How Can I Tell What is Considered a Dental Emergency?


While communities across America are in temporary lockdown due to COVID-19, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that dental practices like ours limit their services to emergency care. Like everyone, we want to prevent transmission, and so are seeing some patients only on an emergency schedule.

You may have questions about what constitutes an emergency. Thanks to the ADA, we can share some guidelines to help you determine what you should consider an emergency and what you can reschedule for a time when your dentist has resumed normal operations.

Dental Emergencies

Here are some of the conditions that might require immediate care. If you’re not sure whether it counts as an emergency, call your dentist’s office. We can help you decide if you need to be seen immediately and will advise you on scheduling your appointment.

  • Bleeding that doesn’t stop
  • Painful swelling in or around your mouth
  • Pain in a tooth, teeth or jaw bone
  • Gum infection with pain or swelling
  • After surgery treatment (dressing change, stitch removal)
  • Broken or knocked-out tooth
  • Denture adjustment for people receiving radiation or other treatment for cancer
  • Snipping or adjusting wire of braces that hurts your cheek or gums
  • Biopsy of abnormal tissue

Dental Care You Can Reschedule

Unlike dental emergencies, routine dental care such as the following procedures should be rescheduled for another time.

Note: When Washington, DC went into “lockdown,” we closed our offices for regular dental care. As a health care provider, however, we are able to provide emergency dental care to some patients. We will continue to monitor the latest advisories on the virus and take additional measures, as needed. 

Remember, everyone’s health and safety come first.
Dr. Nishan Halim

Nishan Halim, DMD specializes in a comprehensive approach to dental care in his Capitol Hill, Washington DC neighborhood dental center. When treatment plans include specialty work, he coordinates every step with the practitioners you choose from his referral network. Contact Dr. Halim to schedule an appointment.


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