Have A Dental Emergency? Here’s What You Should Do

Excerpt: Dental emergencies are always scary and it can be difficult...
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Dental emergencies are always scary and it can be difficult to know what the right thing to do is, in that specific situation. If you have an issue that feels like an emergency, chances are it won’t get any better without immediate treatment. Leaving a dental emergency untreated can quickly result in a much bigger issue that could be damaging to your overall health. 

Do You Actually Have A Dental Emergency?

For most patients, knowing you have a dental issue is not the problem, identifying whether or not it is an emergency is. The biggest factors in an emergency will be intensity or severity. 
  • Intensity – How much pain the person is in.
  • Severity – Even if there is no pain, how much of a priority is it?
Sometimes there might not be any pain, if you break a tooth, it might not hurt until you put pressure on it, or it experiences a change in temperature.
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Common Dental Emergencies

Here is a list of the most common dental emergencies and what to do in case they should happen:


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.
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At-Home Remedies (DIY) For Pain And swelling

If you can’t immediately receive dental treatment, there are some things that may help:

Saltwater rinse

Add half a teaspoon of salt to a glass of water, gently swish it around your mouth and gently spit it out. Afterward, do the same with normal water to get rid of the taste.

When should you do it?

The saltwater rinse can be done for any emergency, it can even be done on a daily basis if you wanted to, salt has anti-microbial properties that can help treat the area.

Cold Compress

Take a cold bag, generally filled with ice or frozen food, then apply that to the side of the face for ten-minute intervals.

When Should You Do It?

If you are experiencing swelling or pain, then the cold temperature will help to numb the area.

Over-The-Counter (OTC) Medication

Medication like Advil or Tylenol is a staple in a lot of homes and first aid kits. If you are experiencing pain or swelling take the appropriate dose of the medication.

When should you do it?

If you have no medical condition preventing you from taking these drugs, then you should take them when you are feeling pain, discomfort, or swelling.


Take a fresh clove of garlic, add a bit of water and crush it until it forms a paste, immediately and gently apply it to the affected tooth. This must be done quickly as the numbing properties happen just after the garlic is crushed.

When Should You Do It?

This method has been used for a very long time to curb pain caused by toothaches. It may not get rid of the pain completely, but it is a cheap, natural method that may take the edge off.

Elevated head

Keep your head at a higher position than your body, (either standing or laying on pillows), this will take away some of the pressure from the head which may be causing you more pain.

When Should You Do It?

If you have pain or inflammation, it may help a bit, and will not cost anything to try.

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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