Dental Emergency Basics: 5 Things You Should Know to Handle Dental Mishaps

Know what to do in a dental emergency.

Dental emergencies can happen in many ways and without warning. Some are more urgent than others, but they all require an evaluation from a qualified dentist.

Ignoring a dental emergency can significantly impact your oral health. Delaying treatment may lead to increased pain, tooth loss, or the spread of infection. Not only does this jeopardize your overall well-being, but it can also lead to higher treatment costs and more extensive dental work.

While there’s no way to anticipate dental emergencies, you can ensure you’re prepared to handle the unexpected.

Recognizing Dental Emergencies

Many patients seek emergency dental care when they experience discomfort from toothaches. However, other situations, like playing contact sports or eating something hard, can cause dental emergencies. 

Seeking immediate dental care is crucial to treating the tooth and could be the difference between restoring and losing it. Some common situations that may require emergency treatment include:


A toothache indicates a range of issues, from minor to severe. Although a lodged foreign object could cause your issue, it could be an infection from untreated tooth decay

If it stems from an infection, you will want to seek immediate dental care. You could have a severely infected tooth that must be treated. 

Knocked-Out Tooth 

Trauma to your mouth can result in a knocked-out tooth. This situation requires attention from a dentist within 30 minutes. Teeth don’t remain viable for long after they are removed from the mouth. 

Broken Tooth 

Broken teeth occur because of an accident or due to severe decay. If you have a broken tooth, don’t attempt to glue the broken pieces back together yourself! You need prompt attention from your dentist to address the issue. 


A dental abscess forms near the tooth’s root. These form because of an untreated infection that reaches the tooth’s soft center. It appears on your gums like a pimple on your face. 

This can be a life-threatening condition, making it crucial for you to get immediate help. The infection can spread into your bloodstream and affect your overall health.     

Responding to a Dental Emergency: 5 Crucial Steps to Take

Regardless of the nature of your dental emergency, how you respond to it is crucial. Until you can see a dentist, you can handle common dental emergencies by keeping these five key tips in mind:  

1. Contact a Dentist 

If you have a dentist you see for routine care, call them first. They may be able to see you during regular business hours. Otherwise, they’ll tell you what to do until you can be treated in the office.

2. Preserve the Knocked-Out Tooth  

If you’ve located the knocked-out tooth, pick it up near the crown, not the roots. You can gently place the tooth back into the socket, but be careful not to force it. Stop immediately if it doesn’t easily fit back in place. 

When you cannot put it in the socket, keep the tooth in the mouth against the inner cheek to ensure it remains moist. If the tooth is dirty, rinse it with water and store it in a cup of milk or clean water. 

3. Manage Pain 

You can manage any pain you may be experiencing by taking the recommended dose of an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever or anti-inflammatory. A cold compress or ice can also help reduce pain and swelling. However, don’t place it directly on the affected area. It could increase the pain. 

4. Address Injuries and Bleeding 

If there is any bleeding, you can control it by gently biting down on gauze or a clean cloth. You can also slow the bleeding by holding an ice cube over the area. A soft tissue injury, like one to the lips, may bleed considerably but should stop after a few minutes. 

5. Handling Broken or Chipped Teeth 

Your main goal will be to preserve the remaining tooth structure until your appointment. Start by swishing with warm water. Then, apply ice to the outside of the affected area. Repeating this every few minutes can help with swelling.

For minor breaks and chips, you can use dental wax to protect your tissues from being cut by the rough edges of the tooth. You can find this product at most drug stores.  

Preventing Dental Emergencies: Proactive Measures for Oral Safety

Engaging in activities like contact sports can increase your risk of encountering a dental emergency. But you can prevent the need for emergency care by taking certain steps, including:

  • Wearing a mouth guard during sports and physical activities
  • Avoiding chewing on hard objects like ice or pens
  • Avoiding using teeth as tools
  • Practicing safe oral habits 

Following these suggestions can help you prevent dental trauma and costly treatment.     

Get emergency treatment from the best dentist in Dallas, Texas.

Being prepared for dental emergencies before they happen is vital to safeguard your oral health, and following these tips can help you reduce your risk of dental mishaps in the future. Dental emergencies can be a hassle. Keep your family prepared by visiting Dallas Cosmetic Dental for your routine care, and should you suffer an urgent situation, our experienced team can help you take care of it promptly and effectively. Contact us today!