Even though you and your family may be doing everything right regarding your oral health, a dental emergency is still always possible. If one occurs, you will need to know what to do until you can reach the dentist for treatment.

Here are some common dental emergencies and ways to handle them until you can receive professional care.

Knocked-Out Teeth

Getting a tooth knocked out is a classic dental emergency needing immediate attention. Take the following steps immediately after the accident and contact your dentist right away. This gives you your best chance of preserving the tooth. Time is of the essence.

  • Pick up the tooth by its crown, not the root.
  • Gently rinse the tooth off to make sure that it is clean. Avoid scrubbing the tooth. It is a good idea to place a towel in the sink to keep the tooth from going down the drain.
  • If possible, place the tooth gently back into the socket, oriented correctly, holding it firmly in place while trying to gently bite down.
  • If you are unable to return the tooth to its socket, place it into a small container or some milk. Milk is preferable.
  • Call your dentist right away and follow the steps above.

Loose Tooth

A loose tooth is another type of dental emergency in which you should call your dentist right away for emergency treatment. In the meantime, you can attempt to place the tooth into its original position by using very light pressure with your finger. Do not use force. You can gently bite down on it to keep it from shifting.

Cracked, Chipped, or Fractured Teeth

If you have chipped a tooth and it does not hurt, this is not normally a dental emergency. You can typically wait a few days and schedule a dental appointment at your convenience. Take care when chewing on it so that it does not become further damaged. Your dentist can probably use some composite to repair it.

A fractured or cracked tooth does constitute a dental emergency. This is because the inside of the tooth may have become damaged. Call your dentist immediately and take these steps:

  • Gently rinse your mouth using warm water.
  • If facial trauma was the cause of the fracture, place a cold compress over the area to reduce swelling.
  • For pain relief, take an over-the-counter pain reliever.
  • Avoid using a topical painkiller because it can damage sensitive gum tissue.

Other Types of Dental Emergencies

Not every problem constitutes a true dental emergency. Many problems can be handled by making an appointment during your dentist’s regular office hours.

Ask the following questions if you are unsure if your situation qualifies as a true dental emergency: 

  • Is your mouth bleeding?
  • Are you experiencing severe pain?
  • Are any of your teeth loose?
  • Are there any bulges, knots, or swelling on your gums? 

If you answer yes to any of these questions, you may be experiencing a dental emergency. Contact our dentist right away.