Dental Emergency: When You Need a Same Day Emergency Appointment


If you cut your finger or break your arm, you know that it’s time to go to the emergency room. But what happens if you have a dental emergency and what qualifies as one? While an emergency room trip may still be needed, it’s important to know if you should call us for a same day emergency appointment. Let’s talk about the many types of dental issues that can be solved with a quick trip to our office. 

What Does Your Dentist Thinks is a Dental Emergency?

  • Toothache: Toothaches are fairly common issues that can be caused by a multitude of issues – usually pulp infections or something stuck in-between two teeth. However, it’s important to discover the cause of the toothache early on and get it fixed before any further problems can be developed. In some instances, a toothache causing significant pain and discomfort may be a reason to request a same day emergency appointment. An infection in the tooth’s nerve can also commonly be the cause of a toothache. Should you be suffering from severe tooth pain accompanied by fever, swelling, tooth sensitivity to temperature changes, and other symptoms, it is an oral emergency. Leaving the toothache alone can result in more pain, as the infection spreads and leads to further complications such as tooth loss. 
  • Swelling & Bleeding: Swelling and persistent bleeding constitute other emergencies. These symptoms are typically indicative of gum disease. Improper hygiene and the buildup of plaque bacteria can lead to inflammation and uncontrollable bleeding. If you have been diagnosed with gum disease but have put off treatment, you will begin to notice the deterioration of the gums and bones that hold your teeth. Eventually, tooth loss is the result. 
  • Gum Abscesses: A gum abscess is a very uncomfortable oral condition that arises from an infection. This disease occurs when food becomes lodged between the tooth and gum. If a gum abscess is left untreated, it can exacerbate the situation and impact other significant parts of the body such as the brain, connective tissues, muscles, and nerves. Learn more about Tooth Infections and Tooth and Gum Abscesses.
  • Chips/Cracks: Sometimes we bite down on something hard and chip our tooth, or we crack it when we clench our jaw. Whatever the reason, it’s important to see your emergency dentist ASAP. If you can, preserve the chips in milk or water and bring with you to your same day emergency appointment. 
  • Broken Teeth: A broken tooth can occur for a number of reasons. Clenching and grinding teeth can be a leading factor. However, generally, it is trauma to the mouth that causes most instances of damage. Immediate attention should be sought in order to treat any injuries. If pain and continuous bleeding result from fractured teeth, go to your emergency dentist so that they can repair the affected teeth. If broken teeth are not fixed, they can become infected, and disease may spread to the head, neck, and other parts of the body.  
  • Lost Crowns: If your crown has dropped out of your mouth, call your dentist for an appointment as soon as possible. If you still have the crown, keep it in a cool, safe place as there is a possibility your dentist can reinsert it. You can apply clove oil to the missing tooth area to help alleviate pain. 
  • Loosened Teeth/Tooth Knocked Out: If you’ve experienced any trauma or decay to the mouth and have a loose tooth because of it, you might be able to save the tooth. If the tooth is loose, but still attached in the mouth to blood vessels and nerves, chances are high that root canal therapy won’t be needed. If your tooth has completely come out of the mouth, there is a possibility of reattachment within the hour. Call your dentist immediately for a same day emergency appointment. You can use a cold compress and over-the-counter pain medication to help relieve any pain before your appointment.  


“We take toothaches very seriously, because we know tooth pain can cripple your life in unimaginable ways. Sometimes it’s the all night toothache, a broken tooth on a piece of candy, or food that has packed between your gums. Often times that pain level gets to a 10 out of 10 and you don’t know what to do.”        – Dr. Tom Anderson

Let’s Talk Toothaches

Toothaches are tricky — they can feel like a minor tinge or they can cause crippling pain. That’s why we want to share some common toothache causes, their symptoms and when you should seek help from your dentist.

What is the definition of a toothache?

Pain or inflammation in or around the tooth, often caused by tooth infection or decay.

What are common toothache causes?

A toothache can have causes that are not due to underlying disease. Toothache causes may include getting something stuck in between the teeth, flossing, biting into something hard, or braces. Remember, in children, tooth pain is a regular part of the developmental process.

Common Toothache Causes:

  • Tooth decay
  • Abscessed tooth
  • Tooth fracture or broken tooth
  • Sensitive Teeth
  • Damaged filling
  • Infected gums or gum disease
  • Inflammation of tooth pulp
  • Impacted tooth
  • Repetitive motions, such as grinding teeth or chewing gum
  • Sinus congestion or infection (non-dental related issues)

Common Symptoms of a Toothache:

  • Tooth pain that may be constant, throbbing, or sharp
  • Bleeding or discharge from around a tooth or gums
  • Headache or fever
  • Trauma or injury to the area
  • Cold or hot sensitivity when eating or drinking
  • Swelling in your jaw or around the tooth
  • Tooth pain while chewing
  • Pain results only when pressure is applied to the tooth, for some people
  • Foul-tasting drainage from the tooth infection

When do I need to see a Dentist About my Toothache?

We recommend seeing your dentist as soon as possible about your toothache if:

  • Your toothache is severe
  • Redness occurs around the gums or your gums are bleeding
  • Inflammation increases
  • Swelling occurs around your jaw or face
  • You experience pain upon opening your mouth wide
  • You have an earache or fever
  • If you notice that a tooth is cracked, broken, or chipped
  • You have consistent tooth pain that lasts longer than 1 or 2 days
  • Dull, persistent pain can be a sign of something that will get worse if not treated
  • You’ve suffered a recent trauma to your face or mouth

Related Article: Emergency Appointment: Do You Have a Toothache?

How do I stop my tooth from throbbing?

Try these self-care tips for some temporary relief, while you’re waiting to see your dentist:

  • Rinse your mouth with warm salt water
  • Floss gently to remove built up plaque or food in between teeth
  • Apply a cold compress to your cheek or jaw
  • Take an over-the-counter pain medication, like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), acetaminophen (Tylenol), and aspirin can relieve minor pain
  • Numbing gels or pastes, such as benzocaine, can help to dull the pain

When I Go to the Dentist for a Toothache, what happens?

Your dentist will conduct a dental exam first. He or she will ask you questions about the pain, such as:

  • when the pain started
  • how severe it is
  • where the pain is located
  • what makes the pain worse and what makes it better
  • does the pain wake you up in the middle of the night

Your dentist will examine:

  • your mouth, teeth and gums
  • tongue, jaws and throat
  • sinuses, nose, ears and neck

X-rays may be taken as well as other tests, depending on what your dentist suspects is causing your toothache.

What Treatments Are Available for a Toothache?

Treatment for a toothache depends on the cause or source of pain. If a cavity is causing the toothache, your dentist will remove the decay or infection, fill the cavity or possibly extract the tooth (only if there is no way to save the tooth).

A root canal may be necessary if the cause of the toothache is from an infection of the tooth’s nerve. Bacteria that have worked their way into the inner areas of the tooth cause that type of infection. Your dentist may prescribe an antibiotic, if there is swelling or fever in the jaw to get rid of the infection.

Related Articles:

How Can Toothaches Be Prevented?

Tooth decay causes most toothaches, so following a good oral hygiene routine can prevent most toothaches.

Practices of good oral hygiene consist of:

  • brush teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste
  • floss daily
  • rinse once or twice each day with an antiseptic mouthwash
  • see your dentist twice a year for professional exam and cleaning

Gently brushing your teeth with a soft-bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste will remove the bacteria and plaque that are toothache causes to begin with. In addition to these practices, ask your dentist about fluoride treatments and sealant applications and make healthy snack, food, and beverage choices that are low in sugar.

Is Emergency Dental Care Available in the KC area?

A dental emergency is identified as anything that requires immediate dental care. Whether it is to stop incessant bleeding, save a tooth, treat a dire infection, or decrease severe discomfort, urgent care is needed. Some of the most common dental emergencies are pain resulting from inflammation and broken teeth. 

Although oral pain and trauma may not seem like a huge deal, it cannot be ignored. Small problems can escalate and cause more pain in the future, so seeing your dentist for any emergency treatment is imperative. If you’re unsure if you’re dealing with a dental emergency, please give us a call. However, a good rule of thumb is – if it hurts, it’s an emergency. 

Whatever the cause of acute oral discomfort in Kansas City, same day emergency appointment and dental care is available at our three convenient office locations that include The Country Club Plaza, Downtown Kansas City, and Independence, Mo. If you are experiencing pain or you are uncertain whether your situation requires immediate attention or not, consider the information below to help you choose to correct course of action. As you know, emergencies stem from a variety of causes, and dental professionals can provide the necessary care. Receiving an assessment and subsequent treatment for the diagnosis is crucial to your recovery.

We Provide Same Day Emergency Appointment 

At the offices of Thomas L. Anderson, DDS and Associates we are prepared to assist our patients when a dental emergency occurs. Should you be experiencing severe pain, swelling, tooth loss, mouth trauma or any other conditions that require urgent care, contact us at 816-373-4440 immediately. Our team of experts will work swiftly and meticulously to alleviate pain and solve the issue. When patients call in this type of scenario, we always do our best to accommodate a same day emergency appointment. You may not be able to anticipate when a dental emergency will happen; however, you can rest assured that you will receive swift expert emergency care when you call our office. Contact Us to receive a reliable same day emergency appointment.

Contact us today to schedule your dental appointment and meet with our skilled dentists at one of our three conveniently located dental office locations within the Kansas City area, including Lee’s Summit / Independence, the Country Club Plaza and Downtown Kansas City. The gentle dentists and expert team at Thomas L. Anderson and Associates look forward to working with you to treat your dental emergency, achieve proper oral health and a beautiful smile that will last a lifetime. If you have any questions about your dental insurance benefits, please do not hesitate to contact us.  We are happy to review your policy! Please give us a call today to schedule an appointment and become part of our dental family.