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What to Do in the Case of a Dental Emergency

  1. Call your dental office emergency line to speak with your dentist for guidance
  2. If your dentist is not available, go the hospital emergency room for guidance

If your tooth has been knocked out, put it back in your mouth in the socket and hold it in place with gauze. Go to your dental office immediately.

What is a Dental Emergency?

A dental emergency arises when severe pain can be felt in the tooth or gums. Dental tooth pain can be from several different sources. Some of the most common dental emergencies are caused by:

  • Knocked out tooth
  • Pain from cracked or broken filling
  • Pain from impacted wisdom teeth
  • Pain from deep cavity/decay
  • Traumatic strain on the tooth caused by clenching/grinding or a heavy bite
  • Loose tooth

After Hours Guide for Dental Emergencies

Loose Tooth

There are many different causes of a loose tooth, some common causes include:

  • Hit in the mouth accident, sports injury
  • Periodontal (gum) disease
  • Traumatic forces (clenching, grinding, heavy bite)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pregnancy hormones

Schedule an appointment with your dentist to have them assess the area. Once the cause is determined, the dentist will explain what treatment options are best suited for you and your needs.

Traumatic Strain on the Tooth Caused by Clenching/Grinding or a Heavy Bite

Common symptoms include:

  • Clicking in the jaw joint
  • Headaches that originate in the temples
  • Sore jaw muscles
  • Wear on biting surfaces of teeth
  • Partner waking from sounds of grinding
  • Sleep disruption
  • Increased sensitivity to temperatures

If you are experiencing these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist. The dentist will examine the jaw joint, jaw muscles and look for wear patterns on the teeth indicating clenching or grinding. The dentist will then discuss with you preventive techniques to help alleviate strain placed on the teeth.

Deep Cavity/Decay

Once the decay in the tooth has gone into the nerve, you will start to experience symptoms of pain. Common symptoms include:

  • Increased sensitivity to sugary/hot/cold foods
  • Sharp, shooting pain in the tooth
  • Headaches
  • Swelling/abscess in the gums
  • Asymmetry of face due to inflammation
  • Dark spots on teeth

Call the dentist immediately if you experience any of these symptoms to schedule a dental exam.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Common symptoms include:

  • Jaw pain
  • Headaches
  • Swelling of gums around wisdom teeth area
  • Swelling around the jaw
  • Unpleasant taste in mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Inability to fully open mouth

Sometimes a person can experience episodes of discomfort and relief. Even though you may experience some days or even months of relief, once the wisdom teeth start to become bothersome, they will continue to stay that way until they are treated. It is best to consult your dentist as soon as you experience any of these symptoms to have the area assessed and treatment completed.

Cracked or Broken Filling

Common symptoms include:

  • Sharpness/rough edge of tooth on tongue
  • Dull ache when eating/chewing
  • Sensitivity to hot/cold

Call the dentist to schedule a dental exam and x-ray to determine what treatment is required for the tooth.

Knocked Out Tooth

  1. Save the tooth that has been knocked out and bring it to the dental office as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the less chance there will be to fix the tooth.
  2. Hold the tooth by the top crown (white part), not the bottom root (yellow part).
  3. The greatest chance that the tooth is able to be saved, is to PLACE THE TOOTH BACK IN THE SOCKET where the tooth fell out of. Try your best to put it level with the rest of the teeth. You can bite down on gauze or a tissue to keep it in place.
  4. If the above option does not work, the tooth can also be brought to your dentist by, placing the tooth in a container of dairy milk or holding the tooth between your lower lip and gum or under your tongue.
  5. A cold compress on the outside of your mouth, as well as pain relief medications such as Tylenol and Advil can be used to help ease the pain.

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