Quick Tips on How to Deal with Common Dental Emergencies


Do you know what do in the event of a dental emergency? Dental emergencies can happen at any time and can range from the relatively minor, such as a chipped tooth, to the much more serious, such as a broken or knocked-out tooth.

Knowing what to do in a dental emergency can make a tremendous difference in your recovery.

The most important step you can take to help deal with any future dental emergency is to make sure you have your dentist’s after-hours or emergency contact number. Emergencies never happen when it is convenient, nor do they only happen during normal business hours. Having this information now, in advance of any emergency, can spare you tremendous stress in the event of any emergency.

The most important resource during any dental emergency is time – dental emergencies need to be treated as soon as possible. This means that time spent looking for this information, or time spent tracking down your dentist after an emergency has occurred can have very negative consequences for treatment.

Here are a few tips to help you cope with most common dental emergencies:

Chipped tooth

Depending on the severity, this may not need immediate dental care.

  • If the chip is minor and the tooth does not hurt, you do not require immediate dental care.
  • If the chip is large or noticeable, or if there is any pain – which may signify damage to the root, nerves or underlying dental structures – you should schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Your dentist may be able to smooth the rough edges of the chip or add dental filler to correct the contour or the edge of the tooth.

Cracked or broken tooth

A cracked or broken tooth should be considered a dental emergency that requires immediate dental care. When teeth are cracked, or broken, they also often suffer considerable internal damage that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

  • Thoroughly rinse your mouth with warm water.
  • If the damage was caused by trauma to the face or head, such as being struck by an object or by a fall, there may be considerable pain and swelling. Alleviate the swelling by applying a cold compress to the area.
  • Take acetaminophen or other non-aspirin pain reliever for pain relief if needed.
  • Immediately call your dentist for an emergency appointment.

Loose or misaligned tooth

A loose tooth or a tooth that has been knocked out of proper alignment requires immediate attention from your dentist in order to prevent serious, lasting damage.

  • For a loose tooth, call your dentist immediately for emergency treatment.
  • If a tooth is knocked out of alignment, try to very gently re-align it with neighboring teeth, being careful to use very minimal force. Call your dentist as soon as possibly for immediate treatment.

Tooth knocked out

This is one of the most serious dental emergencies most people will face and requires immediately emergency dental care in order to save the tooth. The focus should be on saving and preserving the tooth so that your dentist can re-implant it as soon as possible.

  • Gently pick up the tooth by the crown – you should never touch a tooth by the exposed root.
  • Very carefully rinse the tooth with cool water. Never scrub, brush, or otherwise clean a knocked-out tooth. The attached root is extremely delicate and critical for the survival of the re-implanted tooth.
  • If possible, carefully re-seat the tooth into the socket and hold it in place by gently biting down. If you are unable to do this, place the tooth in a small container filled with milk.
  • Call your dentist for immediate emergency treatment. Ideally your dentist should attempt to re-implant the tooth back into the socket within 30 minutes of the tooth being knocked out. The odds of a successful re-implant fall off considerable the longer the delay is between injury and treatment. Each minute past 30 lowers the odds of a successful re-implant.

At Kildaire Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we understand how stressful dental emergencies can be for our patients, and we strive to help you cope with that stress by providing caring, compassionate care when you need it most.

Emergency walk-ins are always welcome at our clinic. We also offer same-day appointments to help you and your family deal with life’s little emergencies.