Urgent vs. Non-Urgent Dental Emergency Care

Woman clenching her mouth in pain

Dental emergencies can happen at any time and often require immediate care to prevent further damage or pain. In 2018, there were 2 million dental-related emergency visits in the United States. While some dental problems can wait for a scheduled appointment, others are classified as urgent and require treatment right away.

Understanding the difference between urgent and non-urgent dental emergencies can help you get the care you need in a timely manner. Waiting too long to seek treatment can further damage your teeth or gums and may even lead to complications such as sepsis.

What is Considered a Dental Emergency?

Several dental emergencies require first aid at home and an immediate visit to the emergency department.

Some, such as a tooth that has been knocked out, will require immediate treatment to avoid serious complications. Others, such as a cracked tooth, may not be as immediately threatening but can still lead to long-term damage if left untreated.

Here are some examples of dental emergencies that may require immediate treatment:


Severe tooth pain can indicate an infection or abscess. If left untreated, this can lead to serious health complications.

Broken Tooth

A broken tooth can lead to infection and further damage. It is important to seek treatment to avoid more extensive damage or tooth loss.

Lost Filling

A lost filling leaves the tooth susceptible to damage and decay. It is vital to have the filling replaced as soon as possible to avoid further damage to the tooth and the need for a root canal.

What is Not a Dental Emergency?

Some dental problems can wait for a few days or weeks without causing any major issues. For example, a small chip in a tooth will not lead to any major complications if it is not treated immediately. However, if the chip is large or affects the nerves in the tooth, it may be necessary to see a dentist immediately.

Other non-urgent dental problems include cracked fillings, loose crowns, and mild gum inflammation. While these problems may not be painful, they can cause discomfort and may eventually lead to more serious issues if they are not treated.

Treatments for Dental Emergencies

When a toothache or another dental emergency strikes, the team at Valley Dental Care is trained to respond quickly by connecting you with a dentist who can provide prompt relief.

We handle a wide range of emergency dental issues, including:

  • Toothaches
  • Cut tongue, lip, or cheeks
  • Broken, cracked, or chipped tooth
  • Knocked-out tooth
  • Lost filling or crown

Valley Dental Care Can Restore Your Smile

If you are experiencing severe pain, bleeding, or infection, don’t hesitate to give us a call at Valley Dental Care at (630) 892-2193 for our Aurora office or (630) 551-7000 for our Oswego office.

We understand that dental emergencies can be stressful, which is why we offer convenient appointments and easy payment options. Our experienced team will work quickly to resolve your issue to get you out of pain and on your way to enjoying life again.