How to Handle 6 Common Dental Emergencies

December 30, 2013


Bad things can happen despite the most prudent of dental care. Teeth can chip and other problems can occur that can potentially lead to permanent damage. Whenever these bad things occur, it is best to be prepared until a visit to the dentist can be arranged. Below you’ll find advice for dealing with six common dental emergencies to provide you time to get to the dentist.
Abscesses can occur at any time. An abscess is a type of infection that either surrounds the tooth in the gums or between two teeth. An abscess will form a puss-filled bump that can be painful and if left untreated, can spread to the rest of the body. For this reason, it is essential to see a dentist; however, in the time that one can’t be seen immediately, swishing warm salt water in the mouth can help to kill bacteria and draw the puss near the surface of the gums. This also helps to clear up the infection; but be aware that for a full cure, the use of prescribed antibiotics may be required.
It has long been advised to bite down on aspirin or other painkillers while experiencing a toothache. Although this can temporarily relieve pain, it can actually cause the gums to be burned, and any aspirin in the system can thin out blood. If a tooth needs to be removed, it’s not advisable to have thinned blood as the gums can bleed profusely after a tooth is pulled. Gently floss around the tooth to ensure that nothing is caught in the gums and then swish warm salt water in the mouth to kill any bacteria present. If there is swelling, a cold compress can help to alleviate it and can also help numb the pain until you get to the dentist.
Chipped Tooth
Try to save any pieces of a broken tooth so that it can be reattached at the dentist’s office. If the tooth is bleeding, apply gauze to disrupt the flow of blood and stop it. Again, a cold compress can help to relieve swelling and pain.
Knocked-Out Tooth
A tooth that has been knocked out can be preserved in two ways. Either it can be reinserted into its socket after it has been washed or it can be placed in a substance that won’t kill the tooth, such as milk or table salt. In this situation however, you should immediately get in to a facility like Maxwell Miller Emergency Dentistry to prevent permanent loss.
Lost Crown
In the case a crown falls out, it is beneficial to try to preserve the crown so that it can be placed back onto the tooth. The exposed tooth will be extremely sensitive. Swishing warm salt water can be useful to kill bacteria in the mouth and provide comfort. It is best to keep the mouth closed as much as possible as the exposed tooth can be very painful when air hits it.
Foreign Objects in Gums
If you run into this problem, try to safely remove the wedged item in the mouth if you can. First, rinse the mouth with warm water. Try to remove the object with floss; however, do not use any sharp objects to remove the item as this can cause additional injury or you may inadvertently cause more items to wedge between teeth.
A dental emergency can happen anywhere at any time. If you run into any of these issues, have someone immediately do a quick internet search for “dental emergency in Indianapolis” or wherever you may be at the time so that you can immediately make arrangements for professional care. Still, knowing how to quickly treat these common emergencies a can provide a lot of comfort and help to avoid permanent damage until you can get to the dentist.

Back to Blog
This website requires javascript. Please enable it or visit to find a modern browser.