Does my dental emergency constitute a visit to the dentist?

Charmaine Johnson-Leong Dentist Fort Lauderdale, FL

Dr. Charmaine Johnson-Leong is a Dentist practicing in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Dr. Johnson-Leong specializes in preventing, diagnosing, and treating diseases and conditions associated with the mouth and overall dental health. Dentists are trained to carry out such treatment as professional cleaning, restorative, prosthodontic,... more


Now that dental offices are only seeing emergency patients and not doing any elective procedures, I want to shed some light on what is considered an emergency procedure.

According to The American Dental Association, emergency procedures are: “potentially life-threatening and require immediate treatment to stop ongoing tissue bleeding [or to] alleviate severe pain or infection.” Conditions include uncontrolled bleeding; soft tissue bacterial infections with swelling that potentially compromises the patient’s airway; or trauma involving facial bones that potentially compromises the patient’s airway.”

Examples of urgent dental care treatments include:

•    Severe dental pain from a root canal infection.

•    Wisdom teeth pain.

•    Pain after an extraction - possibly from a dry socket.

•    Abscess or localized bacterial infection resulting in localized pain and swelling.

•    Tooth fracture resulting in pain or causing soft tissue trauma.

•    Dental trauma when a tooth gets knocked out.

•    Dental treatment cementation if the temporary restoration is lost, broken or causing gum irritation.

Other emergency dental care includes

  • extensive decay or defective restorations causing pain; 
  • suture removal; 
  • denture adjustments on radiation/oncology patients; 
  • denture adjustments or repairs when it affects the function; 
  • replacing temporary filling on a root canal treatment in patients experiencing pain; 
  • snipping or adjustments of an orthodontic wire or appliances piercing or ulcerating the oral mucosa.


Non-dental emergencies include:

  • Routine checkups and cleanings.
  • Orthodontic procedures.
  • Extraction of teeth that have no symptoms.
  • Routine fillings and crowns.
  • Cosmetic procedures.