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Emergency Dentist vs. Oral Surgeon

If you’ve got a dental emergency—do you go to your dentist or your oral surgeon? Well, that depends. Many people don’t realize that there is even a difference between the two. An emergency trip to the dentist will solve many problems, but in some cases, you’ll need to see an oral surgeon to solve the problem. Some dental offices will have both a general dentist as well as an oral surgeon. But it many cases, dental offices will only have dentists.


A general dentist goes to dental school, studies general dentistry, and can perform minor oral surgeries. But for the most part, their jurisdiction mainly dental care, oral exams, teeth cleanings, fillings, sealants, root canals, and crowns. They can perform minor surgery such as surgical tooth extraction or gum surgery. If you go to your general dentist in an emergency and they cannot complete the needed procedure, they will likely send you to an oral surgeon. 

An emergency dental appointment will focus on the infected area. In most cases, dental x-ray will be taken to pinpoint the problem and determine the extent of the damage. Your dentist will work to alleviate your pain in any way possible. Generally, they won’t perform a full dental exam. 

Oral Surgeon

An oral surgeon has extensive training in oral surgery. If a dental emergency requires tooth extraction, restructuring bone or gum tissue, or other surgery—an oral surgeon can help. Oral surgeons can remove wisdom teeth and impacted teeth, as well as perform surgeries to help adjust jaw misalignment and bone loss. An oral surgeon can address other issues such as chronic disease and conditions. 

Dental Emergency

What is a dental emergency? If you are feeling severe aches and pains that are not subsiding, have recently experienced trauma around the mouth, swelling in your jaw, or other signs of infection or injury call your dentist to schedule an emergency dental appointment. Other symptoms and sensitivities may be addressed during your regular dental checkups. 

Oral pain can be excruciating. In many instances, it will not get better but only worsen. If the pain is due to an infection, it can spread to other parts of the mouth and even the jaw. Also, if the pain is not due to infection, it can easily lead to an infection if not treated. 

If you’re not sure what has caused your dental emergency, a dentist can provide an oral exam to determine the source of the problem. They may or may not be able to treat the problem. If the issue requires surgery, they will likely refer you to an oral surgeon. 

If you have in need of an oral surgeon, there is no better place to go than Oral and Facial Surgery of Utah. Our experienced surgeons will ensure your comfort and recovery no matter your dental emergency!


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