handle a dental emergency

How To Handle A Dental Emergency

If you’ve recently had a dental accident and experiencing a state of panic, let’s help you take a step back. There are many ways to handle a dental emergency to lower any potential risks to your oral health. 

Accidents can naturally happen, even if you’ve strong oral health. What is equally important is making sure that you understand the immediate next steps towards a full recovery and preventing the issue from getting increasingly worse. 

Let’s read on to learn about how to handle a dental emergency.

What Are The Common Types Of A Dental Emergency?

Read on below if you’ve experienced one or more of these dental emergencies:

  • Toothache
  • A knocked-out tooth
  • A fractured or chipped tooth
  • Tooth loss
  • Broken fillings or crowns
  • Broken or misplaced dentures
  • Excessive bleeding from a dental procedure
  • A damaged or broken jaw

These are the more typical dental emergencies that are sometimes unavoidable. Let’s look at these in greater detail to help you answer the question on how to handle a dental emergency,


If you have a toothache or the pain is severe, a visit to the dentist would be required. Here are some additional tips to help you:

  • Take over-the-counter medication (i.e., ibuprofen)
  • Place a cold compress against the affected area on the cheek on and off for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Carefully floss between the teeth, so any food particles are removed

A Knocked-Out Tooth

A knocked-out tooth can cause tooth trauma, but before you visit the dentist in an emergency, here are some steps to preserve the tooth before your visit:

  • Pick up the tooth by the crown and not the root
  • Attempt to place the tooth back in its socket gently
  • Place the tooth in a moist container such as in milk and bring it with you if your emergency appointment is immediate or if you can’t place the tooth back in its socket.

A Fractured Or Chipped Tooth

If your tooth is chipped or feels loose, make an appointment with the dentist so they can assess the damage. Also, do the following before your appointment:

  • Take any anti-inflammatory medication to reduce any swelling
  • Apply a cold compress against the affected area to reduce any swelling
  • Any loose fragments of the tooth should be brought with you to the dentist in a moist container such as in milk.

Broken Fillings Or Crowns

If you have a dislodged or broken filling, this can cause further damage to your teeth and impact the way it functions. Therefore, this can impact your ability to bite down on food because there is a greater chance that your molars will become further damaged. This also goes for a dental crown, as it can lead to further infection.

Bring the damaged filling or crown with you to the dentist. The dentist could reattach it, but if further damaged, the dentist may consider a brand-new restoration. It is important that you do not attempt to re-attach the filling or crown by yourself.

Broken Dentures

Dentures are considered a dental emergency if you’re relying on them for overall mouth functioning. Ensure that all broken pieces are brought with you to the dentist. They should not be repaired by yourself.

Excessive Bleeding

Excessive bleeding can be a serious concern and will require a trip to the dentist. Sometimes, bleeding after treatment is natural, but it should not be excessive. It could also be a sign of an underlying condition such as gum disease. 

Rinse your mouth with salt water to prevent further infection. You may also place a gauze pad over the bleeding area to squeeze some pressure to stem the bleeding.

A Damaged Or Broken Jaw

Injuries to the jaw are painful and can restrict its movement, meaning finding it hard to speak and bite down on food. There is a greater risk of making the injury even worse if not seen by a dentist. The jaw needs to remain closed, so minimise the amount of jaw activity as much as possible before you visit the dentist.

If you’re suffering from any of these dental emergencies, the first and most important thing is book an emergency appointment with the dentist. However, these immediate supporting remedies can help you manage any pain in the short term to avoid further damage.


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