The problem with toothaches, like plumbing issues, is that they follow Murphy’s Law. They never seem to get really bad until regular business hours are over.

In reality, though, minor dental problems could be fixed before they become emergencies. But most of the time, they’re such small inconveniences that we ignore them. When we least expect it, they supersize into extremely painful situations that need to be fixed, STAT.

There aren’t a lot of ways to handle a dental emergency, unless your dentist has after-hour care available. Luckily for you, Dr. Lam and the team at Lam & Welkie Dental understands the pain that comes with severe tooth problems. We’re here for you when you need us, during regular business hours and beyond!

Is It Really an Emergency?

A dental emergency can be costly, so it’s important for you to understand the difference between severe pain and a true emergency. In a nutshell, an emergency is anything that happens as a result of your dental health that causes you to feel like you are in immediate and life-threatening danger.

You might have excessive unexplained bleeding in your gums or had a head trauma that left your jaw broken. These are perfectly acceptable instances that are considered emergencies.

Most of the time, an accident is going to result in a trip to the emergency room, not the dentist. But direct trauma to the jaw may require dental care as soon as possible.

Dental Office Versus Emergency Room

When you have an emergency, it’s scary. Most people don’t think clearly, and they end up wasting precious time trying to figure out what to do next.

While we want to help treat your urgent problems, we also want you to get where you’re supposed to be going the first time. For that reason, we’re breaking down what a dental emergency is and what’s best treated first at an emergency room.


Excessive and uncontrollable bleeding from your gums or teeth is definitely something you can call us for. However, if you can’t pinpoint where the bleeding is coming from, but it’s definitely not those two places, you should visit the emergency room

Head trauma

A direct hit to the jaw can break the bone there. If it’s the result of a fall or simple accident, we can help. But if it’s from a car accident, altercation, or other situation where liability is going to be an issue, your insurance might recommend you go straight to the emergency room. Specifically, if the trauma resulted in any blow to the back or front of the head besides the jaw, you need to be checked for a concussion.

Clear dental issues

Any injury that affects your gum, such as a cut to the area, can be treated as a dental emergency. Lost fillings need to be taken care of quickly before they develop into big problems, so even though they may not be life-threatening, they can be an emergency.

An abscess is another clear dental issue that needs to be treated quickly. These are infections that can seep into the bloodstream and become dangerous, if not fatal.

If your tooth becomes dislodged in any way and it appears to be barely hanging on, call us for an emergency visit so we can repair it before it falls out completely.

When in Doubt, Call Us

We know that dental problems can cause excruciating pain and fear. If you’re not sure if you have a dental emergency or not, don’t hesitate to call our office. Our on-call staff will be able to guide you as to what to do next or get you in touch with someone who can.

When you’re a patient at Lam & Welkie Dental, you can turn to us to take care of your dental needs, whether it’s an emergency or not. Call today to schedule your appointment or get your urgent questions answered.


We are a friendly team of dentists, hygienists and receptionists who work together to ensure that you receive the best treatment you require.

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