How to Handle a Dental Emergency: Tips and Advice

Woman clenching teeth in pain

Dental emergencies can strike at any moment, often when least expected. Whether it’s a knocked-out tooth, a sudden toothache, or a broken crown, knowing how to handle these situations can reduce pain and increase the chances of saving your tooth. Discover essential tips and advice on how to manage a dental emergency.

Stay Calm and Assess the Situation

The first step in any emergency, including a dental one, is to stay calm. Panic can exacerbate the situation, making it harder to take the necessary actions. Assess the severity of the issue: Is there severe pain? Is bleeding involved? Can you see any visible damage to the teeth or gums? Your observations will guide your next steps and help you explain the situation when you seek professional help.

When a Tooth Gets Knocked Out

One of the most critical dental emergencies is a knocked-out tooth (avulsion). Pick up the tooth by its crown (the part that is usually exposed in the mouth) and do not touch the root. Carefully rinse the tooth under cool running water without scrubbing if it is dirty. Try to reinsert it into the tooth socket, place a piece of gauze over the top, and clamp down your jaw to hold it in place.

If not, keep the tooth moist by placing it in a container of saline or milk or holding it in your mouth next to your cheek. Then, seek immediate dental attention.

Managing Toothaches and Swellings

Toothaches can range from mild discomfort to unbearable pain, indicating various problems such as cavities, infections, or dental abscesses.

To manage tooth pain, rinse your mouth with warm water or saline solution and try to dislodge any food caught between your teeth by gently using dental floss. You can also take OTC anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen; however, avoid applying aspirin directly to the gum, as this can burn the gum tissue.

For swelling, apply a cold compress or ice pack to the outside of your mouth intermittently for 15 minutes on and off.

Broken, Chipped, or Fractured Teeth

If you have a chipped, broken, or fractured tooth, rinse your mouth with warm water right away to clean the area and immediately place an ice pack on the affected cheek to reduce swelling.

If you can find the broken tooth fragment, clean it, store it in a sterile container, and bring it with you to the dentist. Depending on the severity, your dentist will prescribe a restoration treatment, such as a filling, crown, or, in severe cases, a root canal.

Lost Fillings or Crowns

For lost fillings, temporarily fill the gap with sugarless gum or over-the-counter dental wax until you can see your dentist. If a crown falls off, try to place it back over the tooth using toothpaste, dental cement, or denture adhesive as a temporary hold. Avoid using super glue or other non-dental adhesives. See your dentist as soon as possible to reattach or replace the crown.

Get Emergency Dental Help Fast With Valley Dental Care

Facing a dental emergency? Don’t panic — Valley Dental Care can help. Our experienced dental team is ready to provide the prompt, compassionate care you need to navigate any dental crisis. From knocked-out teeth to severe toothaches, we’ve got the treatments you need to restore your smile. Contact us now to get the urgent care your smile needs.