The Difference between Urgent vs. Non-Urgent Emergency Dental Care

Nov 23, 2023 | Oral Surgery

When it comes to dental emergencies, it’s important to understand the difference between urgent and non-urgent situations. Urgent dental emergencies require immediate attention to prevent further damage or alleviate severe pain. On the other hand, non-urgent emergencies may still require treatment, but they can typically wait a few days without causing significant harm. At Watsonville Dental Wellness Center, our experienced dentists, Dr. Eugenio Bedolla and Dr. Jason Cook are here to provide prompt care for all your dental emergencies. 

What is considered an urgent dental emergency?

  • Severe toothache: A toothache that becomes unbearable or is accompanied by swelling or fever may indicate an infection or abscess, requiring immediate attention.
  • Knocked-out tooth: If you have a tooth knocked out due to an accident or injury, time is of the essence. Rinse the tooth gently, avoiding touching the root, and try to place it back in the socket. If possible, keep it moist in milk or saliva until you can see a dentist.
  • Broken tooth: A broken tooth with sharp edges can cause pain and increase the risk of infection. Rinse your mouth with warm water and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling. Seek immediate dental care.
  • Loose tooth: A loose tooth, especially in adults, may indicate an underlying dental issue or injury. It’s crucial to seek immediate attention to prevent tooth loss and further damage.
  • Large crack or chip in a tooth: A significant crack or chip in a tooth can expose the sensitive inner layers, causing pain and increasing the risk of infection. Seek prompt dental care to prevent further complications.

What to do for a toothache

If you’re experiencing a toothache, start by rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater to alleviate any inflammation. Gently floss around the affected tooth to remove any food particles that may be causing the pain. If the pain persists, avoid placing aspirin directly on the tooth or gums, as this can cause tissue damage. Instead, contact our emergency dentists for a thorough examination and appropriate treatment. 

What to do for a knocked-out or broken tooth

If you have a knocked-out tooth, it’s important to act quickly. Rinse the tooth gently with water, careful not to touch the root. Try to place it back in the socket if possible, and bite down on a clean cloth or gauze to hold it in place. If reinsertion is not possible, keep the tooth moist by placing it in milk or saliva and seek immediate dental care.

For a broken tooth, rinse your mouth with warm water and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling. Contact our emergency dentists as soon as possible for a comprehensive evaluation and appropriate treatment.

What to do for a gum abscess

A gum abscess is a pocket of pus that forms due to bacterial infection. If you notice a painful, swollen bump on your gum, rinse your mouth with warm saltwater several times daily to help alleviate discomfort and stop the infection. However, it’s crucial to seek professional dental care to address the underlying cause of the abscess and prevent further complications.

What is considered non-urgent dental emergencies? 

  • Lost filling/crown/bridge: While losing a filling, crown, or bridge may cause discomfort or sensitivity, it is usually not considered an urgent emergency. Contact our dental office to schedule an appointment for replacement as soon as possible.
  • Food stuck between teeth: If you have food particles stuck between your teeth, try using dental floss to remove it gently. Avoid using sharp objects that can damage your gums or teeth. If the food remains lodged, contact our dental team for assistance.
  • Small toothache: A minor toothache that comes and goes or causes minimal discomfort may not require immediate attention. However, it’s important to monitor the pain and contact our dental office if it worsens or persists.
  • Small chip or crack: A small chip or crack in a tooth may not cause immediate pain or require urgent care. However, it’s still essential to have it evaluated by our dentists to prevent further damage or potential infection.

Contact Our Emergency Dentists in Watsonville For Prompt Care

If you’re experiencing a dental emergency, whether urgent or non-urgent, don’t hesitate to reach out to our experienced team at Watsonville Dental Wellness Center. Dr. Bedolla and Dr. Cook are committed to providing prompt and compassionate care to alleviate your pain and restore your oral health. Contact us at (831) 728-2266 to schedule an appointment and receive the attention you need. Your smile is our priority!