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FAQ: What is Considered a Dental Emergency?

FAQ: What is Considered a Dental Emergency?

The Science of Smiles - Best Dentist Pasadena CAIt’s easy to ignore problems going on inside your mouth. From canker sores and to minor bleeding gums — most oral problems are nothing to be concerned about and can wait for a scheduled appointment. Other problems, however, are considered dental emergencies that require immediate care.

So, what exactly is a dental emergency? Here are the most common types that deserve immediate attention.

Tooth Infection

Severe tooth decay can increase your risk of developing an infection, or an impaction. When this occurs, you might experience severe pain in the affected tooth. You might also have swelling in the surrounding area. Tooth infections can end up spreading to other parts of your body if bacteria enter your bloodstream. Since this can lead to a potentially life-threatening situation, it’s important to get immediate care for a tooth infection. You can hold an ice pack or cold washcloth against your jaw, and take over-the-counter pain medication for temporary relief while you wait for a visit with me or an emergency dentist.

Cracked Teeth

Your teeth can crack if you get hit in the mouth, such as while playing sports, or when you have tooth decay that leaves you with weakened teeth. When you have a cracked tooth, bacteria can enter and put you at risk of developing an infection. If you notice that you have a cracked tooth, rinse out your mouth using warm water. If needed, you can put an ice pack or cold washcloth on your jaw to help ease swelling. Emergency dental care can help ensure that your tooth is repaired and whole again.

Knocked Out Teeth

You can lose a tooth or two when you fall and land on your face or when you’re hit in the mouth. If you play certain sports, such as hockey, your risk of having knocked out teeth is higher. When you have a knocked out tooth, calling us quickly enough can help save that tooth. Make sure that you pick up the tooth gently and avoid touching any part of the root. Rinse it off to remove germs, then try putting it back in the socket if possible. If you are unable to do this, keep the tooth moist in a container of milk and bring it to the dentist. When you get care as soon as possible, I or an emergency dentist should be able to restore your tooth without any issues.

Loss of Temporary Crown

When you’re waiting for a permanent dental crown, you might end up losing your temporary crown. If this happens, try to make sure you hold onto the temporary crown, so that you won’t need an entirely new one. You can attempt to put the crown back in place with a small amount of toothpaste or dental cement from your local drugstore. Just make sure that you don’t clamp your jaw down hard on it, or it could break or fall out again. You’ll need emergency dental care as soon as possible in order to have your temporary crown fully restored. If you swallowed your temporary crown, keep in mind that you’ll need to get a new one in order to protect your tooth until your permanent crown is ready.

Jaw Pain or Injury

If you have severe or persistent jaw pain or if your jaw has been injured, you should call us for emergency care. Jaw injuries can affect your ability to open and close your mouth smoothly, which can make it hard to chew food and talk. Jaw pain can be caused by other problems that require immediate care, such as an infection, advanced gum disease or severe tooth decay. Having emergency dental care done helps identify the cause of your jaw pain or ensure that you receive prompt care for an injury. The type of treatment you’ll need, such as gum disease treatment, tooth extraction, antibiotics for an infection or a root canal, will depend on the underlying cause.


When you experience any kind of dental emergency, don’t wait to get treatment. Contact THE SCIENCE OF SMILES® for more information about our dental emergency care in Pasadena. We can quickly determine what kind of dental problem you’re having and provide you with prompt care for it to lower the risk of serious complications.


THE SCIENCE OF SMILES® offers affordable cosmetic and laser dentistry and gentle, compassionate general dental care in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures, complete dental reconstruction and TMJ/Headache management. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover affordable up-to-date dentistry and a team who truly cares at THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®.