What Qualifies as a Dental Emergency?

Aug 07, 2023

What Qualifies as a Dental Emergency?
Ever wondered when that toothache might be more than just a minor inconvenience? Learn to spot dental emergencies and stay prepared with our comprehensive guide.

We've all experienced those unexpected moments in life, but what about dental emergencies? When it comes to your oral health, knowing how to identify a dental emergency can make a world of difference in seeking prompt care.

At R&J Dental, Habib Rahemtulla, DDS and our team of experts in San Antonio, Texas are committed to providing exceptional care during dental emergencies. Whether it's trauma, impacted wisdom teeth, or sports injuries, we offer same-day treatment to ensure your oral health and well-being are in capable hands.

We’ll even help equip you with the knowledge to recognize when it's time to hit the panic button and rush to our office. Let's explore the signs and symptoms of dental emergencies, along with essential tips for handling them with composure and confidence.

What is a dental emergency? 

Life is full of surprises, and dental emergencies are no exception. But how do you differentiate between a minor issue and a true dental emergency? 

Here are some common signs that should raise red flags and prompt you to seek immediate dental attention:

Severe toothache 

A persistent and unbearable toothache can be a sign of a deeper problem, such as an abscess or severe tooth decay. Don't ignore it; contact our office right away.

Knocked-out tooth

Accidents happen, and if you've knocked out a tooth due to a fall or impact, time is of the essence. Retrieving the tooth and seeking emergency dental care within 30 minutes can increase the chances of successful re-implantation.

Broken or chipped tooth 

A broken or chipped tooth can expose sensitive nerves and leave your tooth vulnerable to further damage or infection. Seek immediate dental attention to prevent complications.

Loose or dislodged tooth 

If a tooth has become loose or shifted out of position due to an injury, do not attempt to force it back into place. Instead, visit our office right away for appropriate treatment.

Lost dental filling or crown 

lost filling or crown can expose the underlying tooth, causing discomfort and leaving it susceptible to decay. Schedule an emergency dental appointment to have it replaced promptly.

How to handle a dental emergency

Now that you can recognize dental emergencies, it's crucial to know how to respond calmly and effectively when they occur. 

Follow these steps to handle dental emergencies like a pro:

Stay calm

Dental emergencies can be distressing, but staying calm is essential to make rational decisions and seek appropriate care.

Contact your dentist 

As soon as you identify a dental emergency, contact Dr. Rahemtulla and our team for guidance. We offer same-day treatment for dental emergencies and can help you find relief. 

Knocked-out tooth 

If you've knocked out a tooth, gently rinse it with water (without scrubbing), and try to reinsert it into the socket if possible. If that's not feasible, place the tooth in a container of milk or a tooth preservation product and head to our office immediately.


Rinse your mouth with warm water and gently floss around the affected tooth to ensure there are no food particles stuck. Avoid placing aspirin or any painkiller directly on the gum, as it can cause irritation.

Broken tooth 

Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling. Retrieve any broken tooth fragments, if possible, and bring them with you to our office.

Knowing when to seek emergency care 

While some dental issues can wait for a regular dental appointment, the following situations demand immediate attention: 

  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Swelling and infection 
  • Severe trauma 
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing 

Ultimately, being prepared and knowledgeable about dental emergencies can save your smile and prevent potential complications. Whether it's a knocked-out tooth, severe toothache, or broken dental restoration, recognizing the signs of a dental emergency and responding promptly are crucial. 

Remember to stay calm and follow the appropriate steps for each situation. Dental emergencies can happen at any time, so arm yourself with this valuable information and be ready to tackle any unexpected oral health challenge that comes your way.

If you’re ready to learn more about dental emergencies and how we rise to the challenge at R&J Dental, call us at 210-828-9644 or click here to schedule an appointment with Dr. Rahemtulla today!