you believe you have a tooth abscess, please contact us for immediate care.


There are many reasons why you might experience a toothache. When you first notice the toothache, try rinsing your mouth and brushing and flossing your teeth first. Oftentimes a toothache is simply from a piece of food stuck between the teeth. If the pain persists, try taking over the counter pain medication to keep the pain at bay. If the pain becomes overbearing, please contact us for attention. It’s likely there is a bigger problem occurring in your mouth.

We’re always happy to help our patients with any dental emergency they might experience. If you’re experiencing any pain or bleeding or a tooth has become severely damaged or knocked out, please contact our St. Augustine dental office for emergency dentistry. Please contact us by calling (904) 826-4343.