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Dental Emergencies

Steps to Take During a Dental Emergency

Restoring your oral health after a dental emergency often depends on what you do as well as your dentist’s skills and expertise. You should take the following measures while waiting to see your dentist:

  • Severe toothache: Rinse the mouth with water and try to floss around the tooth to make sure the pain isn’t caused by food stuck between the teeth. If this doesn’t provide relief, see your dentist.

  • Something stuck between teeth: If you know you have something between your teeth, and you can’t remove it by flossing, see your dentist. Do not attempt to remove the object with anything other than floss.

  • Knocked-out tooth: If you can find the tooth, pick it up by the crown rather than the root. You can rinse it with cool water, but do not touch the root or disturb any tissues that are still attached. You can gently place the tooth back in its socket, but if that isn’t possible, place it in a container of milk or salt water—never plain water. Your tooth has the best chances of reattachment if it is returned to the tooth socket within one hour.

  • Broken tooth: Save any tooth pieces and bring them with you to your appointment. Apply an ice pack to the outside of the mouth near the injury to relieve pain and reduce swelling.

  • Partially dislodged tooth: Apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth near the injured area and see your dentist immediately so that the tooth can be stabilized.

  • Soft tissue trauma: If you have sustained cuts to your tongue, lips, cheeks, or gums, rinse your mouth with salt water and apply pressure to the wound with a clean cloth. You may also apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth near the injury. If bleeding does not stop, see your dentist or go to a hospital emergency room for evaluation.

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