When to go to the Emergency Room for Dental Pain

When to Go to the ER

Aug 23, 2019


In addition to being uncomfortable, dealing with dental pain affects many aspects of your daily life: Being able to brush your teeth, speak, and eat meals. If the pain is significant, it may also affect your sleep. Thankfully, there are plenty of dentists who can help alleviate symptoms, but they’re not always available at a moment’s notice; especially overnight, during a weekend, or over holidays.

How can you tell when dental pain is something you can “tough out” with an Ibuprofen until you can see a dentist in a day or two, and when are your symptoms a sign of a medical emergency?

When to Schedule a Dentist’s Appointment

Emergency rooms are not usually staffed with dentists. Therefore, if you’ve noticed you may have a cavity or have minor pain that can be managed with over-the-counter painkillers, it’s fine to schedule a dentist’s appointment, even if they can’t see you right away.

You can also wait to see a dentist if you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity when eating or drinking hot or cold items, or if you have a cracked tooth… unless the crack is resulting in bleeding. If the crack is minor and it does not hurt, you can wait until a dental appointment.

Additionally, if you’ve lost a crown or filling, you can use over-the-counter dental cement to put it back in place until your dentist can see you.

When to go to the Emergency Room

Always visit the emergency room if you’ve experienced any of the following:

  • Trauma to the face
  • Cuts inside your mouth
  • Severe swelling
  • A broken jaw
  • A dislocated jaw
  • An abscess that’s affecting your ability to swallow
  • An untreated infection
  • Pain or swelling that radiates to the neck
  • If the condition is affecting your breathing
  • If you’re an adult and you have a loose tooth or teeth
  • Headache
  • High fever
  • Severe pain

Do not try to wait and see if the injury gets better on its own, as left untreated, all of the conditions listed above could lead to life-threatening complications, such as necrosis of the pulpcellulitis, or septic shock.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you or a loved one have a medical emergency, we can provide the care you need. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

Find the Complete Care location nearest you.