Dental emergencies are no fun at all. They hurt, they can affect your quality of life, and they can pose serious risks to your health. It’s important to not dismiss these emergencies and to seek immediate treatment. But do you know what constitutes a dental emergency?

Most often, your body will let you know when a dental problem is serious. However, if you experience any of the following symptoms, you should seek emergency dental care service:

Pain upon chewing or when eating very hot or cold foods

Facial swelling

Jaw pain or toothache

Mouth bleeding

Signs of infection such as purulent discharge (pus)

Trouble breathing

Broken or knocked-out tooth

If you do notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek emergency dental care. Many times, such as in the case of a tooth that is knocked out or knocked loose as a result of a trauma, the tooth can be successful re-attached or re-implanted if intervention is quick enough. In the case of an infection, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as you notice troublesome symptoms. Infection can spread very quickly, and once it gets into the blood stream (which doesn’t take much time in some cases) the situation can become life threatening very quickly. If caught in the early stages, most oral infections can be very effectively treated with a simple course of antibiotics.

If you have a dental emergency, don’t wait until you can get an appointment with your dentist. You wouldn’t wait to see your general practitioner if you had a broken arm, right? The same mentality should be applied to your family’s dental health. Although some things can wait until a regular appointment can be made (just like in the case of other medical conditions. Some times you can wait, other times you need to be seen right away.)

If your dentist doesn’t offer emergency dental services (some don’t) it’s a good idea to know this ahead of time. When you choose a new dentist, you should aim to find one that does offer emergency services, but if you already have a dentist you like or can’t find one in your area that is accepting new patients and offers emergency services, you should familiarize yourself with a clinic or office in your area that does offer emergency dental services such as prescriptions, emergency dental surgery, infection control, x-rays and more things that you or someone in your family might need on an emergent basis. Don’t wait until you have an actual emergency on your hands to start trolling Google for an after-hours dental clinic in your area so that should, heaven forbid, a dental emergency should arise, you will know exactly where to go and can spring into action quickly when times I of the essence.