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Signs and Symptoms of a Dental Emergency

Thankfully, the most common signs and symptoms of dental emergencies can generally be resolved by your dentist and do not progress to becoming medical emergencies.

Signs and symptoms of a dental emergency usually follow a recognisable pattern. This will help your practitioner, in discussion with you, to establish a diagnosis as set out in the following table.

Signs and symptoms of common dental emergencies

Typical signs and symptoms

Diagnosis

Treatment examples

  • A constant, throbbing pain, slowly worsening for up to a week
  • Difficulty sleeping at night
  • Sensitivity to heat
  • Infection of the pulp
  • Medication for any infection and pain
  • Root canal therapy
  • Tooth extraction
  • Severe pain on one side, at the back, possibly with ear pain and headache
  • Severe pain when trying to open your mouth, or can’t open your mouth.
  • An impacted or infected wisdom tooth
  • Medication for any infection and pain
  • Tooth extraction
  • Part or all of tooth is lost
  • Tooth is bleeding
  • Tooth has moved from its normal position
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • A broken or displaced tooth
  • Rebuild or restoration (filling)
  • Crown or cap
  • Pulpotomy / root canal therapy
  • Pain, bleeding, redness or even receding of the gums.
  • Soft tissue abscess
  • Gum disease
  • Periodontal cleaning
  • Oral hygiene instruction
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