What to Do in a Dental Emergency

Scared man in Dental Clinic

When a dental emergency strikes, would you know what to do?

Each year, thousands of Americans show up at emergency rooms, urgent care facilities, and dentist offices with mouth and dental injuries. While many dental problems are preventable, accidents are bound to happen, and knowing exactly what to do when a dental accident occurs can save you a lot of pain and expense in the long run.

Dental emergencies are usually characterized by impending or actual tooth loss, oral pain, swelling or discomfort that the patient cannot resolve on his or her own. Below are some of the most common dental emergencies and how to manage them until professional medical attention is available.

Broken tooth

Save any pieces of the chipped or broken tooth. Rinse the mouth and any broken pieces of tooth with warm water. If there’s bleeding, apply gauze to the area for 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops. Apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth near the broken or chipped tooth to keep down swelling and relieve pain. See your dentist as soon as possible.

Knocked-out tooth

Retrieve the tooth, trying not to touch the root, and gently rinse it off with water. Do not scrub the tooth or remove any attached fragments. Try placing the tooth back in the socket, but don’t force it. If that’s not possible, keep the tooth moist at all times. Place the tooth in a small container of milk or a cup of water with a pinch of table salt. You can also use a tooth preservation product that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance. See your dentist as soon as possible. The sooner you visit the dentist, the higher your chances of being able to preserve and reattach the tooth.

Lost filling

As a temporary replacement for the lost filling, you can use dental cement – available at many pharmacies – to cover the cavity. If dental cement is not available, place a piece of sugar-free gum into the cavity, and see your dentist as soon as possible.


For a serious toothache, thoroughly rinse your mouth with warm water. Use dental floss to remove any food that may be stuck between your teeth. If your mouth is swollen, apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth. Avoid applying aspirin or other painkillers directly to the gums near the aching tooth as it may burn the gum tissue. Call your dentist for an appointment as soon as possible.

The old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure holds true even with oral health. Many dental emergencies can be prevented by following a few simple precautions to avoid accident and injury to the teeth:

  • Wear a mouthguard when participating in sports or athletic activities.
  • Don’t chew extremely hard foods like ice, popcorn kernels, or jawbreaker-type candy. These snacks can easily crack a tooth.
  • Never use your teeth to cut non-food objects or open bottles or jars.

Be sure to save our office phone (281.747.8236) to your emergency contacts, and don’t hesitate to contact us if you or one of your family members experiences a dental emergency. We are here to help!

Original Source: https://flanagansmiles.com/cosmetic-dentistry/dental-emergency/

This entry was posted in Cosmetic Dentistry. Bookmark the permalink.