What to do in a Dental Emergency

February 1, 2017


Accidents happen, and knowing what to do when you have a dental emergency can mean the difference between saving and losing a tooth.



Below are some tips on how to handle the most common dental emergencies. In all cases, it is important to visit your dentist as soon as possible. Time is critical when trying to save a permanent tooth. In the case that the tooth loss is the result of a more severe or complicated injury, seek medical attention immediately to ensure that proper care is given to the entire injury.


A Knocked out Baby Tooth


• Contact your dentist as soon as possible. Quick Action can lessen a child’s discomfort and prevent infection
• Rinse the mouth with warm water and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling
• Spend time comforting the child rather than looking for the tooth. Baby teeth should not be replanted because of potential damage it could cause to developing permanent teeth



A Knocked out Permanent Tooth


• Find the tooth and be sure to not touch the root
• Rinse it gently in cool water (DO NOT scrub it or use soap)
• Place the tooth in a clean container, preferably with saliva or cold milk. Take the tooth and go immediately to the dentist. (DO NOT use water)(DO NOT wrap the tooth in cotton wool or a tissue paper)
• If you cannot get to the dentist within one-two hours, you can safely try placing the tooth back into its socket, without touching the root. If it goes back in, hold it there with clean gauze or a wash cloth and go to your dentist immediately.

A Broken Tooth in an Accident


• Contact your dentist as soon as possible. Fast Action can save the tooth, prevent infection and reduce the need for extensive dental treatment.
• Rinse the mouth with warm water and apply a cold compress to reduce any swelling.
• If you can find the broken tooth fragments it is important to take it to the dentist. Put it in a clean container with milk for transport. (DO NOT use water)




• First, call your dentist and explain your symptoms and make an appointment.
• Rinse the mouth with warm water to clean it out
• Gently use dental floss to remove any food caught between teeth.
• Apply a cold compress at the spot of the sore tooth. (DO NOT apply any source of heat on your jaw as it can cause the pain to worsen)
• If swelling is present and you cannot see a dentist,

seek out medical attention

Object Stuck in the Mouth

• Try to gently remove with floss (DO NOT try to remove it with sharp or pointed objects)


Badly Bitten Lip or Tongue


• If there is bleeding, press down on the part of the mouth that is bleeding. Use a clean cloth to do this. If bleeding dos not stop, seek out emergency assistance
• Clean the area gently with water and a clean cloth.
• Apply a cold compress


Here are some simple precautions you can take to avoid accident and injury to teeth:


• Wear a mouth guard when participating in sports or recreational activities
• Avoid chewing ice, popcorn kernels and hard candy, all of which can crack a tooth
• Use scissors, NEVER your teeth, to cut things



The moment right after a tooth injury can be traumatic. Knowing what to do ahead of time will alleviate some stress. Here are a couple of common mistakes to be aware of:


• Spending time looking for a baby tooth. Instead, contact your dentist immediately. A baby tooth cannot be replanted in the mouth because of potential damage to developing permanent teeth.
• Scrubbing a permanent tooth with water or soap. Scrubbing the tooth or cleaning it with soap and water can cause further damage. Instead place it in a clean container with cold milk and see the dentist immediately.
• Leaving the Permanent tooth in water. Water can damage cells on the root of the tooth necessary for it to reattach. A clean container with cold milk is the best option. If milk is not available, place the tooth in a container with your child’s saliva.




We’ve created an easy to read, brief, printable guide for you to post in your home so you and your family can be prepared for the most common types of dental emergencies. Click here or on the photo below to print.













NOTE * If your emergency is immediate medical attention please go directly to your medical physician or call emergency services.



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