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Dental Emergencies – Reasons, Procedures, Prevention

Excerpt: Dental emergencies are generally pretty serious issues if one should happen to you...
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Dental Emergencies

Dental emergencies are generally pretty serious issues if one should happen to you. Since you only get one set of permanent adult teeth, if any of them are damaged or at risk of falling out, you should consider it an emergency.

Dental Emergencies – What classifies as one?

A dental emergency is anytime you are put at significant risk by an oral health issue. There are a lot of different dental emergencies, here are a few of the most common ones:


Not all toothaches are considered to be an emergency indicator. However, if the pain is considered to be very intense by the one who is experiencing it, then it is probably a dental emergency. The biggest indication of intensity is if it stops you from doing minor, everyday tasks. 

Chipped, Broken, Or Knocked-Out Teeth

Save any pieces of the tooth that you can find, especially if it is completely knocked out in one piece. Put any pieces you may find in an airtight container of milk if you have it or water. If there is bleeding and you have gauze available, apply the gauze to the affected tooth, or the gap where the tooth was. If you are in pain you can take a dose of Advil or Tylenol. To curb any swelling, apply a cold compress to the outside of your cheek on the side of the affected tooth.

Partially Dislodged Tooth

Immediately contact a dentist that sees you as soon as possible. Try not to eat or drink anything until you get the tooth treated. If you must, only eat soft foods and use the opposite side of the mouth. Do not drink warm or cold fluid as the nerves of the tooth may be exposed which will cause pain. You can also use the same cold compress method, and take a dose of Advil or Tylenol.

Objects Stuck Between Teeth

There’s a chance that you could get something stuck between your teeth. If it is stuck, try to dislodge it gently by using a dental pick, or toothpick. Be very careful when applying pressure as you may slip and end up puncturing your gums which will create further damage. If the stuck item is causing you pain and discomfort then you should contact a dentist so they can dislodge it. If the substance stuck in your teeth is irritating the gums, then it will almost definitely cause inflammation, possible bleeding, and pain.

lost filling or crown

If you lost a filling, see a dentist immediately, in the meantime, gently apply a piece of chewed gum to the area the filling was covering.
If you lost a crown, keep the crown if you are able to find it. If you are not able to get to a dentist immediately, try to make it to a pharmacy to buy clove oil (this can help alleviate the pain). Gently apply the clove oil to the affected tooth, and try to fit the crown over the top of it. If it does not fit, do not force it! The crown may have been damaged from the event. 
Do not apply any kind of glue! 

Severe Swelling

Swelling can indicate a number of issues in the mouth, it is often caused by infection or irritation. If this happens you can apply a cold compress to the side of the face that is swollen, and take a dose of Tylenol or Advil. Try to examine the area that is swollen to see if you can detect any food particles. If you do, gently try to remove them with a toothpick or dental pick. Even if you are gentle, there may be varying amounts of blood from the irritation of the gums. If blood makes you uncomfortable or can cause you to faint, do not attempt this as that may result in more damage.

Broken Orthodontics

If your goal is to re-align your teeth, this can be an expensive and lengthy procedure. If you have braces and you managed to damage them to the point of breaking, then the tension will be gone and your teeth will move out of position. For dentures to work effectively they have to bind your teeth and apply pressure for the entire duration of use, if they lose any tension it will cost you time and money. 

Dental Abscess

A tooth abscess is a pocket of pus that’s caused by a bacterial infection as a result of a bad cavity. If you have been experiencing severe tooth pain, fevers, a foul taste in your mouth, difficulty swallowing, or difficulty opening the mouth, it could be an abscess. A dental abscess is a very serious condition and should never be ignored. A dental abscess will need root canal therapy, or a tooth extraction, otherwise it could result in a severe oral infection.

Bleeding And Pain After A Tooth Extraction

There will always be some bleeding after an extraction, and probably some discomfort. However, if it persists even for an hour after the extraction you should consider calling your dentist if you can. The prolonged bleeding or pain could be an indication that something is wrong.

At-Home Remedies (DIY) For Pain And Swelling

If you can’t immediately receive dental treatment, there are some things that may help. Some solutions for toothache pain include:

  • Over-the-counter medication
  • Cold compress
  • Fresh garlic
  • Head elevation
  • Saltwater rinse

How can I prevent a dental emergency?

Some dental emergencies can’t be prevented, for example, if you get into a car accident, or slip and fall on the road. However, most dental emergencies like toothaches and fractured cusps have a simple, easy way to prevent them, it just involves doing a standard oral care routine twice a day every day:



  • Less plaque build-up – Plaque can be brushed off, but if left alone it will harden to tartar.
  • Less acid build-up – Bacteria in your mouth produce acid from carb digestion.
  • Fresher breath – Food particles in your mouth will go bad and can cause infections.
  • Healthy gums – Gum disease (gingivitis) can be prevented with good oral care.
Dental emergencies are also considerably more expensive when compared to the cost of only having to brush and floss every day.


Most dental emergencies can be prevented by brushing flossing, and using mouthwash twice a day, every day.

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Can any clinic treat a dental emergency?

It depends on the severity and complexity of the emergency. General dentists can handle a wide array of dental procedures since they often have to. However, if the dental emergency has extra complications involved or the dentist is unsure that they can complete it, they will most likely refer you to a specialist.


There are a number of advanced oral care specialists:


  • Orthodontist – Specializes in correcting misaligned teeth.
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgeon – Works on the hard and soft tissues in your mouth.
  • Periodontist – Focuses on gum health and diseases.
  • Prosthodontist – Experts in teeth that have advanced decay or damage.
  • Endodontists – They are concerned with the inside of the tooth.
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Some common dental emergencies are:

  • Severe toothache – Toothache that causes disruptive pain.
  • Broken/Knocked-out teeth – Any time a tooth is damaged/knocked loose.
  • Lost filling or crown – This can cause infection or further damage to that tooth.
  • Broken Orthodontics – Can delay the teeth straightening process, and is very expensive.
  • Dental abscess – An infection of the inner pulp of the tooth.
  • Bleeding and pain after the tooth extraction – Get help if it continues for a significant amount of time after the extraction.

Frequently Asked Questions

It depends on the clinic and there experience, at Smiles Dental Group we can definitely handle emergencies, even during off hours.

it will depend on what emergency you have. A dental extraction is much less costly then a root canal for example.

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