Everything You Should Know About an Emergency Dentist

Toothache or dental pain is one of the most unfortunate events that can cause immense discomfort to the individual. It usually occurs as a consequence of inflammation or infection. Often, such conditions need to be dealt with immediately.

Recent records have shown that most Americans visit hospital emergency care to receive dental treatment. Out of all these visits, around 54.8% of the dental conditions are considered as semi-urgent, and 23.9% of the visits are non-urgent.


Most people are uncertain about what qualifies as a dental emergency. Some of the common types of dental emergencies include tooth abscess, traumatic dental injury, facial swelling that may cause difficulty in swallowing or breathing, cracked tooth, or knocked out tooth.

Emergency dentists are well versed in such situations and ensure proper treatment 24×7. They offer advice on what to do and what not to do before and after the treatment. Today’s article will highlight the purpose of the emergency dentist. Furthermore, we will look into the types of emergency dental conditions and how to contact an emergency dentist.

What is a dental emergency?

A dental emergency is usually characterized by severe pain, swelling, and discomfort. Often such conditions are beyond the control of the patient. Typically, dental emergencies occur as a side effect of an active lifestyle. Some of the common dental emergencies are listed below –

  • Tooth abscess – it occurs as a result of pus collection inside or near the tooth. A tooth abscess can lead to severe pain and swelling. Often the individual may find it difficult to chew or swallow.
  • Toothache – Toothache is one of the prime symptoms of dental decay. However, the urgency of treatment can be determined by examining the characteristics of tooth pain. A throbbing, pulsating, or relentless toothache is considered a dental emergency. (1)

Additionally, a toothache that does not subside with medications and increases on biting or sleeping should be addressed immediately.

What is the purpose of an emergency dentist?

An emergency dentist understands the severity of the dental condition and provides immediate care and relief. Unlike other dentists, emergency dental professionals are available 24×7 to extend their care beyond the regular business day hours.

Some of the prime treatments performed by an emergency dentist include –

  • Drainage of tooth abscess followed by root canal treatment
  • Wisdom tooth removal
  • Tooth extraction
  • Control bleeding of soft oral tissues(3)
  • Replantation of knocked out tooth
  • Splinting of mobile teeth
  • Removal of fractured filling followed by appropriate restoration
  • Treatment to reduce peri-implantitis
  • Prescribe medicines such as antibiotics and analgesics for pain relief

Most of the time, the emergency dentist tries to treat the dental condition permanently. However, in some cases, they may provide temporary relief and refer the patient to a dental specialist.

When should you contact an emergency dentist?

It is essential to identify emergency dental conditions and seek appropriate help at the nearest emergency dental care. You should make an appointment for immediate dental care if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms –

  • Toothache associated with swelling that interferes with eating or mouth opening
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Fractured tooth or jaw (4)
  • Displaced teeth
  • Inability to open the mouth
  • Severe pain after tooth removal
  • A broken tooth or knocked-out teeth
  • Loose implant
  • Fractured tooth fillings (5)

How to find an emergency dentist?

Many general dentists provide extended care facilities and set aside time in their schedules for emergency patients. Contact your dentist immediately during a dental emergency. If you are located far from the dentist’s office, look for a certified dentist near you. (6)

In cases where you may experience sudden pain or discomfort outside the business hours, for example, overnight or during a holiday, call your dentist immediately. Some voicemail messages offer instructions to tackle dental emergencies at home temporarily. Additionally, they also provide the phone number of a local on-call emergency dentist.

Another way to see an emergency dentist is to visit the nearest local hospital’s emergency room. Although it is not an ideal option as not all hospitals are equipped with emergency dental centers. However, they can help you by prescribing antibiotics and analgesics to ease the pain and swelling until you visit your dentist.

FAQs about emergency dentist

Can you go to an emergency dentist without insurance?

If you don’t have dental insurance, you might still have options to get emergency dental care. First, it is vital to know which conditions require immediate dental care and which dental state can wait.

  • Try to contact the nearest dental school where dental students provide quality treatment at no cost.
  • Look online for free or government dental clinics. Most of the dental professionals’ volunteer at such clinics and provide dental care at no cost for those in need.
  • Look out for community healthcare events that provide dental treatments.
  • Many dentists provide affordable payment plans, discounts, and zero-interest plans. Talk to your dentist and check which type of policy is suitable in your case.

What time does the emergency dentist open?

Emergency dentists are usually available 24×7 for 365 days. However, it is best always to call the emergency dental clinic and book an appointment. In case, the dentist is unavailable, the voice message or the receptionist may provide an alternative phone number of the nearest emergency dentist.

How much does an emergency dentist cost?

The cost of a dental examination, x-ray, and treatment by an emergency dentist are competitive and often cheaper than general dental clinics. Typically, the price varies by city/region. In some areas, non-surgical procedures may cost between $75 – $300, and surgical treatments may shoot up to $200 – $600. However, all pricing is more or less the same as compared to the cost of dental care in a particular area.

Can you seek help from an emergency dentist when pregnant?

It is best to get routine preventive examinations and cleanings during pregnancy. Usually, the first trimester is the most crucial time for a pregnant mother. Therefore, it is advised to postpone non-emergency dental procedures until after delivery. However, emergency dental care, such as root canal treatment or tooth removal, may be performed during the second trimester. This decision is made in co-operation with the patient’s gynecologist. (7)


Take away message

Dental emergencies are one of the most painful and uncomfortable experiences of an individual. Severe toothache, tooth abscess, fractured filling, loose implant, and knocked out teeth are some of the dental emergencies. Often, such conditions require immediate dental care. Most of the dental clinics do not open after business hours. This is when an emergency dentist plays a crucial role.

An emergency dentist is available 24×7 every day throughout the year. They are well versed in emergency dental conditions and provide immediate pain relief. Some of the procedures performed by an emergency dentists include root canal treatment, tooth extraction, pain relief, and control bleeding of soft tissues.


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