As all non-essential dental treatments have temporarily been put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can only see the dentist for dental emergencies or essential dental procedures.
However, we recommend that if you’re not sure if your dental concern is urgent, please call our dental clinic to discuss your symptoms and concerns over the phone. T (02) 6971 8764
We’d far prefer to talk to you than have you leave a potentially nasty dental problem unchecked. To give you some indication of emergency dental concerns, though, here are 11 examples of situations or conditions that require an emergency dental appointment.
I have a severe toothache
Severe toothache means toothache that is prolonged, not short-term, and cannot be remedied by over-the-counter medications. Many things can cause strong tooth pain, such as a loose filling or crown, or a cracked tooth, all of which can painfully expose a nerve deep inside your tooth. If your toothache is severe, make sure you take action and call the dentist immediately.
I have a dental abscess
Abscesses are possibly the most painful form of toothache.
An abscess can occur when the pulp portion of a tooth tissue becomes infected (called a periapical abscess). Infected pulp is usually caused by an untreated cavity that has deepened to the point where it reaches the pulp. Alternatively, abscesses could be caused by severe gum disease (called a periodontal abscess) – or sometimes, they can be caused by trauma to the tooth, such as a chipped tooth.
If you have an extremely strong toothache at the root of your tooth and are experiencing redness, swelling, throbbing pain, fever, pus, swollen glands and even a bad taste in your mouth, you may have an abscess and should see a dentist immediately. Abscesses must be treated by your dentist as soon as possible; you may need some type of surgery, drainage and/or antibiotics.
My gums are bleeding and very sore
If your gums occasionally bleed while brushing your teeth, it could be a sign that you have mild or early gum disease (a.k.a. gingivitis). Gingivitis requires professional attention – and can be treated to avoid leading to advanced gum disease – but gingivitis is not an emergency. However, if you have excessive bleeding of the gums or your gums are aching or swelling, you may already have gum disease. To find out if you have gum disease, you must see your dentist – sooner rather than later. Advanced gum disease is serious, and if left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss and poor health. Contact the dentist immediately.
I have a swollen jaw
A swollen jaw is serious – and usually a sign that you have an oral infection. For example, a swollen jaw could be a sign of salivary gland infection. Symptoms include fever, trouble breathing or swallowing and a bad taste in your mouth – along with a swollen jaw. How does this happen? Although incidences are rare, salivary gland infections are caused by a blockage in your salivary gland. When blocked, your saliva cannot do its job, which helps break down your food and wash away bacteria. If you suspect you may have a problem, contact your dentist immediately.
I have a sore spot in my mouth that isn’t going away
Many of us suffer from the odd tiny ulcer or canker sore (aphthous ulcer) in our mouth, particularly if we’ve been stressed or have forgotten to brush or floss out teeth. However, if you have a sore on the inside of your mouth that has been there for more than a couple of weeks and won’t go away, call your dentist right away and let them know. They will likely suggest you visit the clinic for an x-ray to rule out oral cancers or any other problems.
My mouth tastes like metal
Years ago, it used to be standard fare for dentists to repair cavities with metal fillings. If you’ve been given a metal filling and recently have developed a metallic taste in your mouth, your old metal filling may have cracked and become loose. It’s always important to repair a damaged filling as soon as possible to keep your tooth protected and avoid further decay or infection.
My tooth has gone numb
If you’ve recently had a painful toothache that has now gone numb, with no feeling at all, this could mean that the infection has reached your tooth root, causing it to become damaged and dysfunctional. If you suspect this has happened to your tooth, you must take this seriously and call your dentist to have the situation checked out immediately. Remember, always take toothaches seriously, as the longer you leave it, the worse the problem could become – possibly requiring emergency care.
I feel sick and tired
We can feel fatigued or run down for myriad reasons, but sometimes they can be related to dental concerns. If you feel that you may not have the best dental health – perhaps you have bleeding gums, bad breath or toothache – along with being tired, call the dentist as you could have an abscessed tooth or advance gum disease. Why fatigue? Both abscesses and gum disease have infection in common, and if your body is fighting an infection, it could make you extremely fatigued. Give your dentist a call as soon as possible and discuss your concerns with them.
I have a loose tooth
Most of us with good oral health and a healthy lifestyle haven’t experienced a loose tooth since our days with the tooth fairy. However, if you’ve noticed that one or more of your teeth are loose, you must check in with your dentist. A loose tooth could be the sign of a damaged tooth, which could be the result of trauma (such as a car accident) or a sporting injury. If so, you must see a dentist to make sure you haven’t suffered any tooth or jaw damage. Another reason for a loose tooth is infection. If you have advanced gum disease, for example, this could weaken your tooth – and left untreated, your tooth may fall out.
I have constant headaches
Headaches can be caused by any number of problems, from hormonal issues, illness, stress, poor eyesight and much more. But sometimes headaches can be caused by bruxism – a condition where you clench and grind your teeth. If this is just a mild problem, being mindful of your tooth gnashing may be enough for you to change your habits. If you feel you cannot get on top of your tooth clenching problem, though, you may need to see the dentist for two reasons. 1: Your dentist will likely check your teeth to make sure they haven’t been damaged or cracked, and 2: they may organise a mouth guard for you to wear at night to prevent further damage.
My mouth is bleeding after oral surgery
If you’ve recently had oral surgery or a tooth removed and continue to bleed from the operated area (i.e., more than two days), call us immediately. You may need to see the dentist so that he/she can carefully check the wound.