How to Handle a Dental Emergency

Dental emergencies can happen unexpectedly, but you may not know exactly what to do if your smile is suddenly in danger. What constitutes a dental emergency, and what should you do if you’re faced with one?

Dental Emergencies, Defined

Not every toothache is an emergency, but there are a few different types of dental crises that do warrant rapid assistance from a qualified professional. Here are a few scenarios that would indicate that immediate dental help is needed, and what you should do while you wait to be seen.

Knocked out tooth. No question — a tooth that is completely dislodged from its position in your gum constitutes a dental emergency. While you wait to be seen, be sure to handle the tooth by the crown — never the root. Rinse the tooth in water, but do not scrub it or remove any tissue, and place it back in its socket if possible to prevent it from drying out. If this isn’t possible, wrap the tooth in clean gauze and immerse in milk or saliva.

Tooth pushed out of position. This is another example of a dental emergency. If possible, push the tooth back to its normal alignment — however, don’t force it if it won’t move. Also, you can bite down gently to keep it in its place.

Fractured tooth. A broken or fractured tooth is another example of a dental emergency. As you wait for your appointment, rinse your mouth with warm water and use an ice pack or a cold compress to help reduce swelling. Avoid taking aspirin — use ibuprofen instead if you’re in pain.

Severe toothache. While a toothache can take many forms — those that suddenly become unbearable or those that pop up out of the blue can quickly make life miserable and may require an emergency dental visit. While you wait, rinse your mouth with warm water, check for lodged-in food (use dental floss). Never place an aspirin against the gum of an aching tooth as it can cause burns.

How to Seek Emergency Dental Help

With any of the dental emergencies listed above, you’re going to want to seek help as soon as possible. If you already have a regular dentist, and it’s during regular office hours, they may be able to squeeze you in. If you don’t, you’ll have to start searching for a nearby dentist that offers emergency services. You can search the internet for local options, and ask friends and family for recommendations.

Keep in mind is that not all dentists that offer emergency services will accept new patients — they may only see you if you’re an established patient, so it may take some time to determine if a nearby office can see you on an emergency basis.

Creating Smiles Dental does offer emergency dental services. Give us a call and we’ll help you determine if you need to be seen immediately. If it’s after hours, current patients will be able to speak to an on-call dentist, and those who aren’t established patients can leave a message and we’ll contact you first thing the next business day.


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