Skip to Content
chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up chevron-right chevron-left arrow-back star phone quote checkbox-checked search wrench info shield play connection mobile coin-dollar spoon-knife ticket pushpin location gift fire feed bubbles home heart calendar price-tag credit-card clock envelop facebook instagram twitter youtube pinterest yelp google reddit linkedin envelope bbb pinterest homeadvisor angies


When Should You Call an Emergency Dentist?

At some point, we all suffer from teeth or gums that are sore or painful. Or suffer another type of dental emergency. But at what point should you contact an emergency dentist near you? And should you wait to see a dentist or should you visit an urgent care doctor’s office immediately?

emergency dentist renton wa

Dental emergencies can be frightening and painful. There are a number of issues that constitute a dental emergency and it’s usually better to be seen sooner by an emergency dentist than later. But determining your symptoms and the severity of your conditions will help you decide if and how soon you should schedule an emergency dental appointment.

12 Reasons to Contact an Emergency Dentist Near You

Here are 12 reasons why you should immediately contact an emergency dentist in your area.

  1. You have a loose tooth
  2. You have a severe, unbearable toothache
  3. You knock out one or more of your teeth
  4. You have a cracked, chipped, or broken tooth
  5. You are suffering from jaw pain or a swollen jaw
  6. Your gums are bleeding or aching
  7. You have a dental abscess
  8. You have a canker sore that isn’t getting better
  9. You get a piece of food lodged deep in a crevice
  10. You have lost a filling or dental crown
  11. You experienced mouth trauma such as a hard impact to the mouth that caused tooth intrusion
  12. You bit your tongue or split your lip significantly
You Have Throbbing Pain or an Unbearable Toothache

Severe infections and dental abscesses can arise seemingly without warning. You may notice some sensitivity when eating or drinking something hot or cold. This may not feel like much to be concerned with, but within a day or so, you could be experiencing deep and throbbing pain in your mouth. This may be the start of a root canal infection or abscess that must be addressed immediately by an urgent care dentist.

You Heard Something Crack

Often, dental emergencies can arise after eating certain foods, such as popcorn kernels, nuts, or something equally hard. If you heard something crack while eating, then inspect the suspicious area for signs of a cracked tooth. If you experienced pain at the same time as the crack or shortly after, then you may need to see a dentist for cracked tooth repair.

You Knocked Out a Tooth or Teeth

If you knock out any of your teeth, you need to visit an emergency dentist as soon as possible. If possible, cover the knocked out tooth or teeth in saliva or milk in a clean container and bring it/them with you to your appointment.

You Have a Loose Tooth

As an adult, you should not have loose or wiggling teeth. Your teeth have properly matured and grown into sturdy tools to help you eat, speak, and live a healthy life, if you have a loose tooth it could be due to an injury or localized infection – both of which require immediate attention by an experienced dentist.

Your Gums Are Swollen And Sore

In addition to the previous symptoms, you may want to visit an urgent care dentist if your gums feel swollen and sore. These may be signs of a growing dental infection, especially if the swelling and soreness do not subside. Take the recommended dosage for over-the-counter inflammatory medication; if the symptoms do not go away, then call you are urgent care dentist.

Your Gums are Bleeding

Occasionally your gums may bleed such as after you floss (while this isn’t normal it does happen if you haven’t flossed in a while or it can be indicative of early gum disease or gingivitis). But if the bleeding of your gums is excessive, recurring, and leaves your gums aching – you’ve got some warning signs to pay attention to. These are some of the most common signs of gum disease. Contact a local Renton emergency dentist if your gums are aching or swelling. Catching gum disease early is keep to keeping your gums and teeth healthy and intact. Untreated symptoms of gum disease can reach the point of no return – meaning the inability to restore your teeth back to their healthy state.

Your Crown or Filling Fell Out

A tooth is not the only thing in your mouth that could fall out. If you have crowns or fillings, the metals may become loose and fall out completely over time. If they do fall out, you do not need to keep the crown or filling but you do need to schedule a dental appointment as soon as possible. The exposed tooth could include sensitive nerves and result in extreme pain in your mouth.

You Have a Fever

If you are experiencing pain or swelling in your mouth, in addition to fever, then see an emergency dentist right away. Fevers occur when the body is trying to fight off an infection. If you have a fever, as well as the previous dental symptoms, then your body may be fighting off a dental infection or a dental abscess. This type of infection can only be corrected by a dentist.

Why You Should Avoid the Hospital ER for Dental Emergencies

It’s estimated that over 800,000 Americans will end up in the ER for dental emergencies this year. But there are a few reasons to avoid going to the ER when you have a dental emergency.

For starters, on top of the ER bill, you are most likely going to still need to see a dentist for treatment as most ERs or urgent care clinics can not fully treat the cause of the problem. 

Only a dentist can perform dentistry which seems like a no-brainer except that when many people have a dental emergency they don’t turn to a dentist first they turn to a hospital emergency room or urgent care clinic. ER and urgent care doctors are not trained in dentistry and in many states it is illegal for anyone other than a dentist to pull a tooth, fill a cavity, or perform any other restorative dental care. It’s extremely rare to find an emergency room with a dentist on call or on staff.

When should you visit an ER instead of an emergency dentist first? If you experience trauma to the face that has caused severe swelling, cuts inside or around the mouth, or a broken jaw, visit the emergency room nearest your location before contacting a dentist.

Final Thoughts

When your teeth and gums have been hurting or swelling severely, then it may be time to call an urgent care dental office in Renton, WA. These signs, among others, can signal the possibility of a dental infection or abscess that must be addressed by an urgent care dentist right away.

At Smiles @ Southcenter near Renton, we understand that dental emergencies can be uncomfortable and upsetting. We get emergency dental patients in as fast as possible and take great care to provide a safe, comfortable, and relaxing emergency appointment.

It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your dental care. Additionally, postponing dental treatment could result in more expensive, complex, and intrusive treatments when you do finally make an appointment.

About the Author – Dr. Thuy Nguyen, DDS

Dr. Thuy Nguyen DDS in Tukwila, WA holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and received a Doctorate of Dental Surgery from the University of Washington. In 2011, she also completed the Progressive Orthodontic Program. She is known for her fine work and a friendly and caring attitude. Her enthusiasm for dentistry is contagious, as she designs and improves smile after smile. Dr. Nguyen is bilingual in English and Vietnamese. She maintains memberships to the Seattle King County Dental Association, The Washington State Dental Association, and The American Dental Association. Dr. Nguyen has a keen eye for dental aesthetics and a talent for delivering unparalleled cosmetic dentistry.



Request an Appointment

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.