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Think You’re Having a Dental Emergency? Ask Yourself These 5 Questions

From minor to severe, there are many different types of conditions that could qualify as being a dental emergency. Some cases require immediate care, while other times, it’s okay to wait it out for the next available appointment at our office. Unfortunately, many people just don’t know what constitutes a real dental emergency.

Do you think you know?

Here are five questions to ask yourself when you’re having an issue in or around your mouth.

Is There Any Swelling in the Face or Jaw Area?

Swelling in the face or jaw area can be a sign of a dental abscess. A dental abscess is a serious condition which requires immediate care to prevent the infection from spreading to your bloodstream and other parts of your body. If you have swelling that feels warm to the touch and/or is accompanied by tooth or gum pain, you could very well have a dental abscess.

Does the Pain Subside With Home Remedies?

If you are experiencing pain in your tooth or gums, there are many home remedies you can use to help relieve the pain. This includes using an ice pack, taking over-the-counter pain relievers and/or using a warm saltwater rinse. If the pain subsides with home remedies, you may simply have tooth sensitivity or a cavity, neither of which are dental emergencies.

Is the Tooth Loose or Knocked Out?

As an adult, you should not have teeth that are loose or out of place. If you a tooth wiggles around in your mouth, has fallen out or has been knocked out, this definitely counts as an emergency. It is important to get emergency dental care in this instance, as it can be the difference between your tooth being saved and being able to be reattached and your tooth not being able to be saved. If your tooth is loose, do not wiggle it or attempt to remove it. Leave it in place and attempt not to move it as much as possible.

Has Your Tooth Gone Numb?

One of the lesser known signs that you are experiencing a dental emergency is that your tooth has gone numb. This can be a serious sign that there is a problem with the nerve, or that the nerve and/or tooth has or is dying. Most people experience dental pain before their tooth suddenly goes numb. If you have been experiencing tooth discomfort and suddenly feel your tooth go numb, it is important to seek treatment right away.

Are You Bleeding Excessively?

It is fairly common to experience minor bleeding in the gum area or tooth region when you brush or floss your teeth. This may be a sign of gum disease, so you should bring it up with us at your next appointment. However, if you are brushing or flossing, or are hit in the mouth, and begin to bleed excessively, you may have a dental emergency. Apply pressure to the bleeding with a dampened cloth.


If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you should call our office. Here at THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®, we are a leading dental practice in Pasadena. We specialize in comprehensive dentistry and we are always here during the week for emergencies.


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®.