What to do in a Dental Emergency

It’s Friday night and you have just bitten into that late evening snack and you feel your tooth break. Knowing that most dentists are not available in the evenings and weekends, what do you do? 

This scenario and many other dental emergencies happen quite often at the dental office. Below are some steps to take into consideration during a dental emergency.

Knocked Out Tooth

Baby Tooth: Taking your child to the dentist as soon as you can of course would be the first step, however if your child has a baby tooth knocked out, do not try to put the tooth back into the socket.  Although it is completely normal for children to lose a baby tooth, an accident that damages a baby tooth could also cause harm to the adult tooth underneath.

Adult Tooth: Unlike the baby tooth that may have been knocked out, if an adult tooth gets knocked out it should be put back into the socket. After you locate the tooth, hold the tooth at the crown (top) and not at the root. If the tooth is dirty, rinse the root for a split second with water. DO NOT scrub or remove any tissue that may be attached. If probable, gently hold and insert the tooth into the socket with gauze or a clean washcloth. If this is not possible put the tooth in a container with milk, saliva or saline solution. If none of these liquids are available, put the tooth in water and get to the dentist right away. Getting to the dentist within 30 minutes is best.

Cracked or Broken Tooth

Rinse out your mouth with warm water to clean the area. Apply a cold cpmpress onto your face to reduce swelling if needed. If you find the broken piece, bring it with you to your dentist wrapped in wet gauze if available.

Bitten Tongue or Lip

Gently clean the area with a cloth and place a cold compress onto the area to bring the swelling down. If there is significant bleeding that doesn’t stop after a short time, head to the dentist or emergency center right away.

Swollen Face/Toothache

Rinse out your mouth with warm water to clean the area. Take what you normally would for pain. DO NOT put aspirin right on the gums or aching tooth. If your face is swollen, see your dentist or physician right away as this is a sign of a serious infection.


Go online to www.mouthhealthy.org and click on “ADA Find-a-Dentist” to find an ADA member dentist near you.  If you are out of the country, contact the U.S. Embassy.  Information may also be available online at www.usembassy.gov and select country you are visiting.  Once selected medical listing can be found under the heading “U.S. Citizen Services.”


*As Always, THANK YOU for being part of our practice family!