Emergency Dental Tips

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If you think you have a dental emergency, it’s important to keep calm and not panic. An emergency dentist, such as Dr. George Mitrogogos at Sanford Dental Excellence, can promptly step in and resolve the tuation. Dental emergencies happen without prior notice, and sometimes at very inconvenient times. Having a dentist who deals with emergencies is critical to resolving issues in a timely manner during your dental emergency.

In most cases, pain is generally the main issue in a dental crisis rather than a serious threat to your health. Regardless, you should still call your dentist straight away because dental emergencies require prompt professional treatment to avoid the risk of irreparable damage. At Sanford Dental Excellence, we provide emergency dental care to our patients and are experienced in dental emergencies.

In cases of swelling or acute pain and facial injury that has impacted teeth, emergency dentists perform emergency treatment to provide temporary relief.

Depending on your emergency, you may expect:

  • A prescription for antibiotics and pain relief.
  • Tooth extraction.
  • Application of a provisional dressing to a tooth.
  • Referral to a specialist healthcare service.

Despite the urgent treatment you receive, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll need a follow-up appointment. Life is unpredictable and none of us know when we’ll suffer a sudden dental complication, so the following are 12 tips to help you leading up to your emergency appointment.

I Have a Dental Emergency – What Should I Do?

Although it’s recommended that you see a dentist as soon as possible in a dental emergency, there are certain steps you can take to temporarily ease your discomfort. The following are some of the most common dental crises, and what is recommended for them.


It’s best to call your dentist and explain the symptoms. Relieving toothache is about controlling the swelling which calls for taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory painkiller (like aspirin or ibuprofen.) Try rinsing your mouth using warm water and put an icepack next to your face near the affected area. Using a hot water bottle or heat source can worsen symptoms, so it isn’t recommended. Try flossing around the tooth to gently remove any food debris that may have accumulated between teeth.

A Knocked-Out Tooth

Be sure to keep the tooth and do not handle it by the root, which could damage the tissue that help with re-implantation. Only handle it by the crown. If you aren’t able to put the tooth back in place, put it in a container of milk, or a cup of salty water. Remember, the best chance of saving your tooth is if it’s reinserted by a dentist within one hour!

Facial Swelling

If you have severe swelling of the face, it could indicate a serious infection – of a tooth, gums or bone – that can affect other parts of your body, including vital organs. If you experience facial swelling, you need to see a dentist immediately. Until your emergency appointment, avoid lying down and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, which would increase the risk of further complications.

Something Is Stuck Between Your Teeth

When something gets lodged between your teeth, it can prompt a foreign-body reaction from your immune system that results in inflammation. Using dental floss or a flossing stick, try to remove the object. Avoid using a sharp instrument to try to pry the object out – this can damage your teeth and gums.

Mouth Bleeding

Blood in your saliva could be a sign of a serious medical condition or an advanced stage of gum disease (periodontitis) so it’s best to see a your dentist as soon as you can. The dentist will be able to determine whether the underlying problem is indeed contained in your gums or a symptom of another disease.

Injury to the Tongue

When injured, the tongue can swell and be painful. It may also bleed a lot. Injuries like badly biting or burning your tongue can become infected. If possible, try to see a dentist on the same day. You can also suck on an ice cube while waiting for your appointment. To minimize bleeding, try packing gauze onto the area and putting pressure on it.

Dislodged/Broken Tooth

tart by rinsing your mouth with warm water. Apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth and use gauze to minimize any bleeding. It’s a good idea to take over-the-counter pain relief.

A Filling Falls Out

To replace a lost filling, place sugarless gum or an over-the-counter dental adhesive under the filling.

A Crown Falls Out

Please save the existing crown to give to your dentist. If your tooth under the crown is painful, try applying a small portion of clove oil to the area. If you want to attempt to put the crown back yourself, use toothpaste which will act as an adhesive. Please don’t use superglue!

Broken Braces

If a wire breaks or protrudes from a brace, it can be painful and an annoyance. Try pushing the wire into a more comfortable position with the rubber end of a pencil. You can also put dental wax or a piece of gauze over the end. Don’t try cutting the wire as you could swallow it.

Loose Braces Brackets

Loose braces brackets can be temporarily reattached with dental wax, or you can apply wax over the braces to act as a cushion. If you experience a loose band, save it for your dentist to re-cement or replace.


Affecting the root of a tooth or between the gums and teeth, an abscess is a serious issue. The infection can spread to other parts of your body if left untreated. Your best option is to see a dentist as soon as possible, apart from brushing and flossing the area as normal. It’s not recommended to try to pop the abscess.

Who’s the Best Dental Professional to Handle My Emergency?

According to the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA), the best person to handle a dental crisis is your regular dentist. It’s important to find out now whether you current dental practice is equipped to handle urgent situations outside of normal office hours.

You can do your part to help avoid dental emergencies by:

  • Getting regular dental check-ups.
  • Maintaining good oral hygiene.
  • During sports, wear a mouthguard.
  • Always wear a seatbelt while riding in a car.

Being a patient of an emergency dentist like Dr. George Mitrogogos is a smart choice, especially when an unforeseen dental emergency arises. You can take comfort in the fact that if a dental emergency happens to you, you’ll have the expertise and availability of a dentist who can deal with the issues promptly. We know emergencies happen, and we’re here to help! Call us today to speak with our friendly dental team.

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