How to Handle Dental Emergencies Effectively

What are the best ways to handle common dental emergencies quickly and effectively? Emergencies are always panicky situations especially if we don’t know how to handle them. When it comes to mouth injuries involving teeth and soft tissue, knowing how to handle the situation may help reduce permanent damage and treatment.

If a dental emergency occurs, call your dentist as soon as possible. Most dentists agree that a timely response to situations like these need to occur. But in the meantime, handling your emergency immediately is important to ensure there is no further damage.

What are the most common dental emergencies and the measures we need to take? Below we have listed dental emergencies you’re likely to encounter and quick-easy steps to take to protect your teeth.


By a toothache, we are referring to severe pain that is inhibiting you from eating, talking, or focusing.  


  • Rinse your mouth with warm water or warm salt water to clean the infected area.  


  • Gently floss to remove food debris that may be causing pain and irritation.
  • If swollen place a cold compressor to the outside of mouth and cheek to reduce swelling.
  • DO NOT place aspirin or painkillers against gum tissue as this can burn tissue.  

Chipped or Broken Tooth:

  • Save the broken pieces
  • Rinse mouth immediately with warm water and also the broken pieces.
  • If you’re bleeding, place a gauze on affected area for 10 minutes
  • To reduce swelling and relieve pain, place a cold compress outside the mouth.   

Knock-out Tooth:

  • Hold the tooth by the crown and rinse the root with water if it is dirty.
  • DO NOT remove or scrub the tissue fragments of the tooth.
  • Try to place the tooth back in the socket without touching the root or forcing it in.
  • If you can’t place it in the socket, place the tooth in a small container filled with milk, water with a pinch of salt, an ADA tooth preservation product, or between the cheek and gums.

* Teeth have a higher chance of surviving if it gets placed back in the socket within the hour it has been knocked out.


These are infections that occur around the root of the tooth or in between the teeth and gum. Look for small, pimple-like swelling on the gums.

  • Rinse your mouth warm, mild salt water several times a day to reduce the pain and the swelling.
  • If left untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body.

Soft-Tissue Injuries:

Soft tissue injuries are injuries that occur on the tongue, cheeks, gums, and lips.

  • Rinse your mouth with warm salt water.
  • Apply a piece of gauze or tea bag for pressure to the bleeding site for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Applying a cold compress to the outside of the mouth for 5 to 10 minutes will control the bleeding and relieve pain.

After you have experienced one of the following dental emergencies, it is important you make an appointment to see your dentist immediately on the same day. You want to ensure you take the necessary measures to prevent permanent damage and from infection spreading.

Dental emergencies are bound to happen at some point if your playing sports or partaking in a recreational activity. However, you can take precautions in advance to prevent mouth-related injuries by using a mouthguard. Mouthguards provide protection and cushion for our teeth and soft tissue making impacts less harmful than it would without one.  

In addition to protecting your mouth during sports or recreational activities, our teeth need care from the food we eat. Even though our teeth our strong, they will wear over time if you’re constantly putting them through tough, intensive wear. Avoid hard foods such as ice, popcorn kernels, and hard candy. Also, never use your teeth to open anything, use scissors!

Dental emergencies can be a moment of panic and worry but, the faster you take care of the situation and make an appointment with your dentist, the quicker it will be to fix the situation.

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