A dental emergency is a type of medical emergency involving the teeth or gingiva. Pain involving these parts of the mouth, even when minor, can indicate a severe underlying problem that could worsen with time. It is important to contact a dentist as soon as possible for a professional evaluation to minimize damage to the teeth, gums, and the supporting bone. Short-term action can be taken to relieve oral pain, which can be very severe.
A dental emergency is an issue involving the teeth and supporting tissues that is of high importance to be treated by the relevant professional. Dental emergencies do not always involve pain, although this is a common signal that something needs to be looked at. Pain can originate from the tooth, surrounding tissues or can have the sensation of originating in the teeth but be caused by an independent source (orofacial pain and toothache). Depending on the type of pain experienced an experienced clinician can determine the likely cause and can treat the issue as each tissue type gives different messages in a dental emergency.
Many emergencies exist and can range from bacterial, fungal or viral infections to a fractured tooth or dental restoration, each requiring an individual response and treatment that is unique to the situation. Fractures (dental trauma) can occur anywhere on the tooth or to the surrounding bone, depending on the site and extent of fracture the treatment options will vary. Dental restoration falling out or fracturing can also be considered a dental emergency as these can impact on function in regards to aesthetics, eating and pronunciation and as such should be tended to with the same haste as loss of tooth tissue. All dental emergencies should be treated under the supervision or guidance of a dental health professional in order to preserve the teeth for as long as possible.