Should I Go to the Hospital or Dentist for a Dental Emergency?

One of the first questions you might have about your dental emergency is whether you need to visit the emergency room or the dentist? There are only a few reasons you should visit the hospital instead of the dentist including:

Jaw fractures or dislocations

Serious cuts or lacerations in the mouth or face

An infection or abscess that is swollen or affecting swallowing or breathing

If you’re not experiencing any of these problems, please contact us for assistance.

Knocked-Out/Dislodged Tooth

A serious type of dental emergency that requires immediate attention is a knocked-out or dislodged tooth. A dislodged tooth is a partially knocked-out tooth. If your tooth becomes knocked-out, you must apply gauze or a towel and pressure to the socket first. Then, you need to look for the knocked-out tooth. Once you find it, pick it up by the crown, rinse it off and then place it in a cup of milk, saltwater or saliva to prevent the tooth from drying out. Then call us so we can try to place the tooth back in your mouth. For a dislodged tooth, just contact us as soon as possible so we can see you. The longer you wait to have your knocked-out tooth placed in your mouth, the less likely we will have success. Your chances decrease significantly after 30 minutes.

Cracked, Chipped, Broken or Damaged Tooth

Teeth that become damaged in any way are also considered dental emergencies. However, minor chips and cracks don’t require immediate attention. If your tooth breaks off a significant portion, a crack extends through the whole tooth, or you’re also experiencing severe pain, you should try to see us at your earliest convenience. At the very least, we will want to evaluate your damaged tooth to make sure there isn’t a larger problem at bay.

Tooth Abscess

A tooth abscess usually appears near the tooth root or alongside the gumline and occurs from poor oral hygiene, an untreated cavity, dry mouth, dental injury or consuming a high sugar diet. The area may become swollen, tender and painful. Patients may also experience fever, tooth sensitivity, throbbing pain, or facial swelling. On some occasions, the abscess will rupture on its own. You will notice a sudden sensation of pain relief and taste a salty and foul-tasting liquid in your mouth. Don’t let a tooth abscess go untreated. Contact our dental office for immediate care.


A toothache can occur from an infected tooth or simply from food or debris lodged between your teeth. To determine whether this is a serious toothache or not, you should first try brushing, flossing and rinsing your mouth out. This will help remove anything that is stuck between your teeth. If the toothache persists and the pain becomes unbearable or you get a fever, please contact our dental office for help. It’s very likely the tooth has an infection or there is a bigger problem.

Damaged or Missing Restoration

Your restorations are just as important as your natural teeth. If a filling, dental bridge, dental crown or another type of restoration becomes damaged, loose, or falls out, you should address this sooner than later. The longer you let the problem persist, the more likely you will experience other problems. Schedule an appointment to address your damaged, loose or missing restoration as soon as possible.

Not that you know what’s considered a dental emergency, you can feel confident contacting us for any emergencies you experience down the line. If you’re not sure if it requires immediate care or not, it’s better to be safe than sorry – contact us anyway. Please call (910) 692-4450 for dental emergency assistance from our Aberdeen emergency dentists.