Will the ER pull an abscessed tooth?

Will the ER pull an abscessed tooth?


Experiencing a dental emergency can be a distressing situation, especially when you’re unsure of where to turn for help. If you find yourself with an abscessed tooth, you might be wondering if the emergency room (ER) can provide the necessary treatment. In this article, we will discuss whether the ER is equipped to pull an abscessed tooth and provide guidance on what to do in case of a dental emergency.

Table of Contents

Can the ER pull an abscessed tooth?

The emergency room is typically not equipped to handle dental procedures such as tooth extractions, including those for abscessed teeth. ERs are primarily designed to provide immediate medical care for life-threatening conditions and other urgent medical needs. Dental emergencies, while painful and distressing, are not considered life-threatening.

Emergency room doctors may provide temporary relief for dental pain by prescribing pain medications or antibiotics. However, they will likely refer you to a dentist for further treatment. It is essential to understand that the ER is not a long-term solution for dental issues and should only be utilized in cases of severe pain or significant trauma.

Why can’t the ER pull an abscessed tooth?

While it may seem logical to seek help from the ER for a severe dental problem, there are several reasons why they are not typically equipped to perform tooth extractions:

  • Lack of dental equipment: ERs do not have the specialized dental instruments necessary for tooth extractions.
  • Focus on life-threatening conditions: The primary focus of the ER is to treat life-threatening conditions and provide immediate medical care.
  • Specialized training: Dentists receive years of specialized training to perform dental procedures safely and effectively.
  • Follow-up care: ERs are not equipped to provide the necessary follow-up care and long-term treatment that a dentist can offer.

Therefore, it is crucial to seek dental care from a qualified dentist when dealing with an abscessed tooth or any other dental emergency.

What to do in case of a dental emergency

Knowing what steps to take during a dental emergency can help alleviate pain and prevent further complications. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  1. Contact a dentist: If you experience a dental emergency, reach out to a dentist as soon as possible. Many dental practices have emergency appointments available to address urgent dental issues.
  2. Rinse your mouth: If you have an abscessed tooth, rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater can help alleviate pain and reduce swelling.
  3. Avoid hot or cold foods: To minimize discomfort, avoid consuming hot or cold foods and drinks until you receive proper dental treatment.
  4. Apply a cold compress: If you have facial swelling due to a dental emergency, applying a cold compress to the affected area can help reduce inflammation.
  5. Take over-the-counter pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen can help manage dental pain until you can see a dentist.

Remember, these steps are temporary measures and should not replace professional dental care. It is essential to schedule an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible to address the underlying issue and prevent further complications.


Can an abscessed tooth cause serious health problems?

Yes, an untreated abscessed tooth can lead to serious health problems. The infection can spread to other parts of the body, including the jawbone, sinuses, and even the brain. Seeking prompt dental treatment is crucial to prevent complications.

What can happen if an abscessed tooth is left untreated?

If an abscessed tooth is left untreated, the infection can worsen and cause severe pain, swelling, and fever. The infection may also spread to other areas of the body, potentially leading to life-threatening complications.

How can I find a dentist for a dental emergency?

In case of a dental emergency, you can start by contacting your regular dentist. If they are unavailable, many dental practices have emergency contact numbers or on-call services. You can also search online for emergency dental services in your area.


While the emergency room may provide temporary relief for dental pain, they are generally not equipped to perform tooth extractions for abscessed teeth. It is crucial to seek dental care from a qualified dentist to address dental emergencies properly. Remember to follow the recommended steps for managing dental pain until you can receive professional treatment. Prompt dental care can help alleviate pain, prevent complications, and restore your oral health.

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