Medical emergencies occur frequently. Imagine getting involved in an accident or a brawl that results in the loss of your teeth or a dental emergency. In such cases, the pain is excruciating, and you can't wait to see a dentist. That's where emergency dentistry comes in handy.

Our experts at South Coast Dentistry can assist you with your dental emergencies. We are aware that emergencies do not happen on purpose. Instead of rushing to the emergency room in the event of a dental emergency, you can contact an emergency dentist. Our dentists provide dental services in the city of Aliso Viejo, California.

Understanding Emergency Dentistry

Patients who experience a dental emergency can benefit from emergency dentistry as a dental healthcare service. An emergency dentist is a specialist who provides this service.

What Qualifies as a Dental Emergency?

Dental emergencies include any condition that affects the teeth and their supporting tissues. As a result, the problem becomes serious, demanding the services of an emergency dentist. However, it's important to note that not every dental emergency involves pain.

The pain can feel as though it's coming from the tooth, but it might originate from an independent source in addition to the supporting tissues around the affected tooth. Emergency dentistry assists in identifying the source of the pain and treating the problem appropriately.

Signs of Dental Emergencies

Below are several warning indications that you should seek the services of an emergency dentist.

Loose Teeth

Loose or wiggly teeth are common in children, but not in adults. As adults, the teeth are fully grown and developed into strong tools that can help you eat, speak and maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, if you notice a tooth is getting loose, a few issues could be wrong. To begin with, loose teeth indicate injury.

Any adult who experiences this discomfort should seek immediate medical attention from an emergency dentist. Whether your injury was caused by falling or an accident, your teeth must remain intact and sturdy.

Consequently, even if your teeth seem to be in good shape, make sure to see an emergency dentist because doing so can help check out nerve or jaw damage from falls or an accident.

Although nerve or jaw injury may not present obvious symptoms, addressing the problem early prevents the situation from worsening. A localized infection is another sign that a tooth or teeth are loose. Getting your teeth checked by a dentist allows you to quickly determine the kind of infection and manage it.

The final indicator is gum disease or dental caries. When a loose tooth causes a toothache, seeking emergency dental treatment will help in ruling out gum disease or dental caries. Early intervention can assist you in preserving your teeth and stopping the illness from spreading.

Aching and Bleeding Gums

Bleeding gums are a common early sign of early gum disease or gingivitis. However, if the gum bleeding is persistent, severe, and occasionally makes your gums hurt, this situation needs to be seen by a dentist right away. Gum disease can be avoided by including proper brushing and flossing practices in your dental hygiene routine.

However, you should see an emergency dentist when the gums continue swelling or hurting. Early detection of gum disease could assist you in keeping your gums and teeth healthy. Patients who have untreated gum conditions risk losing their healthy teeth. This could also impact your capacity to maintain a healthy life as well as how you eat and speak

Intense Toothache

The intensity of a toothache is an indication that it's time to see a dentist for pain relief. There are various at-home remedies you can try if you do have a mild toothache. However, when none of the treatment alternatives work, consult a dentist right away because the cause of your toothache can be serious.

An accurate diagnosis is required for you to undergo therapy since it addresses the cause of the issue and provides immediate relief. You need to see an emergency dentist when the toothache gets worse, lingers after being touched, or becomes sensitive to temperature.

Swollen Jaws

Swollen jaws are often a symptom of a serious infection, including an infection of the salivary glands. A person needs to get help from their emergency dentist if they have a fever and a swollen jaw, a terrible taste in their mouth, difficulty breathing, or swallowing.

An infection of the salivary gland is an infection induced by salivary gland obstruction. This form of obstruction inhibits the saliva from flushing away bacteria and digesting food. Even though infection of the salivary gland is very rare, it is important to have your dentist look at any symptoms to make sure everything is treated.

A Sore Does Not Go Away

Canker sores of the mouth are not uncommon, and they could appear at any time. Nevertheless, lesions are only a problem when they get infected or remain for an extended period. Visit your dentist to exclude any infections if the open sore hasn't gone away within two weeks.

Dental Abscess

If you develop any of the symptoms of a tooth abscess, you should see an emergency dentist right away. Dental abscesses are painful tooth infections that develop at the roots. They are typically brought on by serious gum disease or untreated cavities. A dental abscess could develop as a result of any tooth trauma.  The symptoms include a bad taste, swollen glands, fever, and pus.

It is also crucial to keep in mind that similar symptoms can potentially be brought on by other infections. It is easier to eliminate other potential illnesses by seeking treatment right away. It also helps to ensure that you receive some sort of treatment to discharge and manage the infection.

Chronic Headaches

Headaches can be brought on by several factors, including stress, illness, and eating cold foods too rapidly. However, if the headaches start occurring frequently and last a long time, it can be a sign of something worse. Because the teeth and head are interconnected, if your mouth or jaw is experiencing pain, it could affect the head and cause a headache.

When the headaches are persistent, you may be grinding the teeth excessively, a condition known as bruxism. People who persistently grind their teeth all the time usually suffer from headaches.

When this is the case, speaking with your dental specialist could assist you in reducing headaches. Visit your emergency dentist right away if you experience any signs of bruxism, including excessive dental sensitivity or damaged tooth enamel.

Extreme Exhaustion

This symptom is hard to diagnose. There are different reasons why someone could feel excessively worn out and drained. However, if you continuously feel fatigued, a dental infection could be to blame. Various infections might manifest as exhaustion. It is advisable to check with your dentist to ensure that tooth abscesses or gum disease have not caused your exhaustion.

This enables you to start treating the symptoms right away.

A Metallic Taste in the Mouth

If you've ever received a metal filing, you are aware that the metal-like aftertaste in your mouth can indicate loose or fractured old filing. Always seek medical treatment right away if you develop such symptoms.

A loosened or fractured filling might expose the teeth to decay or additional infections. You are quite likely to get cavities, a toothache, or undergo a root canal when you wait for this to resolve itself. Emergency dental care can help treat any existing infections and add a new filling.

What Doesn't Qualify as a Dental Emergency?

If a dental issue can wait till your next scheduled dentist appointment, it is not considered an emergency. Sometimes dental problems that appear to be serious can be put off for a day or even two if you take proper care of them. For example, a chipped or cracked tooth will become an emergency if it's extremely uncomfortable or if there are residual fragments that cause damage in the mouth. However, if the cracked tooth does not cause any pain, you can postpone seeing a dentist.

Additionally, not every toothache necessitates emergency dental care. If the discomfort from your toothache isn't severe and there are no signs of abscesses, such as bumps on the gums, fever, or face swelling you can wait for a few days before seeing your dentist.

If you've recently lost a crown or filling and there is no metal-like taste in your mouth, you could also wait several days before seeing the dentist. Other non-emergency dental issues include:

  • A small dental chip
  • A small dental fracture
  • Food stuck between the teeth
  • A broken, cracked tooth that is not painful

Common Dental Emergencies

The following are some examples of the most common dental emergencies.


Pain is not a good indication since it can signify several problems, like tooth decay. Although some toothaches can be managed without emergency care, certain signs, such as swelling, require immediate attention. Avoid using common medications such as aspirin or any other pain reliever because contact with the damaged gums might cause tissue inflammation.

Instead, apply an ice pack on the outside of the cheek and contact an emergency dental clinic. Once the treatment is complete, your dentist would emphasize the importance of oral hygiene in preventing cavities, tooth decay, and other serious dental issues.

Fractured or Chipped Teeth

A broken or chipped tooth not only ruins your beautiful smile but can also cause pain. Use warm water to rinse your mouth and apply gauze to the bleeding area.

Then, apply an ice pack to the area of the face close to the chipped or broken tooth to alleviate pain and reduce swelling. While receiving emergency care, your dentist would advise you to avoid chewing crunchy and hard foods, along with sports and other activities that might cause your teeth to chip or break.

Knocked-Out Teeth

Pick up the tooth by the crown (the exposed area in the mouth) and rinse and clean the root if it's dirty. Avoid removing or scrubbing attached fragments if possible. Depending on the severity of the injury, you could be able to replace the tooth. However, be cautious not to press it into the tooth socket.

You have a better chance of salvaging your knocked-out teeth and putting them back in place if you can accomplish this as quickly as possible—ideally, within an hour. If you can't re-insert the tooth, place it in a cup of water with a pinch of salt or milk. This would help the teeth stay healthy until a dentist can restore them in a dental clinic.

Lost Crown or Filling

Fillings and crowns restore previously destroyed teeth to their original beauty and function. When these crack, you should treat them as soon as possible to minimize further reinfection or damage. While you wait for emergency dental treatment, try this quick remedy.

Fill the cavity with sugarless gum but don't try to fix it yourself to avoid breaking the tooth. You can alternatively pack it in a zip-lock bag and take it to your dentist to have it reapplied or have a new dental crown installed.

Broken Braces

Braces are durable; the brackets and metal wires are made to tolerate daily stress from talking, chewing, or eating. Even so, they may still break, protrude, or stab your gums or cheeks. This does not only hurt, but it could also interrupt or even undo the tooth alignment and straightening progression.

If this occurs, you might try moving the damaged wire toward a more desirable position. If you can't do this, conceal the uncovered end using orthodontic wax, gauze, or a cotton ball. Regardless of how aggravating, do not cut that wire to prevent swallowing.


Mouth infections are harmful, particularly those that occur close to the root or between the gums and teeth. These can affect nearby teeth, gum tissue, as well as the entire body, if left untreated. If you're unsure if you have abscesses, look for painful, swollen lesions on your gums that resemble a pimple.

To prevent worsening oral health issues, see your dentist right away. For short-term relief, rinse out your mouth using a warm water solution and place an ice pack over the swollen region.

Pain and Bleeding After a Tooth Extraction Procedure

While some post-operative discomfort and bleeding are expected, if either of these symptoms lasts more than an hour, it could be time to contact the dentist. Meanwhile, apply a gauze pad on the extraction point and exert pressure by biting hard on the pad. Refrain from sucking, spitting, smoking, drinking, or eating.

The Advantages of Emergency Dentistry

Accidents happen, and they often happen when you least expect them. But by using emergency dentistry, you could rest assured that your dentistry needs will be addressed. The following are some advantages of dental emergency treatments:

Peace of Mind

Many people wait until they're certain that their medical problem is an emergency before going to the dentist. However, you need to call an emergency dentist right away if you're in pain because you deserve to be pain-free. Not making the call will only increase your stress and suffering.

Pain Relief

Pain is almost always present in people who have a dental emergency. This prompts people to seek out immediate assistance from their emergency dentists to help with pain control. You may be unable to go about your daily routine if there is persistent swelling and dental discomfort. You can immediately get the assistance you need by seeing a qualified emergency dentist.

Keep in mind that the longer you put off getting dental treatment, the worse your pain could get. This ultimately interferes with both your personal and professional life.

Treatment Solutions

People who experience dental emergencies need to get immediate assistance. From a chipped or fractured tooth to a tooth that was knocked out, emergency dental care provides immediate treatment options for these problems.

Preventive Care

Pain and inflammation in the mouth could be signs of a serious problem, like an abscess. Without the appropriate care, bacterial infections of this nature can progress to your jaw, brain, and neck. These infections do not simply go away. Sepsis is occasionally brought on by a bacterial infection such as an abscess. Even though a toothache might not seem like a significant emergency initially, getting it treated right away can stop it from becoming one later on.

Why is it Important to Know an Emergency Dentist?

Choosing an emergency dentist could be difficult, particularly when there has been a medical emergency or an accident. Even though you know a reputable dentist, there's no assurance that they'd be ready to attend to you right away.

As a result, it is critical and much simpler for people to find an emergency dentist even before an emergency occurs. Pick a clinic after reviewing a couple of them to see which ones are well-prepared to handle different dental emergencies.

Find an Emergency Dentist Near Me

Since accidents can occur at any moment or anywhere, it's important to be ready and remain calm when they do happen. You can then avoid more problems by seeing an emergency dentist as soon as possible. South Coast Dentistry in Aliso Viejo, CA is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you are experiencing an emergency issue, call us right away at 949-274-9086. You do not need to wait to see a dentist. The earlier you seek assistance, the better off you are and the lower the risks you face.