Two beige chairs sit adjacent to one another in a white-floored dental office

When most people think of the dentist, they think of appointments made months in advance. But what happens when you need immediate dental care?

Look to Smile Designers as your walk-in dentist. We are available to tend to urgent patient needs, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Dental emergencies don’t ever happen according to plan, but our professionals are ready to help you any time; there’s no such thing as “after hours” at Smile Designers.

No one enjoys being in pain, but it’s important to know the difference between a minor toothache and an urgent reason to visit a walk-in dentist. So, what exactly constitutes a dental emergency?

At Smile Designers, some of the most common reasons for walk-ins we see are:

  • Swollen jaws
  • Sore or achy tooth
  • Filling repair or replacement
  • Sore gums
  • Dental repair
  • Cracked tooth
  • Root canal treatment
  • Sports injuries

A walk-in dentist isn’t always the right solution. This article can help you determine whether your condition might benefit from an immediate visit.

Broken or dislodged tooth

Something as benign as a piece of hard candy can be the culprit of a broken tooth. Regardless of the causes for a chipped, shattered, or knocked out tooth, any one of these cases should be tended to immediately. Walk-in dentists are the best option for quickly correcting the structural damage and preventing any further harm to the teeth or gums.

Lost filling or crown

When you get a filling, you expect it to stay in. On occasion, however, crowns and other implants can become dislodged, causing unexpected sensitivity and pain. However, this is rarely a reason to panic. Although you might experience discomfort from the lost filling, you won’t do any permanent damage to your teeth by waiting a few days to visit the dentist. The most important thing to do is make sure you find the crown or filling and hold onto it in a safe place until your doctor can perform the replacement procedure. Try to make the appointment as soon as you can, but don’t feel obliged to call an ambulance.

Bleeding Gums

Bleeding gums are a common issue, but not usually a chronic condition that warrants a walk-in. In most cases, you might experience bleeding gums simply from brushing or flossing with too much force. In more serious — though still not emergency cases — gum-bleeding can indicate onset of Type 1 or 2 diabetes. If concurrent health issues, such as weakened immunity, indicate that diabetes may be a possibility, be sure to visit your primary care physician.

The instances in which bleeding gums can indicate a more serious dental problem are usually limited to cases of gingivitis and periodontal disease. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that results from too much plaque building up around the gumline. In addition to bleeding, gingivitis can cause redness and swelling in the gums. Periodontal disease, also called periodontitis, is the product of untreated gingivitis. The effects of this condition are more serious, potentially posing a threat to the tissues and bones supporting your teeth.

If you suspect you might be suffering from gingivitis, get in to see your dentist within a week or two. If you suspect periodontitis, get there as soon as possible.

Swollen jaw

Much like bleeding gums, a swollen jaw can indicate many problems. Some of these can be treated at home with over-the-counter medication, some necessitate a walk-in to a dentist, and the most severe cases often require an emergency room visit.

Minor injuries that produce temporary swelling are generally mild enough to be treated at home. By contrast, co-occurring symptoms of rash, fever, and difficulty breathing should be followed by a 911 call, as these signs indicate a potentially fatal allergic reaction.

So when should your swollen jaw bring you into your dentist’s office? Most commonly, patients visit the walk-in clinic to treat abscessed teeth, neglected cavities, a tooth infection, or the eruption of wisdom teeth. Depending on the level of progression of the condition and its severity, immediate surgery may or may not be necessary. If wisdom teeth eruption is primarily suspected, surgery is non-negotiable for their extraction.


As you can see, there are quite a few different reasons you might need to visit an emergency dentist. Before coming to Smile Designers for walk-in care, be sure to research your symptoms and assess your pain level. If you happen to determine that one or the other is too overwhelming to go at alone, we’ll be here at Smile Designers to get you the care you need.