Why You Need a 24 Hour Emergency Dentist (Even When You Don’t)

Real quick:

Do you need to call a 24-hour emergency dentist in Renton, WA?

If so, call us now at 253-243-2224.

Otherwise, please keep reading to see why it’s important you know who to call and what to do in a dental emergency.

A woman in pain with text, "Are You Prepared for a Dental Emergency? Know who to call? Where to go?"

Alright, imagine this:

It’s a Friday night, you’re exhausted from the workweek, and you finally go to sleep…

But that annoying toothache becomes absolutely unbearable and wakes you up.

We’re talking shooting and throbbing pain.

The kind where over-the-counter pain medication doesn’t stand a chance.

And HA, forget going to back sleep because this tooth pain is about to keep you up all night long.

What do you do?

Or more like, who do you call?

Oh, and by now:

It’s the early hours of Saturday.

Traditionally, dentists don’t work past 5 pm on weekdays and most certainly not on weekends.

Now what?

Should you go to the emergency room? Call 911?

… Stressed yet?

Well, lucky for you, this is just an imaginary scene.

However, it’s one that happens more often than you think, and sometimes with panic-inducing scenarios like a knocked-out or broken tooth.


For our patient Ryan, this was actually his reality not too long ago.

What happened to Ryan?

Back story:

Ryan suffers from dental anxiety and fear. He’s avoided going to the dentist for cleanings and treatments because of it.

What began as a minor toothache progressed over time and eventually kept him up at night.

This unbearable pain was his breaking point.

He decided he needed urgent dental care stat!

He Googled “emergency dentists near Renton, WA” and found Dr. Yuchen Hu.

He called our 24-hour emergency dentist line, and we scheduled him an appointment the same day for immediate dental care (yes, on a Saturday!).

What happened next?

How we made Ryan’s emergency dental procedure painless

At Hu Smiles, we believe emergency dentistry (and dentistry in general) should relieve your pain. Not cause more.

After assessing Ryan’s situation, we decided to remove his wisdom tooth. This would end his pain and not harm his oral health or function.

To address his dental fears, we recommended IV sedation.

We also offer N20 (laughing gas) and oral sedation, but we chose IV sedation because:

  • It’s our strongest form of dental sedation.
  • Dr. Hu is trained to safely administer the sedation himself (saving time and money).
  • Ryan would feel deeply relaxed and likely doze off during the appointment.
  • He’d have no memory of the procedure afterward.

The result?

Hear from Ryan himself:

“This place is awesome. They help you in every aspect. Had an emergency wisdom tooth extraction the same day. Don’t remember a thing. Super helpful staff. Reasonable prices.”

Moral of the story

You need an emergency dentist (even when you don’t think you do).

Because let’s be real:

Emergencies (of any kind) aren’t planned, nor do they stick to your doctor’s regular business hours.

Most dentists only keep traditional business hours. This means if you experience a dental emergency in the evening or on the weekend, you’ll either have to:

  1. Wait until you can see your dentist during regular hours, which is generally bad for dental emergencies and worsens pain.
  2. Go to urgent care or a hospital (keep reading to see why you DON’T want to do this).

In addition to finding an emergency dentist, you also need to know what to do.

Below, we’ve provided quick facts you should know, including what to do in common dental emergencies.

Need an Emergency Dentist in Renton, WA? Call Hu Smiles: 253-243-2224.

What is considered a dental emergency?

A dental emergency is when your teeth or gums require immediate medical attention and treatment.

A dental emergency is considered a:

  • Knocked-out tooth
  • Loose tooth
  • Lost or broken restoration causing pain (filling, crown, bridge)
  • Broken tooth
  • Chipped, cracked, or fractured tooth causing pain
  • Abscessed tooth
  • Severe tooth or gum pain or swelling
  • Injury or trauma to a tooth or gum tissue
  • Bleeding in the oral cavity that won’t stop

If you experience any of these, contact your nearest 24-hour emergency dentist right away.

However, call 911 if you have a broken jaw or excessive bleeding as these may be life-threatening.

Other common scenarios that aren’t considered an “emergency” but are still time-sensitive include:

  • Chipped, cracked, fractured tooth that doesn’t cause pain
  • Toothache
  • Sensitive teeth

When you encounter these, call your dentist as soon as they’re open for regular business hours.

Can you go to the ER for a dental emergency?

Technically, yes.

But should you?

No. It’s best if you go to a dentist for dental emergencies.

Here’s why:

  • Most hospitals, emergency rooms, and urgent care facilities don’t have dentists on staff.
  • In some states, it’s illegal for anyone other than a dentist to provide immediate dental care.
  • They may only be able to provide antibiotics or pain relievers (not treatment).
  • If they can provide treatment, it may be more limited than a dentist’s office, which can impact you long-term (such as extracting a tooth vs. saving it with a root canal).
  • You’ll likely still need to visit your dentist, especially if you don’t want your problem, pain, or infection to worsen or return.
  • You’ll end up with two bills (hospital and dentist) instead of one.

Dr. Hu providing emergency care to a patient with text, "Dr. Hu Offers Same-Day Emergency Dental Care, Including Saturdays!"

Dental emergency steps

What to do if you knock out a tooth:

  • Grab the tooth by the crown (not the root).
  • Rinse the tooth in water or milk (no soap).
  • Place the tooth back in the socket and hold it in place by biting down on a clean gauze.
  • If you can’t do that, place the tooth in a container of milk (or your saliva if you don’t have milk).
  • Call your dentist ASAP.

What to do if you have a toothache:

  • Gently clean the area (brush, floss, and rinse with mouthwash).
  • Use floss to remove any food or particles stuck.
  • Rinse with a warm saltwater mixture.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medication.
  • Apply a cold compress to the area (no heat).
  • If you’re in severe pain, call an emergency dentist ASAP.
  • Otherwise, if your symptoms are bearable or get better, call your dentist during regular business hours.

What to do if you chip or fracture a tooth:

  • Save the broken fragments.
  • Rinse your mouth with water.
  • If you’re in pain, call an emergency dentist ASAP.
  • Otherwise, call your dentist during regular business hours.

How to prevent a dental emergency


It’s impossible to avoid dental emergencies completely.

They happen at any time, anywhere.

Even if you take the absolute best care of your teeth, you’re still subject to an unpredictable dental emergency.

But you can significantly decrease your risk by following these steps:

  • Brush your teeth twice per day
  • Floss daily
  • Maintain your regular dental exams and cleanings
  • Don’t use your teeth to open items (packages or bottles)
  • Don’t chew on hard objects (ice, pencils, or nails)
  • Wear a nightguard if you grind your teeth
  • Wear a mouthguard when playing sports

Save our phone number just in case

If you’re located in the Pacific Northwest, save our emergency dentist’s phone number: 253-243-2224.

Our extended office hours (including Saturdays!) make it easier than ever for you to access emergency dental services.

Our dental office is located in Renton, WA… This text opens a new tab to our Google listing… and serves patients from surrounding communities, including Kent, Tukwila, Maple Valley, and Covington.

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