What to Do In A Dental Emergency

It’s easy enough to visit the dentist during regular business hours. But, more often than not, severe dental emergencies occur at the worst possible times – nights, weekends, holidays, and business trips. What’s worse, the pain prevents you from getting on with your day.... while eating and drinking quickly becomes and exercise in futility.

Hey look, there's no reason to be a tough guy (or girl) when it comes to your mouth. Did you realize that enduring through the pain can worsen your overall condition, exposing your mouth to unnecessary infection. Even if you try to ignore it, that pain is a sign of an underlying problem that needs treatment – even if it temporarily abates.

We can help you get out of pain, and on with your life!

We can ease your suffering, and help you focus on what truly matters.

In response to popular demand, our dentists will now be available for all of your urgent dental needs. If you find yourself in need of emergency dental care, just give us a call at (877) 936-6828. Our team is committed to see you as soon as possible, so you can get on with your life. In some cases, we know that emergency dental care can make the difference between keeping and losing your tooth or between less costly procedures and more costly ones. And we know that nobody likes refusing family dinner, or being incapacitated by pain at work. Let us help you when you need a dentist the most.

We know that often times people avoid visiting the dentist because they fear going to the dentist. Trust us, ignoring the problem makes the condition worse! However, if that applies to you, we totally understand! This is the main reason we offer conscious oral sedation (sometimes referred to as "sleep dentistry", although that is a bit of a misnomer), so you can undergo emergency dental treatment without pain – or anxiety.

Preparing for your emergency dentist visit

To further save time with your emergency, please provide us with:

  • Any recent treatments, surgeries, or appointments
  • The location of the pain
  • Your symptoms
  • The level of pain
  • Any medications you have taken

Temporary solutions, by type of dental emergency

Your first step should always be calling our office. However, these practical steps can help tide you over (in case you need to charge your phone):

Bleeding Extraction Sites

Because the area is not yet healed, it is possible for the tooth extraction site to bleed after the procedure. If the area begins to bleed, place a small piece of wet gauze over the area. This will prevent blood from flowing out of the site, and will help the area clot. Since the area is often tender, hold the gauze for about 40 minutes to ensure the area properly clots.

Remember, don’t suck through a straw or spit for 12 hours after the procedure. This vacuum can cause the wound to re-open.

Bleeding Gums

Bleeding gums can occur, with or without pain, if you have not flossed for several days. Incorrect flossing techniques may aggravate your gums, which can also traumatize the area. This is a sign that you are at risk for, or already have, gum disease. Schedule an appointment so we can help you ensure proper technique, and get you on the right track. Avoid using alcohol- containing mouthwashes, which aggravates open wounds. If bleeding happens regularly, regardless of flossing, this can be a sign of a serious medical condition. In that event, apply gauze to the infected area until bleeding stops, and schedule an appointment immediately.

Broken Braces

In the event of your braces being broken or poking, the try using wax. If there is a loose bracket in the middle or front of your mouth, place a small piece of wax between the bracket and your tooth. This will keep the brace from scratching your tooth, and allow you eat. If the wire connecting the bracket is sticking out or has been split, place a ball of wax on the area. By doing so, you are shielding you lip from the metal in your mouth. It is possible for the wax to become dislodged, so it is necessary to avoid eating until the problem can be properly attended to.

Broken tooth

In the event of a cracked or broken tooth, begin by rinsing your mouth with warm water. It is important to remove any food, so be sure that the area is clean by flossing around the tooth. Do the same with any pieces of the tooth that my remain in your mouth. Place ice outside of your mouth if the area is swollen. If you are bleeding, place gauze or a moistened tea bag over the area until the bleeding stops. It is possible, as a temporary measure, to place a piece of sugar-free gum on the area. Don't use gum with sugar. This step can be done before reaching our office.

Broken dentures

It is possible to use Krazy Glue to carefully glue the tooth back into position, however this can be difficult for some people to manage. If the whole denture is broken, using Krazy Glue is, again, a temporary solution with mixed results. We advise using Krazy Glue to fix individual teeth before your appointment, but holding off on repairing the whole denture. It will always be better to visit our office to manage whole denture repair.

Dislodged crown / Bridge

If the crown is in pieces, begin by cleaning each piece and rinsing the area. Then, if possible, coat the inner surface with an over-the-counter dental cement, toothpaste, or denture adhesive and return it to the area. Do not use ordinary glue. It is possible, as a temporary measure, to place a piece of sugar-free gum on the area. Do not use gum with sugar. This step can be done before reaching our office.

Dental Abscess

An abscess should be treated immediately because it is possible for the infection to spread to other parts of the body. Come to our office if you detect a painful, pimple-like swelling or if puss appears. If it is not possible to visit our office immediately, rinse your mouth with a simple salt-water solution several times a day. If there is physical trauma, place ice on the affected area to reduce swelling and use gauze to stop bleeding. If the pain is mild patients will often delay treatment. Doing so, however, can cause serious damage to the tooth, bone, and tissue.

Extreme Jaw Pain

If your gums have been infected, and the infection is severe, it will often cause your jaw to swell. This results from an abscess (see ‘Dental Abscess’). Rinse the area with a salt-water solution, and schedule an appointment immediately.

Knocked-Out Tooth

In many cases, if the adult tooth is recovered within an hour, we can reinsert it in your mouth. So timing is everything! Try to flush the area with warm water, and attempt to place the tooth back into its place, so that it is level with the other teeth in your mouth. Bite down on wet gauze to help keep it in place. If it is not possible to reinsert the tooth, place it in a small container with either whole milk or saliva. Whatever you do, don't handle the root of the tooth! That is where your nerves are, and the part that we need to leave undamaged.

Loose or Missing Filing

Applying a little olive oil to the area can help with pain relief. If you still have the filling, your first step should be to rinse it clean. Then, you may be able to slip it back over the tooth. You should purchase tooth cement or petroleum jelly from the pharmacy, to place between the filling and exposed tooth. Because the cause of the loose filling could be decay, we will need to remove the decay and place a new filling.


If your toothache lasts longer than 1 or 2 days, if it is accompanied by a fever, or if it is extremely severe, it can be a sign of infection. Most toothaches are caused by tooth decay, so exterior treatments will be ultimately futile. You can, however, use numbing cream from the pharmacy and place it on the affected area.

Remember, for all of these instances don’t use tobacco products (smoke cigarettes, cigars, or use chew) until the problem has been addressed. Smoke and nicotine can affect the healing process, and should be avoided.

Posted on May 22, 2013 .