Handling Dental Emergencies

Any dental emergency like an injury to the teeth or gums can be potentially serious andshould  not be ignored.

Ignoring a dental problem can increase the risk of permanent damage as well as theneed for more extensive and expensive treatment later on.

Here is a quick summary of what to do for some common dental problems.


First, thoroughly rinse your mouth with warm water.  Use dental floss to remove any lodged food.

If your mouth is swollen, apply a cold compress to theoutside of your mouth or cheek.  Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against your gums near the aching tooth becauseit may burn the gum tissue.  See your dentist as soon as possible.

Knocked-Out Tooth

Retrieve the tooth, hold it by the crown ( the part that is usually exposed in the mouth) and rinse off thetooth root with water if it is dirty.  Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments.  If possible, try to put thetooth back in place.  Make sure it’s facing the right way.  Never force it into thesocket. If it is not possible the tooth into the socket, put the tooth into a small container of milk .

In all cases, see your dentist as quickly as possible.  Knocked out teeth with thehighest chances of being saved are those seen by thedentist and returned to theirsocket within 1 hour of being knocked out.

Extruded ( partially dislodged) Tooth

See your dentist right away.  Until you reach the dentist, to relieve pain, apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth.  Take over the counter pain relief.

Lost Crown

If the crown falls off, make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible and bring the crown with you.  If you can’t get to the dentist right away and thetooth is causing pain, use a cotton swab to apply a little clove oil to the sensitive area.  Do not try to use super glue to re-attach the crown

Broken Braces and Wires

If a wire breaks or sticks out of a bracket or band and is poking your cheek, tongue, or gum, try using the eraser end of a pencil to push the wire into a more comfortable position. If you can’t reposition the wire, cover the end with orthodontic wax, a small cotton ball, or piece of gauze until you can get to us. Never cut the wire, as you could end up swallowing it or breathing it into your lungs.

Loose Brackets and bands

Temporarily reattach loose braces with a small piece of orthodontic wax. Alternatively, place the wax over the braces to provide a cushion. See us, as soon as possible. If the problem is a loose band, save it and call us for an appointment to have it recemented or replaced (and to have missing spacers replaced).


Abscesses are infections that occur around the root of a tooth or in the space between the teeth and gums. Abscesses are a serious condition that can damage tissue and surrounding teeth, with the infection possibly spreading to other parts of the body if left untreated.

Because of the serious oral healthand general health problems that can result from an abscess, see us as soon as possible if you discover a pimple-like swelling on your gum that usually is painful. In the meantime, to ease the pain  try rinsing your mouth with a mild salt water solution (1/2 teaspoon of table salt in 8 ounces of water) several times a day.