How to Recognize an Urgent Dental Issue (and Help Prevent Them)

| 7 min read

Maybe you’re a person who’s hyper-aware of your health and wellness. Or you could be one who waits-it-out hoping the issue won’t get worse.

For example, wondering if your dental issue is urgent or not could force either of those responses. But what if you could recognize the signs that can help you make an informed decision about seeking dental treatment?

  • Urgency would demand that you take action.

And on the other hand…

  • Awareness can help prevent major or minor concerns from escalating.

What is an urgent dental issue?

Let’s answer that question with a series of related questions about your what you’re experiencing.

1-Are you feeling severe pain?

Persistent, chronic, or intense pain is likely an indication that your dental issue should be evaluated. As you take action, assess the source of your pain so you can clearly describe it to your dentist.

  • A toothache?
  • Jaw pain?
  • Uncomfortable and/or radiating pain within your mouth?

Again, consistent pain within specific areas of your mouth signals urgency on your part. Your pain could be caused a tooth abscess, an infection, or a deeper dental problem that needs treatment.

2-Do you have swelling or inflammation?

An oral infection will often reveal itself through swelling in your gums, your face, or your jaw. As with severe pain, your condition can worsen if you ignore or delay treatment.

3-Are your gums bleeding?

Some occasional bleeding is common. You might notice it when brushing or flossing - especially if your dental care routine is hit-or-miss.

The bigger issue is excessive bleeding. This could be an indication of gum disease or another oral health issue.

Either way, it’s essential to schedule a dental examination and consultation to determine the source of your bleeding. If it is gum disease - a dental visit and following through on treatment recommendations can help prevent its progression.

4-Are your teeth loose or have you lost a tooth?

Dental trauma that results from having a tooth knocked-out requires immediate attention. Seeking dental care and protecting the sensitive tissue on the tooth in question is essential.

  • Protect your tooth by handling it by the crown (the chewing surface) not the root (the bottom portion that fits in your gums).
  • Gently rinse your tooth with water if necessary.
  • Contact your dentist to discuss the solutions for saving your tooth and reducing further complications.

5-Do you experience ongoing teeth sensitivity?

It’s normal to experience some occasional sensitivity to hot or cold. But consistently feeling that “zing” when eating or drinking could be an indication of something else.

  • Tooth decay
  • A cavity
  • Etc

Seek dental care if you experience ongoing discomfort or if you start avoiding certain foods or beverages.

How to help prevent urgent dental issues

Dental emergencies or urgent conditions do happen. But along with awareness, prioritizing preventive dental care and overall wellness are keys to lower your risk.

Prioritize consistent oral hygiene

Of course, brushing and flossing top the list. Add frequency to the process such as a minimum of two times per day.

These oral health fundamentals help remove plaque and tartar build-up, prevent cavities, and keep your gums healthy.

Prioritize a healthy diet and lifestyle

  • Limit your intake of foods and beverages that are high in sugar or acidity.
  • Keep your diet in balance with fruits, vegetables, protein, and dairy.
  • Monitor you alcohol consumption and avoid tobacco.

Prioritize regular dental check-ups and examinations

Every six months is the sweet-spot for dental visits. Doing so provides an opportunity for your dentist to detect any oral health issues…before they become “urgent!”

The good news is that you have options for accessing a licensed dentist.

Virtual dental technology is available to connect you with a licensed, online dentist.

  • Ask questions about your dental issue on a secure, easy-to-use online platform.
  • Support your questions with available health records, images, and the information from an initial or previous diagnosis.
  • Get a second opinion based on the information you provide and their secondary diagnosis.
  • Compare the diagnoses and make a decision about your treatment option(s).
  • Schedule an in-office appointment for treatment from a recommended, licensed dentist in your zip code. provides a trusted solution for urgent or routine dental care

Discover more about virtual dental care in the following resources:

So, What Happens During a Virtual Dental Visit (and What are the Benefits)?

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