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What is classed as Emergency Dentistry?

Dealing with dental problems during out of office hours can feel overwhelming, especially when you're in pain. Many dentists will see you if you have a dental emergency in the evenings, weekends, or even during bank holidays.

Not every dental problem is a dental emergency, though. So, what exactly constitutes an emergency?

When it comes to determining if you have a dental emergency, you can ask yourself the following questions:

    • Are you continuing to bleed for more than 20 minutes, even after biting down on a gauze?
    • Are you in severe pain that is affecting your ability to sleep, concentrate, or eat?
    • Have you lost, broken, or chipped a tooth?
    • Do you have an infection?

If you are bleeding, in pain, or have a damaged tooth, these can lead to life-threatening or long term medical problems, and they are classed as a dental emergency.

Below we will walk through some of the most common types of dental emergencies.

Dental Trauma

Dental trauma is one of the most common types of dental emergencies. It is a general term that encompasses any injury to the mouth, including teeth, lips, gums, tongues, and jawbone. Dental trauma is an injury to the mouth, including teeth, lips, gums, tongue, and jawbones. Teeth, soft tissue, and bones can be injured, fractured, broken, displaced, and lost entirely.

Kids Dental Trauma

Children are far more susceptible to dental trauma due to their risk-taking nature and fearlessness. However, if chipped teeth, damaged gums, and broken bones are not treated immediately, this can leave them vulnerable to life long oral health problems.

Cracked, Chipped or Broken Tooth

People love to play fast and loose with their teeth. Whether you’re opening something with your teeth or a sports injury has resulted in a cracked, chipped, or broken tooth, you must get to an emergency dentist as soon as you can to preserve the damaged tooth as much as possible.

Knocked-out Tooth

Luckily, if you act quickly if your tooth is knocked out, your emergency dentist will be able to reinsert and preserve your tooth.

First, you must call an emergency dentist as soon as you lose the tooth. Then make sure you gently pick up your tooth at the top and avoid the root. Next, you can carefully clean and rinse the tooth, but make sure you don’t scrub the tooth. If you can, insert your tooth back into the socket. If you cannot do that, then place your tooth in a clean container with some milk until your appointment.

Partial Tooth Dislodgement

If your tooth has not been knocked out, but is partially dislodged, then this also constitutes a dental emergency. Your tooth will be loose but hanging on to the root or dental nerve, and if you do seek medical treatment, you risk losing the tooth entirely, gum disease, dental decay, or infection.


There are many reasons people suffer from toothaches, and we’ll go into the reasons in more detail below.

It is important to note that if your toothache is so severe that it distracts you from your daily routine, you should call an emergency dentist.

While you might think it is an ordinary toothache that can wait until after the weekend, you might not know what kind of toothache it is precisely, and it is always better to call the emergency dentist just in case.

Wisdom Tooth Pain

You will know when you’re ready to have your wisdom teeth, or third molars, removed. As your wisdom teeth grow in, there isn’t always room for them. This results in an intense pain in your jaw that can spread throughout your mouth and head.

You should see a dentist as soon as you start to feel pain, but seek an emergency dentist if the pain is severe.

If you’ve recently had your wisdom teeth removed, and your wounds will not stop bleeding even after biting down on gauze, then call your emergency dentist immediately.

Pulpitis (reversible)

Pulpitis is the tissue's inflammation in the centre of a tooth, also known as dental pulp. Dental pulp holds soft connective tissue, nerves, and the blood supply for teeth. When it is inflamed, you will feel a deep pain from the nerve of the tooth.

Reversible Pulpitis will typically become a cavity because it is not deep yet. To prevent it from spreading deeper, you should visit a dentist as soon as you feel the inflammation.

Pulpitis (irreversible)

Irreversible Pulpitis is one of the most common reasons people visit an emergency dentist. Once the bacteria spread to the nerve, the inflammation becomes so severe that it is unbearable. While it is irreversible, if left untreated, then the infection and bacteria will spread to other parts of the mouth and body. You should seek an emergency dentist if you feel inflammation and pain at the centre of your tooth.

Dental Abscess

A dental abscess is a collection of pus that forms inside the teeth, gums or bones. It can cause an intense throbbing pain throughout your teeth, jaw, neck, and ear. The pain may be worse when you lie down. Your gums will feel red and swollen, and your teeth will be incredibly tender or even lose.

Dental abscess does not go away on its own, and you should see an emergency dentist as soon as you can.

Tooth Extraction

There are countless reasons you may need an emergency tooth extraction.

It can be because of tooth decay or gum infection. You may also have a broken tooth or damaged dental implant. It is better to consult with your dentist about your symptoms before assuming you need an emergency tooth extraction.

If you’ve recently had a tooth extraction, and you continue to bleed several days after the surgery, then you must call an emergency dentist as you can. You are susceptible to infections if your scars will not heal.

Root Canal

Getting a root canal treatment is an effective treatment to save a decaying tooth. It is common to see an emergency dentist to have a root canal. When you have a root canal, you prevent the bacteria from spreading or having your tooth extracted entirely.

Tooth Cusp Damage

The cusp of your tooth is the pointed chewing surface. If these become damaged, then your teeth become susceptible to decay, Pulpitis, or dental abscess. If you damage your cusp, then you must call your emergency dentist ASAP.

Broken/Lost Fillings

If you neglect your broken or lost filling, it can lead to tooth decay or tooth loss. If you damage or lose your filling, call the emergency dentist to get a new filling as quickly as possible to preserve the tooth.

Broken/Lost Crowns or Caps

If your crown or cap has fallen off, then after you thoroughly clean it, you may try to recement it at home until you can see a dentist during regular office hours. However, if you have broken or lost your crown or cap, it is crucial to see an emergency dentist. Without your crown on, your tooth is incredibly vulnerable.

Accessing Emergency Dental Care

St. Peter’s Studio Dental Clinic in Bedford offers both preventative and emergency dental care. If you have experienced any of the above symptoms or dental problems, contact us immediately for your emergency dental needs at 01234 261 881.