4 Dental Emergencies You Can’t Ignore


It’s easy to brush off a tooth problem, especially if it’s not very painful or a few ibuprofen knock out the discomfort. Taking time out of the day to go to the dentist is inconvenient, you may be concerned about costs, and right now, with social distancing still underway, you want to avoid going out in general. However, there are certain tooth and gum problems that can lead to serious complications if you put off seeking medical care. To help you know what’s a dental emergency and what can wait a few days, our dentist in Fuquay-Varina is outlining five dental emergencies you can’t ignore.

A Tooth Gets Knocked Out

If you fall, get hit playing softball, or experience another type of injury that results in a tooth getting knocked out, you need immediate treatment. Not only will you probably be in severe pain, but there’s a good possibility that an emergency dentist can save the tooth.

If a tooth gets knocked out, call your dentist immediately to let them know what’s going on, then follow these steps:

  • Hold the tooth by the crown (the white part for chewing) and not the root;
  • Rinse the tooth with water only if there is dirt or debris;
  • Don’t use soap, detergent, or cleaners of any kind on the tooth;
  • Don’t dry or wrap the tooth in a towel, paper towel, or tissue;
  • Place the tooth back into the socket and, holding the crown, push in gently. Then, hold the tooth in place or bit down on it.
  • Keep the tooth from drying out by keeping it in your mouth or in whole milk. Don’t keep it in tap water as the root can deteriorate;

This is one of the few times you would want to go to the emergency room if your emergency dentist is closed because even waiting a few hours means losing the tooth permanently.

Severe Tooth Pain After an Extraction

If you’ve had a tooth removed, whether it’s a wisdom tooth or due to decay, you may feel some discomfort for the next day or two. This usually a sore, tender feeling that can be minimized by ibuprofen or a pain reliever prescribed by your dentist. However, sharp, excruciating pain is not normal and can be a sign of “dry socket.”

Dry socket is a fairly common complication that occurs after having a tooth removed. The wound is covered by a clot which allows it to heal. If the clot dislodges, the nerves and bone in the area are exposed causing severe pain that may radiate to the eye or ear and cause swelling.

This is not a pain that should be tolerated until it goes away. Instead, call your dentist who performed the extraction, or, if the office is closed, reach out to an emergency dentist for assistance. They will flush and clean the area and apply a dressing to minimize any risk of infection and end any pain, plus they may prescribe a mild pain reliever.

Severe Tooth Pain Accompanied By Swelling

An abscess or infection within the root of your tooth can lead to life threatening complications if ignored, so it’s important to seek treatment for this dental emergency as soon as possible. Signs of an abscess include:

  • Severe pain that doesn’t respond to over the counter medication;
  • Swelling or a knot on the gum or jaw;
  • Pain, accompanied by fever;
  • A foul odor or taste in the mouth;
  • A blister or pimple along the gum;

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, these tips will help while you wait to see your emergency dentist:

  • Rinse with warm salt water to help wash away bacteria;
  • Take an over the counter pain reliever to reduce pain;
  • Press a cold compress to the area;

These don’t heal the abscess, but they can minimize discomfort.

Broken Tooth Accompanied By Pain

If a tooth cracks or chips and it’s not painful, you can typically wait a few days to see your dentist. Similarly, if you lose a crown or filling, this isn’t considered an emergency, though it’s not something you want to wait too long to have repaired. However, if it breaks severely and there is pain accompanying the break, you will want to reach out to a dentist in Fuquay Varina immediately.

Call Our Emergency Dentist in Fuquay Varina

At Hamby Family Dental Center, we offer emergency dentistry to both new and existing patients. If you’re experiencing one of the listed problems, please fill out the form below or call our office at (919) 552-2431. We will fix the problem and also work with you to keep your teeth healthy moving forward.