In the case of a medical emergency dial 911.
In the case of a dental emergency, current patients should contact us immediately. If it is after our normal business hours, our answering service will reach the on-call dentist who will return your call promptly. Below you will find some tips provided for dealing with common dental emergencies.
Tips for Dealing with Dental Emergencies:
Abscesses are pimple-like swellings on your gums that are painful. They are infections that occur around the root of a tooth or in the space between the teeth and gums. If you discover an abscess, call us as soon as possible. In the meantime, to ease the pain and draw the pus toward the surface, try rinsing your mouth with a mild saltwater solution (1/2 teaspoon of table salt in 8 ounces of water) several times a day.
Bitten Lip or Tongue
Clean the area gently with a cloth and apply cold compresses to reduce any swelling. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, go to a hospital emergency room immediately.
Chipped or Broken Tooth
If you have a broken tooth, call us immediately. Your dentist can figure out if the break was caused by a cavity, and if the tooth’s nerve is in danger. A damaged nerve usually will require root canal treatment.
Until you get to the dentist’s office:
- Rinse your mouth well with warm water.
- Apply pressure with a piece of gauze on any bleeding areas for about 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops. If this doesn’t work, use a tea bag with pressure on the area to stop the bleeding.
- Apply a cold pack to the cheek or lips over the broken tooth. This will help reduce swelling and relieve pain.
- If you can’t get to your dentist right away, cover the part of the tooth that is in your mouth with temporary dental cement. You can find this at a drugstore.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever.
Extruded (partially dislodged) Tooth
Call us right away. To relieve pain, apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth or cheek in the affected area. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever (such as Tylenol or Advil) if needed.
Knocked Out Tooth
Hold the tooth by the crown and rinse off the root of the tooth with water if it’s dirty. Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket. If that isn’t possible, put the tooth in a cup of milk (if milk is not available use water with a pinch of salt) and call us as quickly as possible. (Call the emergency number if it’s after hours.) The faster you act, the better your chances of saving the tooth. Remember to bring the tooth with you!
If the crown falls off, make an appointment to see us as soon as possible and bring the crown with you. If you can’t come in right away and the tooth is causing pain, use a cotton swab to apply a little clove oil to the sensitive area (clove oil can be purchased at your local drug store or in the spice aisle of your grocery store). If possible, slip the crown back over the tooth. Before doing so, coat the inner surface with an over-the-counter dental cement, toothpaste, or denture adhesive, to help hold the crown in place. Do not use super glue!
As a temporary measure, stick a piece of over the counter dental filling in the cavity. Call us as soon as possible.
Objects Caught Between Teeth
Try to gently remove the object with dental floss; avoid cutting the gums. Never use a sharp instrument to remove any object that is stuck between your teeth. If you can’t dislodge the object using dental floss, call us.
Injuries to the soft tissues, which include the tongue, cheeks, gums and lips, can result in bleeding. To control the bleeding, here’s what to do:
- Rinse your mouth with a mild salt-water solution.
- Use a moistened piece of gauze or tea bag to apply pressure to the bleeding site. Hold in place for 15 to 20 minutes.
- To both control bleeding and relieve pain, hold a cold compress to the outside of the mouth or cheek in the affected area for 5 to 10 minutes.
- If the bleeding doesn’t stop, call us right away or go to a hospital emergency room. Continue to apply pressure on the bleeding site with the gauze until you can be seen and treated.
First, rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss to remove any food or other debris caught between the teeth. If your mouth is swollen, apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth or cheek. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth because it may burn the gum tissue. If the pain persists, call us.