Dental Emergencies! What You Can Do

A dental emergency can happen to anyone, but most of the time we can prevent it from happening. Ignoring dental problem can raise the risk of damaging your teeth and gums. Greater damage, in most cases, means more extensive and complicated treatment, resulting in more time and money spent on the treatment as a result of the delay.


Normally toothache is caused by decay entering the nerve area. If this is the case, a root canal may be needed.
To help control the pain temporarily, you can follow these simple instructions:

  • Floss to remove any lodged food.
  • Rinse the mouth with warm water to help soothe the pain.
  • Put a numbing agent such as Orajel on the tooth to help relieve the pain for a short period of time, if you’d like.
  • If necessary, take an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen or Aleve, which will help alleviate dental pain better than Tylenol or Aspirin, as long as you do not have any allergies to these drugs or are not taking any other medications that may cause harmful interactions.
  • Consult with your professional dental team and follow the suggested treatments.

Do not place aspirin or any other painkiller directly against the gums near the aching tooth as it may burn the gum tissue.


The most common reason for dental swelling and abscess is an infection. If you experience significant swelling that causes you to have difficulty breathing or causes your eye to become swollen, go directly to the hospital. You will most likely need IV antibiotics for this kind of complex infection.

For minor swelling, you will probably need antibiotics. Your dental care provider will make a decision about the best type and dosage of antibiotics for you based on your health history and the progress of the infection. Meanwhile, applying a cold compress to the cheek next to the swollen area may help control the situation for a short time.

Never put heat on a swollen area. This may cause the infection to spread more quickly.

Chipped or Fractured Tooth

If you have a fractured or chipped tooth, but there is no pain, the damage is probably not significant. In other words, it is likely the fracture is not near or does not involve the nerve. However, if you have previously had a root canal on that tooth, the tooth is not alive and cannot transmit pain. Be aware that in this case, even a big chip will not result in pain, but there could still be significant damage done to the tooth.

Regardless of whether the damage is significant or minor, the chipped or fractured area should be repaired. If the fracture is large, it may require a crown to be placed over the tooth. However, a small chip or fracture may only require a smoothing of the area.

In case of a chipped tooth, follow these instructions:

  • Save any piece(s).
  • Rinse the mouth and broken piece(s) with warm water.
  • In case of bleeding, apply a piece of gauze to the area.
  • Apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth to keep the swelling down and reduce pain.
  • Visit your dental professional team to seek the right treatment.

Tooth Knocked Out

You have the highest chance of saving a knocked-out tooth during the first hour after the accident. If a permanent tooth is accidentally knocked out, follow these instructions carefully:

  • Handle the tooth by the crown and not by the root portion.
  • Carefully rinse the tooth with cold water, but do not scrub the tooth.
  • Try to re-implant it immediately. Make sure it is facing the right way. Do not force it into the socket.
  • If it is not possible to reinsert it yourself, place the tooth in your mouth and keep it there until you can get to a dental office. You can also place it in a cup of milk, but holding it in your mouth is optimal.

Objects Caught between Teeth

Try using dental floss to very gently and carefully remove the object. Never use a pin or other sharp tool to poke at the trapped object. These instruments can cut your gums or scratch your tooth surface. If you can’t get the object out, see your dentist.

Posted on by Dr. Ashnaei in Blog

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