Woman touching right cheek due to toothache

Aches and pains in the mouth are common and can come from a variety of things that aren’t dental emergencies. That also makes it tough to know when it’s time to sprint to the dentist and take care of an issue quickly.

Regular dental checkups are a good way to prevent dental emergencies but, they do happen and it’s important to know when you’re having one. So, how do you know when it’s a dental emergency and when you just have a seed stuck somewhere? Below you’ll find 7 signs that you’re having a dental emergency and it’s time to call your dentist immediately.

1) Severe Toothache

The pain alone is enough to have you rushing to your dentist but, can also be a sign of a deeper dental emergency. Now, don’t confuse this with a minor ache as that is something you can often deal with at home and probably isn’t an emergency. If the pain is growing without any sign of relief, you should absolutely schedule a dentist appointment. It’s better to solve a problem before it becomes a full-blown dental emergency.

2) Bleeding and Achy Gums

Many people report some bleeding after flossing and while it isn’t normal for that to happen, it is a sign of a problem. Excessive and recurring bleeding after brushing or flossing is a sign of gum disease or gingivitis and can be a dental emergency depending on the severity. Another sign associated with bleeding gums is swelling and that is typically quite painful. If this is occurring and your gums are bleeding, you want to make an appointment as soon as possible. Catching gum disease and gingivitis early is key to keeping your teeth and overall oral health intact. This isn’t something you want to let progress.

3) A Loose Tooth

An adult shouldn’t have wiggly or loose teeth, that is definitely a dental emergency. At this stage in your life, your teeth are fully grown and matured into lifelong tools, anything that wiggles besides your tongue need to be checked out immediately.  A loose tooth could indicate several things, from disease to an injury, and is often painful. It isn’t a problem that hides itself well and like any pain, you’d want relief quickly. If you notice a tooth moving about in your mouth, call your dentist right away and figure out the problem.

4) A Swollen Jaw

Pain in my Jaw

Swelling is usually a sign of infection and your jaw is no different. If you notice your jaw swelling and have a bad taste in your mouth or trouble swallowing, call your dentist immediately as it could be a serious dental emergency. Any oral infection can become serious quickly, even if it didn’t begin that way, and so, this isn’t something you’d want to wait on.

5) Numb Tooth

While you may think your tooth has finally given you some relief after some severe pain, it’s a very bad sign when a toothache suddenly stops. It could mean that the initial infection has spread to the root and that can be a serious dental emergency. A numb tooth can be a sign of an abscess and a root canal could be needed; you want to keep an eye on toothaches in general as their often a sign of immediate treatment.

6) Canker Sores Aren’t Healing

Everyone gets canker sores and they usually don’t mean anything serious. Often go away on their own or a slight diet change but, if they’re not healing no matter what home treatment you’ve chosen, it could be a sign of a dental emergency brewing. A lingering open sore is prime for infection and that could be the case if the canker sores have stuck around for 2 weeks or so. If you’re noticing that they aren’t going away, give your dentist a call and see what the deeper issue is.

7) Having a Dental Abscess

Having a dental abscess is absolutely a dental emergency and means calling your dentist now. If you’re unsure what a dental abscess is, rest assured that you’ll know you have one. It’s essentially a very painful infection and often found at the root of your tooth. It is typically caused by an untreated cavity, severe gum disease, or tooth trauma. The symptoms can be flu-like as well such as fever, swollen glands, and a terrible taste in your mouth. If you notice any of these symptoms, go straight to your dentist office.

A Dental Emergency is Serious

If you have any of these 7 signs, you’re likely experiencing a dental emergency and should see your dentist immediately. Oral health is related to so much of the body and having an issue in your gums or teeth can quickly spread elsewhere. Regular checkups and good oral hygiene is the best way to prevent any serious dental issue but, if you have a dental emergency don’t be shy about it.