Staying Calm in a Dental Emergency

A dental emergency can range from a popcorn kernel stuck in your tooth to a traumatic injury that damages or knocks a tooth out of its socket. The bad news is that, without immediate treatment, your condition could quickly grow worse (and more painful). The good news, however, is that our office is proud to provide expert, high-quality emergency care to new and existing patients. If you experience accidental trauma, sudden and severe tooth pain, or another emergency situation, then don’t hesitate to contact our office as soon as possible to schedule an emergency dental appointment. If possible, we can try to get you into our office the same day so you won’t have to put up with your discomfort overnight.

First Aid for Your Smile

While you’re waiting for you appointment, we encourage you to take the appropriate first aid action:

  • Broken or chipped tooth. If you are experiencing any pain or discomfort, take an appropriate dose of over-the-counter pain medication, such as Tylenol. If you need to eat, stick to softer foods and take care not to chew with the damaged tooth. A jagged edge that’s irritating your tongue or inner cheeks can be covered with a small piece of sugarless gum to avoid soft tissue damage. For minor chips or breaks, your dentist might recommend cosmetic tooth bonding, which can be performed in a single office visit. For significant breaks, you may need a dental crown to restore the function of the tooth.
  • Tooth knocked loose. Gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water. Using your tongue or clean hands, gently move the tooth back into position. Take an appropriate dose of pain relief medication if you experience any discomfort, and if you need to eat, choose softer, mildly flavored foods. The treatment you need will depend on the severity of the injury. In many cases, your dentist can place a splint to hold the tooth firmly in place while the connective tissues heal.
  • Knocked-out tooth. Locate the tooth, pick it up by the crown (the top portion of the tooth), and rinse it gently. Leave any pieces of tissue clinging to the root in place. If you can, reinsert the tooth into the socket. If this is not possible, then store the tooth in a small container of milk. Saving the tooth depends on seeing your dentist as quickly as possible.
  • Toothache. The cause of a toothache could range from a deep cavity to a piece of hard food lodged between two teeth to sinus pressure. However, it’s best to visit your dentist as soon as possible so that the situation does not worsen and cause further discomfort. In any event, you should gently floss your teeth to dislodge any food particles. Rinse your mouth gently with warm salt water and take an appropriate dose of pain medication.
  • Broken filling or crown. First, remove the filling or crown from your mouth, being careful to neither swallow nor inhale it accidentally. You can discard a lost filling but you will want to hang on to the crown and bring it to your appointment. For lost fillings, your dentist will usually choose to place a new filling. With lost crowns, as long as the crown hasn’t sustained any structural damage, your dentist may be able to bond it back into place.