Dental emergencies may be categorized as toothaches, injuries or broken retainers or dentures.


If a toothache develops, clean the painful area using a brush and floss. Rinse with warm salt water. Do not place an aspirin on the gums or tooth since this may cause a burn. Apply a cold compress to any facial swelling. Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) and call your dentist as soon as possible.

Lost (Avulsed) Tooth

If a permanent tooth is knocked completely out, time is of the essence. Immediately call your dentist for an emergency appointment. It is critical to get the person and their tooth to the dental office within one half hour. This makes it possible to re-implant the tooth with a high degree of success. Find the tooth and, holding it by its crown, gently rinse it to remove dirt and/or debris. Do not scrub the tooth. If possible, gently place the tooth back in its socket as a means of transport. Otherwise, transport it in a cup of milk, salt water, or saliva. If none of these are available, use a cup of plain water. (Place the tooth between the cheek and gum, unless the child is too young).

Loosened (Extruded) Teeth

If a tooth is pushed either inward or outward, try to reposition it using light finger pressure. Do not force the tooth into its socket. Try to get the injured person to a dentist as soon as possible. The tooth may be stabilized and held in place with a moist tissue or gauze on the way.

Broken (Fractured) Teeth

First rinse the mouth with warm water to keep it clean. Immediate dental care is necessary. The treatment will depend on the severity of the fracture and could range from smoothing out the chip to bonding with a tooth colored resin material, to placing a crown or cap. If there has been pulp (nerve) injury, root canal may be necessary at once or at a later date.

Soft Tissue Injury

The tongue, lips or cheeks may be bitten, cut or punctured. If there is bleeding, apply firm pressure with gauze or a clean cloth. If bleeding doesn't stop within 15 minutes, take the person to a dentist's office or a hospital emergency room. Stitches may be necessary. Otherwise, clean the area with warm water on gauze or a clean cloth. Apply an ice compress to the bruised or swollen area. Contact your dentist for further instructions.

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