Unsure if you have a dental emergency? A guide to 5 of the most common dental emergencies

It is rarely a good sign when you are awoken in the night by a dull ache under one of your teeth, or find yourself distracted at work or at home by a stabbing sensation in your mouth.

While you may feel compelled to take some over the counter pain relief and get on with your day, sudden dental pain can be indicative of a myriad of issues, all of which require urgent attention from a dental practitioner.

Of course, on paper, this may be easier said than done! Many dental patients are fearful of attending dental surgeries at the best of times, let alone during an emergency. While associated discomfort is a motivator to seek help, many dental emergencies cause minimal to no discomfort, but still require urgent medical attention to resolve.

But, if there is no discomfort, how can you identify which dental conditions require urgent treatment and which can be managed at home? Here is a brief guide to the most common dental emergencies.


Any degree of sudden swelling in your mouth requires an urgent trip to your dentist in Sydney.

Indicative of numerous conditions, your oral swelling may feel bruised, sore or may have no sensation at all.

If it hurts to touch the swelling, it is likely you have an infection in your mouth. If it doesn’t hurt to apply pressure to the swelling, it may be indicative of a different dental issue or an allergic reaction.

Lost crown

Nobody likes it when restorative dental fixtures come loose and, as your dentist will quite possibly have spent a great deal of time preparing your tooth for the crown, it is likely to be sensitive when it has come loose.

The moment you notice your crown is loose or missing, book an appointment with your dentist, in order to prevent infection or decay from setting in.

Dentist attending to a patient

Lost filling

Like a lost crown, a lost filling may or may not be uncomfortable.

Regardless of sensitivity, you will need a same-day appointment to prevent discomfort, the start of decay and to stop bacteria gaining access to the pulp of the tooth.


OK, so many people have sensitive teeth.

Caused by microscopic holes in the enamel that allow access to the nerve, sensitivity can be resolved by having veneers fitted or by your dental practitioner applying fluoride sealants.

However, in the case of a dental emergency, sudden sensitivity can indicate a lost filling or crown, a substantial crack or chip in your tooth or even a dental abscess.

The moment you notice sudden dental sensitivity, contact your dentist for an emergency appointment.


And finally, if you have a dental abscess, you need a same-day appointment.

Characterised by swelling, discolouration of the gum, sensitivity and discomfort, it is unlikely you will miss the symptoms of this common dental emergency.

Your dental team will typically clean the area and suggest a filling, root canal or a dental extraction to remove the infection, alongside a course of oral antibiotic medication.


All dental treatments carry potential risks. Contact your local dental team for more information about the procedures mentioned in this article.

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