How to Handle a Dental Emergency

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Dental Emergencies can be very painful and have a negative impact on your health.  While it is important to see a dentist as soon as possible, dental emergencies tend to occur when most dental offices are closed or at the most inopportune times.  

Here are some common dental emergencies and how to deal with them. 

What do I do if I knock out my tooth?

For a knocked-out permanent or adult tooth, it is very important to keep it moist at all times and avoid touching the root of the tooth. If able, insert the tooth back into the socket. If that’s not possible, place it in between your cheek and gums, or in milk.  Then, get to your dentist’s office right away.  This is considered an urgent emergency and your dentist should be willing to see you after regular office hours.  

 What do I do if my child knocks out a tooth?

If the tooth is a baby tooth, the best thing to do is find the tooth, keep it moist in milk and get to a dentist. Your dentist can see whether the entire tooth, or just part of it, came out. Your dentist can also determine whether it’s in your child’s best interest to implant it again.

 What if I crack or break a tooth?

For a cracked tooth, immediately rinse your mouth with room temperature water to clean the area. If this is a back tooth, it is not necessarily an urgent emergency.  As long as you see a dentist within a few days you should be fine.  If the tooth is sensitive to cold/hot or you are experiencing pain, taking Advil or Tylenol can provide relief. 

If you are experiencing throbbing that does not stop after medication or you experience any swelling, call your dentist immediately.  There may be infection present that needs to be addressed. 

 If you break a front tooth and it is very noticeable when you talk or smile, it is considered an emergency at most cosmetic focused dental offices.  Your dentist should be willing to see you the same day or after hours.

If I bite my tongue or lip, how do I treat it?

If you bite your tongue or lip, clean the area gently with water and apply a cold compress. You may need to take over the counter pain reliever if you are uncomfortable.  See your dentist or go to the emergency room if there is excessive bleeding, the bleeding won't stop, or you are in a lot of pain that is not helped by medication.

 How do I treat a toothache?

For toothaches, it is first important to make sure the area is clean. Brush as thoroughly as you can and gently use dental floss to remove any food caught between your teeth and rinse with an antibacterial rinse or water.  Do not put aspirin on your aching tooth or gums as it may burn the gum tissue. Over the counter pain relievers can help until you are able to see your dentist. .

What if I think my jaw is broken?

If you think your jaw is broken apply cold compresses to control the swelling. Go to your dentist or a hospital emergency department immediately.


How do I remove an object that’s stuck between my teeth?

For objects stuck in the mouth, try to gently remove with floss.  Floss threaders are available at drug stores and can be used to thread floss under objects if needed.  Do not try to remove it with a sharp or pointed instrument. The item might be painful or cause an infection, so it’s important to see your dentist soon if you cannot remove it. Over the counter pain medication can help in the meantime.

 At Start Smiling Dental we always have a dentist on call if we are closed and reserve time in our schedule for the times when we are open.  Please give us a call (404-255-6782) at any time should you have a dental emergency 

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.