Dental staff works to help a woman with a dental emergency

Dental Emergency Services – When to Seek Treatment & How to Find It

When most people think of dental work, they think of scheduled dental appointments. However, dental problems sometimes arise suddenly and abruptly and must be addressed immediately. This is where emergency dental work comes in.

When you’re in a dental emergency, you need treatment immediately. Interested in learning about what constitutes a dental emergency and how to seek urgent dental care? Keep reading to find out.

What Are Dental Emergency Services?

Dental emergency services are for when a dental issue arises and needs immediate attention.

The key issue with emergency dental care is that dental emergencies rarely happen during the limited convenient times when the dentist is open. Dental emergencies often occur when you least expect them and during the most inconvenient times possible – in the middle of the night, on weekends, holidays, etc.

Since dental emergencies aren’t restricted to a dentist’s 9-5 schedule, what happens when you need urgent dental care outside business hours?

The good news is that dentist offices deal with dental emergencies and offer dental emergency services. These offices often have an emergency line that can connect you to your dentist, to whom you can describe your emergency to.

From there, your dentist will be able to explain to you what you need to do. In extreme cases, they may have you come into the office to get treated immediately.

What happens if I can’t reach a dentist in an emergency?

Most Canadian cities have an emergency dental clinic that you should be able to access 24/7 in case of an emergency. However, you may be unable to reach either of these clinics.

Depending on the circumstance, seeking emergency services at the hospital might be a good idea.

Now that you know what dental emergency services are, let’s discuss what counts as a dental emergency.

Dentist and staff prepare to provide a woman with emergency dental services

What Qualifies as a Dental Emergency?

To determine whether you need dental emergency services, it’s essential first to understand what a dental emergency is.

As mentioned, a dental emergency is any circumstance that requires immediate dental care. However, what may be considered an emergency to you might not actually be a dental emergency.

Some problems may seem bad at the time but can be put off until the next day or whenever your dentist’s office opens.

For guidance, here are a few common dental emergencies.

Missing tooth

If you specifically have an avulsed tooth, also known as a tooth knocked out, then you must see a dentist immediately. This avoids additional damage to your mouth, tissue, nerves, or blood vessels, which could lead to other problems. Sometimes, saving that tooth is possible if treated quickly enough.

Severe pain

If you’re experiencing severe pain in your mouth, no matter the cause, seeking dental emergency services is a good idea. Beyond simply being extremely uncomfortable, severe tooth or jaw pain may indicate a larger dental problem at play that needs immediate treatment.


A dental abscess is a buildup of pus that can form inside your teeth, in your gums, or in the bone that holds the teeth in place. It’s caused by a bacterial infection.

While an abscess isn’t always an immediate cause for concern, a serious infection or an abscess can be life-threatening at times and should be addressed by your dentist as soon as possible.

Lost crown or filling

Dental crowns occasionally come loose, especially when eating. However, once they come completely off and expose your tooth, it may feel very sensitive and potentially even painful.

Even if you don’t experience extreme discomfort, it’s still a good idea to call your dentist immediately to let them know that your crown or filling is off to have them decide what to do. You increase your chances of getting an infection when left alone for too long.

Excessive bleeding

If you experience excessive bleeding from your mouth and it isn’t stopping – no matter the cause – it’s important to seek dental emergency services immediately. If you can’t reach a dentist, go to your nearest hospital as soon as possible.

It’s one thing to know what a dental emergency is, but it’s also important to know what circumstances aren’t considered dental emergencies. Let’s take a look.

A dentist provides emergency dental services to a young girl with tooth pain

What Does Not Require Dental Emergency Services?

For people with truly sensitive teeth or a really low pain tolerance, almost anything wrong may feel like a dental emergency. However, the title of dental emergency is reserved for only the worst circumstances where, if not addressed within hours, may worsen and lead to other problems.

That said, the following circumstances are not a dental emergency:

  • Chipped tooth: If your tooth was not removed from the root and is only chipped, it usually won’t count as a dental emergency. The exception is if what remains of your chipped tooth is so sharp that it’s damaging the rest of your mouth or if you’re in extreme pain.
  • Toothache: Toothaches can feel like the worst thing in the world while they’re happening. However, you should consider whether the pain is severe before opting for dental emergency services. For most people, it usually isn’t and can wait until the next day.
  • Bleeding gums: If you notice your gums bleeding after brushing or eating, it may just be a case of gingivitis or gum disease. You don’t need dental emergency services unless the bleeding is extreme and non-stop.

Conclusion: Where to Turn in a Dental Emergency

To conclude, it’s essential to know where you can get dental emergency services in the case of a dental situation that needs immediate attention. If your dentist doesn’t currently offer emergency dentistry, finding one who can is a good idea.

If you’re in the Trenton or Belleville area and need dental emergency services, don’t hesitate to contact You Make Me Smile to receive treatment when needed.