Can Seeing an Emergency Dentist Save Your Life?

emergency dentist Chicago, IL

In some situations, seeing an emergency dentist can do more than offer relief from painful injuries or conditions. A visit to this dental professional's office can also lead to life-saving treatment for many patients. It is important to understand what constitutes a dental emergency so that an informed decision can be made during a critical situation. 

Life-threatening dental emergencies

All dental injuries, conditions, and symptoms should be taken seriously. Any unexplained changes, severe or persistent pain, or traumatic injury should be evaluated by a dental professional. However, some situations can become dangerous quickly and warrant a visit to an emergency dentist. Neglecting to do so could lead to severe complications and even death.

Persistent bleeding or hemorrhaging

Oral bleeding is common from time to time, especially due to minor injuries or while brushing and flossing. However, if the bleeding is sudden, unexplained, or persistent, it is necessary to see a dentist right away. When clots fail to form, the hemorrhage could lead to excessive blood loss, which can be fatal in those with preexisting bleeding conditions. In addition, open wounds can make a patient highly susceptible to serious infection.

Signs of infection

Even though some are minor and relatively common, all infections should be taken seriously. When left untreated, an infection can get out of control in a short amount of time. This may cause a person to become septic, spreading the disease throughout the body via the bloodstream, which is often life-threatening. Patients should be wary of the potential signs:

  • Fever
  • Pain that does not improve with at-home treatment
  • Redness, swelling, or heat at the affected area
  • Oozing or drainage

If these symptoms develop, it is imperative to see an emergency dentist right away.

Facial fractures

Neglecting to address a broken tooth promptly could end in permanent tooth loss. However, failure to treat fractured oral bones could be life-threatening. Not only can a delay lead to deformities and severe pain but it can also impair proper blood flow to the area, leading to tissue damage and infection. In the event of an open or compound fracture, the risks are even greater.

Other reasons to visit an emergency dentist

While life-threatening situations certainly warrant an emergency dental visit, other issues may still be urgent and require immediate care. Taking swift action can help prevent unnecessary oral pain and complications down the road.

A loose, chipped, or cracked tooth should be repaired right away. The loss of both permanent and baby teeth due to trauma should also be evaluated by a dentist as soon as possible, preferably within an hour or two of the injury. Patients should also seek care if they experience severe tooth or gum pain, swelling of the jaw, abscesses, or sudden numbness. 


A visit to an emergency dentist can save a patient's life. However, a condition does not need to be life-threatening to warrant a visit to this type of dental professional. It is important to be mindful of all serious symptoms that require immediate dental care.

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