What To Do in a Dental Emergency?

What should you do in a dental emergency? Whether you had an adventure while traveling or slipped at home, it is helpful to know what constitutes a dental emergency and what to do when there is one. In most cases, try to get to a dentist within 30 minutes so there is a better chance of saving the tooth.

Cracked or broken tooth

Find and secure any tooth fragments that separated from the existing tooth. Clean fragments off gently with warm water and keep them moist, then rinse the mouth out afterward, also with warm water. Apply a cold compress to the cheek and take acetaminophen to help reduce pain. Avoid aspirin, however, as it is an anticoagulant and can make bleeding worse.

Knocked-out tooth

Only touch the tooth by the top; never touch the inner root or nerves. Gently rinse off the tooth to clean it after placing a towel in the sink to ensure it cannot fall down the drain. Try to place the tooth back into its socket and gently hold it in place; otherwise, keep the tooth in a small cup of milk, then call a dentist immediately. Again, take acetaminophen (not aspirin) for pain.

Loose tooth

Gently try to move the loose tooth back to its original place, but do not force it. If it can be moved back, bite down lightly to help keep it in place. Regardless of whether it can be secured, immediately call a dentist to set up an emergency appointment.

Infections and abscesses

Any infection is a serious emergency. Get to a dentist promptly so they can identify the source of the infection, clean it out, and prescribe antibiotics. Acetaminophen can help reduce pain.

Swollen jaw

Whether a swollen jaw or cheek is from trauma, infection or something more serious, it is critical to immediately contact a dentist. Applying a cold compress to the cheek and taking some acetaminophen can help alleviate pain.

Injured tissue

Serious injuries inside the mouth, such as those to the gums, tongue, lips or cheeks, are dental emergencies, and patients should contact a dentist immediately. These can include tears, lacerations or puncture wounds. Use warm water to clean the area immediately. If the injured person is experiencing pain, they can take acetaminophen but not anticoagulants like aspirin. Apply gauze to a bleeding tongue. If the injury is severe enough, it may be better to opt to go to a hospital emergency room instead.

Need a dentist for a dental emergency?

If someone has cracked, broken, loose, or knocked-out teeth or are suffering from a worsening infection or swelling, or if they have experienced trauma of the mouth, it is a dental emergency. Someone who is experiencing severe pain, has lost a tooth or can see a broken tooth’s inner structure should contact a dentist immediately. Anyone who is bleeding heavily or suffering signs of infection should first go to an emergency room for treatment before receiving dental care.

Request an appointment here or call Calabasas Dental Care at (818) 591-2480 for an appointment in our Calabasas office.