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Dental Emergency

Dental emergencies can strike at any moment, catching us off guard and causing discomfort or even pain. Whether it’s a sudden toothache, a knocked-out tooth, or a broken crown, knowing how to handle these situations promptly can make all the difference in preventing further damage and relieving discomfort. In this guide, we’ll explore common dental emergencies and provide immediate steps you can take to manage them before reaching your dentist.


1. Toothaches: Toothaches can range from mild discomfort to severe pain and are often a sign of an underlying dental issue such as decay, infection, or gum disease. If you experience a toothache:

    • Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area.
    • Use dental floss to gently remove any food particles that may be causing irritation.
    • Take over-the-counter pain medication as directed to alleviate discomfort.
    • Apply a cold compress to the outside of the cheek to reduce swelling.
    • Avoid placing aspirin or any other medication directly on the gum tissues, as this can cause burns.


2. Knocked-Out Tooth: A knocked-out tooth requires immediate attention to increase the chances of successful re-implantation. If you or someone else has a knocked-out tooth:

    • Handle the tooth by the crown (the part that’s normally visible in the mouth), avoiding touching the root.
    • Rinse the tooth gently with water if it’s dirty, but do not scrub or remove any attached tissue fragments.
    • Try to reinsert the tooth into its socket if possible, making sure it’s facing the right way. If not, place it in a container of milk or saliva to keep it moist.
    • Seek emergency dental care immediately, ideally within 30 minutes, for the best chance of saving the tooth.


3. Broken or Chipped Tooth: A broken or chipped tooth can be painful and may expose the sensitive inner layers to bacteria, increasing the risk of infection. Here’s what to do:

    • Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area.
    • If there’s bleeding, apply gauze or a clean cloth to the site and apply gentle pressure to stop it.
    • Save any broken tooth fragments, if possible, as they may be reattached by your dentist.
    • Cover any sharp edges with dental wax or sugarless gum to prevent irritation to the soft tissues.
    • Schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible for evaluation and treatment.


4. Lost or Loose Filling: Losing a filling can leave the affected tooth vulnerable to further decay and sensitivity. If you lose a filling:

    • Avoid chewing on the affected side of your mouth to prevent further damage.
    • Rinse your mouth with warm water to remove any debris.
    • Apply a small amount of dental cement or sugarless gum to the cavity as a temporary filling.
    • Schedule an appointment with your dentist to have the filling replaced as soon as possible.


5. Soft Tissue Injuries: Injuries to the lips, cheeks, gums, or tongue can cause pain and discomfort. If you experience a soft tissue injury:

    • Clean the area gently with warm water and a soft cloth.
    • Apply pressure to any bleeding areas with gauze or a clean cloth until the bleeding stops.
    • If the injury is severe or does not stop bleeding, seek medical attention immediately.


Being prepared for dental emergencies can help you stay calm and take appropriate action when the unexpected occurs. By following these immediate steps and seeking prompt dental care, you can minimise pain, prevent further damage, and safeguard your oral health. Remember, in any dental emergency, it’s essential to contact your dentist as soon as possible for proper evaluation and treatment.