Dealing With Dental Emergencies

Health & FitnessMedicine

  • Author Tim Miller
  • Published February 23, 2011
  • Word count 531

Dental injuries can occur anytime, anywhere, and you may not always be near an open dentists office when one occurs. However, there are some things you can do during a dental emergency on your own until you can make it to a dentist. We have put together the following tips in correlation with common dental emergencies.

Cracked or Broken Tooth:

A cracked or broken tooth is a very serious injury that should be attended immediately. Rinse your mouth with warm water, begin careful not to scrub or irritate the inured area. Apply a cold compress to your face where the pain to reduce any swelling. If the tooth was knocked out and you have fragments, bring them with you to the soonest dentist appointment you can manage.

Jaw Injury:

If you believe the jaw is broken or seriously injured, a cold compress should be applied immediately to reduce swelling. If the injury is extremely painful, you should go to the emergency room to receive medical treatment. Even if you do receive treatment at the hospital, you still need to make an appointment with your dentist. Jaw injuries can shift your teeth causing potential dental issues later on.

Broken Dentures:

If you break your dentures, this is a problem only your dentist or orthodontist can fix. If it is an emergency and you need to have your dentures in, they can be removed, cleaned and temporarily mended with super glue. Just be sure to allow them to dry before you put them back in, and get to your dentist as soon as possible.

Lip or Tongue Injury:

If you bite or puncture your lip or tongue, it is usually easily treatable at home but should still be attended immediately. Clean the area with a clean cloth and apply a cold compress. If the bleeding persists, try rinsing the area with warm water and salt between applying pressure. If the bleeding continues for more than 20 minutes, stitches may be necessary and you should go to the emergency room.

Lost Filings or Crowns:

Losing a filling is not always immediately painful, but the exposure can cause serious damage if the issue is not addressed soon. If you lose a filling, use an over the counter dental cement to protect the area until you can make it to the dentist. If you lose a crown, bring the crown with you to the dentist if you still have it.

Damaged Braces:

If your braces wires break, this can be both dangerous and painful. If any part of your braces break, as a temporary fix try to move the wire back in using the tip of something soft and firm, like a pencil eraser. If you cannot move the wire, cover it with something to protect your inner lip, like dental wax or gauze. You will need to make an immediate appointment to see the dentist.


A toothache may not seem like a dental emergency, and it isn’t always, but a persistent toothache should be taken seriously. If you have a tooth that has been hurting for a long time, there is probably something the matter and you should have a dentist look at it.

We know going to the dentist isn't your favorite thing, but at Caring Dentistry of San Rafael we make visiting a more pleasant experience than you've ever imagined!

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