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What to Do When You Experience a Dental Emergency

Dental emergencies can be disruptive and stressful. Unfortunately, they are also inevitable for most of us at some point.

If you deal with a dental emergency as quickly and effectively as possible, you will make a faster, more thorough recovery. Delaying an emergency visit to the dentist could result in unnecessary tooth loss.

Here are several common dental emergencies and what to do if one of them happens to you.

Mouth Abscess

The presence of an abscess is an urgent sign that it’s time to visit a qualified dentist as soon as possible.

Abscesses are infected, pus-filled areas that are generally painful to touch. If you have a swollen spot on your gums that feels painful, you need to get treatment as soon as possible to avoid letting the infection spread. Trying home remedies or avoiding the dentist will only lead to further problems.

Untreated abscesses can grow and end up infecting the roots of surrounding teeth and lead to tooth loss.

Knocked-Out Tooth

If you lose an entire tooth, it may be salvageable if you act quickly and the root is not too damaged.

To preserve a loose tooth, carefully rinse it with water to clear away any dirt. Make sure you hold it by the crown and avoid making contact with the root.

Ideally, replace the tooth in your mouth and hold it still until you can reach an emergency dentist. Saliva helps to keep the tooth root alive in the meantime.

If you cannot comfortably place the tooth back in your mouth, keep it clean and wet in a container of milk. Unlike water, cow’s milk has a pH balance compatible with keeping a knocked-out tooth alive.

Lost Dental Restorations

Any type of loose or missing dental restoration that has fallen out of place counts as a dental emergency. Dental restorations include fillings, crowns, implants, and bridges.

Many of these restorative structures prevent your teeth from receiving damage. For instance, if you have lost a filling, the rest of the tooth becomes vulnerable to breakage whenever you chew food.

If you have a failing or lost restoration, it is a good time to see a trusted dentist.


If you are sick with a virus or cold, sinus pain can feel like it is in your teeth. However, if the pain does not lessen or move even when you are not sick, the affected tooth may be in danger.

Most toothaches begin as mild pain and escalate later as the untreated problem worsens. If you have localized pain in your teeth or gums that will not leave, you should treat it as an emergency, even if it is not painful enough to disrupt your everyday routine.

Sometimes flossing out stuck food is enough to eliminate a minor toothache. However, if the ache does not go away, get in touch with your dentist as soon as possible. Tooth decay can be a cause of soreness and requires immediate dental attention.

Chipped or Cracked Teeth

An accident can lead to cracked or chipped teeth that require emergency treatment. If you bite something hard such as a piece of candy, ice, or bone, you could crack or chip a tooth. Being involved in an accident can also lead to tooth damage.

Regardless of the cause, you should never ignore even a minor fracture or chip in one or more of your teeth. Broken or cracked teeth often become further damaged over time, especially when you chew anything tough.

Damaged teeth may also decay, which can lead to infection. If you have a damaged tooth, seeing an emergency dentist as soon as possible is a wise course of action.

Mouth Injury

Even injuries that do not directly affect your teeth initially can be dental emergencies. For example, an injury inside your mouth that will not stop bleeding is an emergency.

If you have a severe wound in your mouth, a visit to your general practitioner or an emergency dentist is imperative. Trauma or infection to your teeth and gums are problems that require professional attention.

If you are experiencing any of the conditions described above, visit a trusted emergency dentist immediately to get proper treatment