Dental Emergencies

When a patient experiences a dental emergency, adherence to several steps should result in quicker care and relief.

  • Call your own personal dentist. The ADA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct requires dentists to provide for patients of record in a dental emergency. Therefore, dentists have made prior arrangements to care for patients in an emergency. Most dentists belong to a call group, meaning that they take turns talking to and/or seeing patients after normal business hours. Therefore, you may be directed to contact the dentist who is on call.
  • Call the CSDS (719-598-5161) If you do not currently have a dentist of record.
  • Google “dentists who accept dental emergencies” for a list of dentists in your area who treat patients in immediate need of care. 

Know when to call for treatment.

These problems require an immediate Emergency Room visit:

Breathing difficulties
Fractured jaws
Loss of consciousness

These problems require a dentist’s attention: Broke a tooth
Badly chipped tooth/tooth is bleeding (not the gums)
Bumped a tooth hard; it used to hurt; it got better, but now it hurts again 
Chipped a tooth
Knocked out a tooth
Loosened a tooth, pushed in or hanging out of position
Have pain with swelling
Swelling of gums around teeth
Swelling around the wisdom teeth
Swelling around the eye
Swelling in the roof of the mouth
Swelling in the jaw
Experiencing toothache
These problems require a dentist’s attention but not immediate unless accompanied by pain:
Treat before pain develops or your bite changes.
Broken or lost crown or cap
Broken or lost filling
Broken denture or appliance
What should I do for a toothache? This pain can be relatively simple or quite complicated. It can be simple because sometimes by biting or chewing, a person can tell which tooth is causing pain. More often than not, biting does not identify the offending tooth; and the pain can be referred to a distant location like the ear, the chin, the corner of the jaw, or even one side of the throat (the same side the pain is on). If a tooth is hypersensitive to thermal stimulation like hot or cold food or drinks or if spontaneous pain from the mouth occurs “out of the blue” or if tooth pain awakens you from sleep, then you most likely have a toothache and should see a dentist as soon as possible.