What is a Dental Emergency?

Dental emergencies are acute conditions that require immediate and effective dental care.

Telltale signs indicating that you may need dental attention include inflammation of the surrounding gum area, bleeding gums, localised or general pain in the mouth, increased sensitivity, and pain in the jaw when opening and closing one’s mouth.

These dental problems can cause significant oral health issues if not appropriately and timeously addressed.

Common Dental Emergencies

Abscess A dental abscess is best described as a buildup of pus within the tooth’s soft pulp. The buildup is caused by bacteria in the mouth, affecting the tip of your tooth’s root or gum surrounding it. A few ways this can happen are cavities and chipped or cracked teeth which are gateways for the bacteria to get to the root. In addition, a diet high in sugar, dry mouth from medication, and poor oral hygiene play a role. It is best to seek treatment immediately so that we can drain the abscess. Even if it bursts, you should not leave it or self-medicate it as it can spread to other parts of the jaw.

Chipped or fractured teeth The most common causes of tooth fractures include:

  • Trauma from incidents such as contact sports, bike riding falls, physical altercations, or car accidents.
  • Age also plays a role as the older you get; the more susceptible your teeth are to breakage.
  • Biting hard foods such as popcorn kernels, hard candies, opening bottles with your teeth, and chewing on pen lids or ends are also popular contributors.
  • Bruxism (grinding your teeth while sleeping) increasingly wears down your tooth enamel and makes it easier for your teeth to chip or crack.

Our dental practice offers a range of solutions such as bonding, crowns, veneers, root canal, and in the worst-case scenario, extraction. All efforts are made to preserve the natural tooth.

Missing teeth from injuries such as contact sports or accidents

Sports injuries can happen in a moment and have long-lasting detrimental effects. One of them being a knocked-out tooth. When this does occur, we are ready to assist and treat you as efficiently and effectively as possible. However, it would help if you got to the practice within the hour of the incident to preserve your natural tooth. To prevent this problem from happening in future, we recommend getting a custom made mouthguard. Mouthguards are convenient for playing sports and can also be a preventative measure for people who grind their teeth.

Severe and persistent toothache and tooth pain

Cavities, decay, or infection typically cause toothache and tooth pain. Pain will range from mild to severe and can be short or chronic. Symptoms include but are not limited to sensitivity to touch and hot and cold beverages, being unable to chew food, and constant throbbing. A diet low in sugar and a good oral hygiene routine consisting of brushing twice a day and flossing daily is essential in guarding against these issues. We also advise that you get a general dental check-up which allows us to foresee future dental problems.

Broken dental crowns and fillings

Over time your crowns and fillings will experience wear and tear, causing them to work loose or eventually break. When this happens, you may experience sensitivity or pain in that area as the protective covering of your tooth is no longer able to fulfil its function. A gap then opens for bacteria to gather, leading to pain and sensitivity issues. At JJS Dentistry, we offer same-day dentistry using the latest dental technology to provide you with superior results efficiently.

Dr JJ Serfontein | Dentist Cape Town

Meet Dr JJ Serfontein

I love being a dentist - this is my passion.

Over the years, I have worked on hundreds of smiles and found that when you're genuinely passionate about what you do - it shows in the finished product.

Innovation and Creativity are key principals at JJS Dentistry - dentistry is the junction where art meets science, so we incorporate modern, advanced technology and techniques with advanced technical skills and artistic flair to create a stunning smile that will last till you're 90 years old.

The smiles I create are both functional and beautiful. They are crafted using the highest quality materials available on the market today. We craft them using a unique digital workflow, which controls the process from start to finish. With this control, we can maximise the value you receive as a patient and treat you as optimally as possible.


How do I know if it’s a dental emergency or not?

The first step would be to ask yourself, “Is the pain I am experiencing impeding my daily activities?”. For example, dental problems that prevent you from going about your daily life, such as eating, drinking, sleeping, or talking, are classified as dental emergencies.

How soon do I need to visit the dentist?

It is always best to visit the dentist as soon as possible, especially when you have a lost or broken tooth. Unfortunately, many people avoid going to the dentist for fear of the pain, but at JJS Dentistry, we ensure that our patients feel at ease by walking through each step of the process with you.

What do I do if my tooth is broken or chipped?

As a temporary solution, it is advised that you rinse the broken off pieces with warm water and keep them safe. Should bleeding persist, use gauze to apply pressure with a cold compress to relieve swelling and pain around the affected area outside of your mouth.

What do I do if my tooth gets knocked out?

It is of the utmost importance that you preserve the tooth by putting it in a cup of milk or warm water until we can place your tooth back into its socket. The chances of preserving your tooth are higher if you can get to the dentist within the hour of the incident. Please do not attempt to place the tooth back in its socket by yourself or touch the exposed root as you can damage its tissue.

What happens if I lose a filling?

A lost filling means that the once protected part of your tooth is now susceptible to bacteria, infection, or decay. To rectify this issue, we suggest that you book an appointment as soon as possible, as the longer the tooth is exposed, the weaker it becomes. As a temporary solution, you can purchase an over the counter dental cement or put a piece of sugar-free gum on the tooth until you can get to us.

I have anxiety about going to the dentist. Can I have anaesthesia?

At JJS Dentistry, we understand that some patients may have had traumatic past dental experiences and that many have anxiety around visiting the dentist. However, we ensure our patients a relaxed and comfortable experience with conscious sedation. As well as being a more cost-effective option, it minimises pain and anxiety, with some patients even falling asleep during the procedure. With a short recovery period, we’ll have you back on your feet in no time!

Something is stuck between my teeth, but I can’t get it out. What should I do?

Something lodged between your teeth may not sound like a significant issue, but it can cause pain, swelling of the gums, and even infection if left for too long. If you cannot extricate the object by brushing and flossing, we recommend that you visit the practice. Do not use sharp objects to poke at the area, as you can scratch your gums and cause increased inflammation around it.

The Patient Experience

Dental Emergency Contact

If you're ready to turn your dream smile into a reality, contact JJS Dentistry. Our team of dental professionals offer a wide range of treatments to transform your smile and boost your confidence.
Phone +27 21 203 4043 · Emergency +27 82 065 9505 · E-mail: info@jjsvineyards.co.za

Contact Us!

What Patients Say

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Daniella Djan review

Daniella Djan

Facebook review

This has got to be the BEST dental surgery I have ever visited. Dr JJ and his entire team offer excellent, professional service, and they take great pride in making patients feel comfortable, informed and safe under their care. Being a patient with many past awful experiences with other dentists, I developed a major phobia and hate for dental visits. When I started visiting Dr JJ’s practice, however, I was blown away by the high quality of their service, as well as their compassion, empathy and emphasis on making the patient feel they were in good, capable, trustworthy hands.

Leanne Messiahs review

Leanne Messiahs

Facebook review

Dr JJ is the best dentist in the world! He performs magic in your mouth! Wow! I will never go to any other dentist again! Absolutely amazing!! Best decision I’ve made was to have dental work done at Dr JJ Dentistry! Will definitely be recommending you to all my friends, family, colleagues!
Thank you!!! For improving my smile:)
Dr Leanne Messiahs

Margarete Van Rooyen review

Margarete Van Rooyen

5 Stars
Google Review

JJS Dentistry, Changed my Life!!! Dr. Serfontein and Cait gave me back my confidence to Smile Again!!!! Best decision of my Life... Now I Smile All day long!!!!

Stephen Rheeder review

Stephen Rheeder

5 Stars
Google Review

The level of excellence you will experience here is unmatched - JJS goes is above and beyond to ensure you are comfortable and well-informed every step of the way.

Zukiswa Kawa Review

Zukiswa Kawa

5 Stars
Google Review

Excellent service, all staff very kind and well organized. Clinic uses latest technology and very good location.If you looking for a great cosmetic dentist that is super friendly professional ,knowledgeable and caring,I highly recommend dr JJ Serfontein

Pascal Pienaar review

Pascal Pienaar

5 Stars
Google Review

The dental practice is incredible but all the staff are wonderful and the work is faultless! Im scared of the dentist but not of Dr Serfontein. His injection techniques are so impressive! I didnt even notice!

Wouter van der Merwe review

Wouter van der Merwe

5 Stars
Google Review

World class service and exceptional knowledge - true specialists in their field of business. Driven by technological innovation, advancements, and implementation, Dr. JJ Serfontein stands out above his South African peers.

Kim Groenewald review

Kim Groenewald

Facebook review

JJS dentistry has made a permanent and lasting difference to my life by making my smile perfect for me. I received 5 star treatment all the way and would without a doubt recommend this practice to anyone who wants the best dentistry.