Dental issues can happen at any time. Toothaches can be excruciating. You may bite on something hard and damage a tooth or orthodontic appliance. There are so many things that can happen. However, it’s important to understand that not all dental issues are considered an emergency.

If you have a dental emergency, Dr. Maria Teresa Cook and the team at Mount Zion Dental can help. In this article, we will explain the common signs/symptoms and causes of dental emergencies and what you should do in the case of a dental emergency.

What is a Dental Emergency?

A dental emergency is a problem requiring immediate attention. These issues are characterized by excessive bleeding, pain, and/or swelling that does not resolve with at-home treatments. If you have these symptoms, an infection, or broken facial bones, you need emergency dental treatment.

Signs and Symptoms of Dental Emergencies

The most common signs and symptoms of dental emergencies include:

  • Excruciating/unbearable pain
  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Abscess on gumline near the affected tooth

Common Causes of Dental Emergencies

The most common causes of dental emergencies include:

Knock-out tooth

If a tooth is partially or completely knocked out, it is critical to seek emergency treatment as soon as possible. In many cases, the tooth can be saved.


An abscess is a pocket of pus that forms along the gumline near the affected tooth. This is an indication that you have an infection. If not addressed early, the infection could spread to other areas of the body.

Severe Toothache

A toothache is not necessarily a dental emergency. However, if the pain is unbearable and if you have bleeding, swelling, and/or an abscess, it is important to seek emergency dental care.

Soft Tissue Injury

Soft tissue injury is an injury that involves the tongue, cheek, and/or lips- and is often characterized by bleeding. If the bleeding is uncontrollable and you are in pain, you need to seek emergency treatment.

Lost/Broken Oral Appliance

While not necessarily an emergency, a lost/broken oral appliance such as braces or dentures should be addressed as soon as possible. Broken braces can delay treatment and lost/broken dentures can cause oral and overall health issues.

Immediate Steps to Take in a Dental Emergency

There are several steps you should take in the event of a dental emergency:

  • Determine the type of emergency you are having (toothache, broken tooth, knocked-out tooth, etc)
  • If you have a knocked-out tooth, find it and try to put it back in the socket- avoid touching the root. If you cannot get it back in the socket, place it between your cheek and gums or in a small container of milk
  • Call the dentist and explain your situation
  • Use a cold compress to control swelling, take an OTC pain reliever to manage pain, and bite down on gauze to control bleeding
  • If you are having an emergency, you will be told to go straight to the office- if not, you will be scheduled as soon as possible

How Mount Zion Dental Can Help

Dr. Maria Teresa Cook and the team at Mount Zion Dental are equipped to handle a variety of dental emergencies. We offer many services including emergency tooth extraction, root canal treatment, crowns, fillings, and more.

We start by getting your pain and bleeding under control. Then, we will perform an exam to determine the cause of the issue- and use that information to create your treatment plan.

Call Mount Zion Dental for Your Emergency Dental Needs

Any time you have a dental emergency, call Mount Zion Dental. We are available 24/7 to advise you on what you should do. Call us and explain your situation- we will determine if you need to come in right away or if you can wait until regular office hours for an appointment visit us at North Miami Beach, FL.

Emergency Dentistry FAQs

If you are concerned that you may be experiencing a dental emergency, the team at Mount Zion Dental can help. We will be happy to discuss your questions and concerns at any time. Below are some of the most common questions that we get from our patients.

How do I know if I need emergency dental work?

If you are experiencing excruciating pain, swelling, and/or uncontrollable bleeding, you may need emergency dental work. The only way to confirm this need is with an emergency exam.

Is a cracked filling an emergency?

No, a cracked filling is not a dental emergency. However, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible to repair it. If left untreated, a cracked filling opens the tooth to bacteria which can result in an infection and more serious complications.

When do most dental emergencies occur?

Dental emergencies typically occur at the most inconvenient times, outside of regular office hours. The good news is, that you can contact Mount Zion Dental at any time of the day or night- we offer emergency dental services.

Is a cavity a dental emergency?

A cavity itself is not considered a dental emergency. However, if the cavity is accompanied by excruciating pain, swelling, abscess, and/or bleeding, you need to seek dental care immediately.

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