What is Considered a Dental Emergency?

Dental emergencies can be difficult to deal with. If you’re in pain, struggling with a sudden onset of alarming symptoms, or trying to navigate a dental emergency alongside a family member or child, these types of emergencies can become even more stressful to handle. In many cases, patients often aren’t sure about which symptoms or conditions are indicative of a dental emergency. This can lead to delays in dealing with urgent situations, which can ultimately cause even more damage to their dental and oral health.

Alongside this, it can be difficult to seek emergency NHS dental care. As a private dental practice, we are equipped to help with emergency situations in a more efficient way. However, financial concerns can prevent people from seeking help. If this is the case, our 0% interest dental financing plans are available to help you spread the cost.

At Ringway Dental, your oral health is our top priority. We want our patients to feel well cared for and informed when it comes to dealing with any dental situation. Read on for our guide to the most common dental emergencies, their symptoms, and the potential impact if they are left untreated. We will also explain some of the most frequently used treatment options for these dental emergencies.

Broken Tooth

Our teeth are durable by design, but broken teeth are a common dental emergency. Teeth can break for several reasons, including trauma, biting hard foods, falling, or untreated tooth decay that has weakened the structure of the tooth. Broken teeth don’t always cause significant symptoms. However, when the break is severe and the inner layers of enamel and dentin are exposed, this can cause significant nerve pain and lasting symptoms.

The symptoms associated with a broken tooth may include:

  • Toothache
  • Sharp pain when eating, drinking, and breathing in colder air
  • Problems with eating and speaking properly
  • Noticing a part of the tooth has become visibly cracked or chipped away

A broken tooth is a dental emergency as the symptoms can be quite limiting. The exposed nerves can cause severe pain, and the weakened tooth can chip even further. Having a broken tooth also leaves you susceptible to infection if bacteria enters the tooth.

To fix a broken tooth, the best route of treatment will depend on the severity of the break. Composite bonding, having a dental crown fitted, and even extraction are potential treatment options.

Abscessed Tooth

An abscessed tooth can be extremely painful. This type of dental emergency is caused by bacterial infection, where harmful bacteria that have entered the tooth or gums build up and spread.

Symptoms of an abscessed tooth include:

  • Toothache
  • Facial or jaw pain that may extend to the neck or ears
  • Tooth and gum sensitivity (especially when eating or drinking hot or cold things)
  • Swelling around the lower face, jaw or neck
  • Unpleasant odours and tastes
  • Discharge of pus or fluid
  • Swollen gums or lymph nodes

Abscessed teeth are a definite dental emergency, as the infections within can quickly spread to other areas. If the infection enters the bloodstream, this can become a life-threatening emergency. If you have a severe abscessed tooth and you become severely unwell, this may suggest the infection is spreading.

If this happens, you should call 999 and seek emergency medical care. Often, if the abscess is dealt with fast enough, your dentist will be able to drain the abscess and remove the infection before it spreads. They may also prescribe you antibiotics to fight the infection.

Heavy Bleeding

Heavy bleeding from the mouth is a cause for concern. If the bleeding does not stop and there is persistent pain, this becomes a dental emergency. Heavy bleeding can happen after certain dental procedures such as tooth extractions, as well as other accidental incidents such as trauma or injury.

Seek professional care if the bleeding will not subside, as this can become a choking hazard. It may suggest there are serious problems that need dealing with, such as a severed blood vessel. To treat heavy bleeding, your dentist can intervene by using sutures and medication to stop blood loss.

Severe Toothache

Any form of toothache is unpleasant, so severe toothache can be draining. Persistent and intense toothache suggests there is a bigger underlying issue that needs to be addressed by a dental professional, so it is considered a dental emergency. If you have severe toothache, you may have an abscess or broken tooth where the nerves have become exposed. Or, you may have underlying conditions such as tooth decay or gum disease. Whether your severe toothache is caused by an acute situation or a more long-term problem, a dentist can help find the underlying cause during an emergency appointment.


We have explained abscesses are dental emergencies, and there are also other types of infections that can originate from within the mouth and become a severe problem. Gum infections can also spread, and the symptoms are similarly unpleasant; swelling, pain and unpleasant discharge from the gums are all symptoms you should have checked out.

Emergency Dental Care with Ringway Dental

Understanding the types of concerns that are dental emergencies is important and can help ensure you seek care quickly. At Ringway Dental, we want all of our patients – regular or not – to receive the best possible dental care at all times.

If you think you have a dental emergency, get in touch with our team now. Call us on 0161 437 2029 and our receptionists will do their best to ensure you can be seen by our dental team as soon as possible.

We treat dental emergencies efficiently and without delay, so you can get back to smiling again as soon as possible. Even if the concern you are experiencing is not described above, please do not hesitate to contact us. There may be other dental emergencies that we have not covered in this guide, and it is always best to get checked out by a dental professional.

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Ringway Dental

Visit us

  • 187 Finney Lane
  • Heald Green
  • Cheadle
  • Greater
  • Manchester
  • SK8 3PX

Visit us

  • 187 Finney Lane
  • |
  • Heald Green
  • |
  • Cheadle
  • |
  • Greater Manchester
  • |
  • SK8 3PX
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