What to Do When You Have a Dental Emergency

emergency sign outside hospital building

What to Do When You Have a Dental Emergency

While many aspects of dental care are regularly on our radar, dental emergencies can catch us off guard. Understanding how to handle these situations is crucial for maintaining good oral health. In this guide, we’ll explore what is considered a dental emergency, and what to do when faced with one. 

Seven Types of Urgent Dental Issues

1: Knocked-Out Tooth

Losing a permanent tooth is a time-sensitive emergency. You’ll need to act quickly—a permanent tooth has the best chance of being saved within an hour of falling out. Gently rinse the tooth and preserve it in milk or your own saliva, then seek emergency dental care immediately. Do not scrub the tooth or use soap, which can cause damage.  

2: Severe Toothache

A persistent and severe toothache can be a sign of a serious underlying issue, such as a deep cavity, an abscess, or gum disease. Contact your dentist immediately for treatment.   

3: Broken or Lost Dentures

Any issues with the fit or comfort of your dentures or any damage to them should be addressed promptly. Avoid attempting DIY repairs, which may cause more damage or harm your mouth. Whether you lose or break your dentures or just need adjustments, it’s important to contact your dentist right away to prevent further issues.  

4: Chipped or Broken Teeth

If they aren’t causing any pain, minor chips and cracks can likely wait until a regular dental appointment for treatment. But significantly chipped, cracked, or broken teeth are a dental emergency because they can expose the dentin inside the tooth. Seek prompt attention to save the tooth and alleviate discomfort. 

5: Tooth Abscess or Gum Infection

Swollen, painful gums or a pimple-like bump on the gums can indicate a tooth abscess or gum infection. These conditions can lead to serious complications if left untreated, so it’s crucial that you seek dental care immediately. 

6: Lost Fillings or Crowns

If a dental crown or filling becomes loose or falls out, the already weakened tooth becomes more susceptible to decay. Leaving a tooth unprotected can lead to sensitivity, further damage, or infections. Contact your dentist right away for a replacement. 

7: Object Stuck in Teeth

If an object gets stuck between your teeth, avoid using sharp objects like a fork to dislodge it. Gently floss around the area to try to remove the object. If this doesn’t work, contact your dentist for assistance. 

What to Do in a Dental Emergency

Know When to Seek Immediate Help

Not all dental issues are emergencies. A mild toothache or minor chip can wait a few days until you’re able to get a dental appointment. But if you experience severe pain, bleeding, swelling, or have signs of infection like pus or a foul taste in your mouth, seek emergency dental care immediately.   

Stop the Bleeding

If there is any bleeding in your mouth, gently rinse with warm water. Then apply gentle pressure to the wound with a clean cloth. Do not use mouthwash, which could cause irritation and make the bleeding worse. Severe bleeding needs immediate medical attention. 

Manage Pain

If your pain is severe, don’t delay in seeking immediate treatment. But if you need to manage pain while waiting for your appointment, follow these tips:

  • Rinse your mouth with warm water to soothe the area and remove any debris that may be causing irritation. 
  • Take over-the-counter pain medication to reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Apply a cold compress to your cheek near the affected area to reduce swelling.

Don’t Delay—Contact an Emergency Dentist in Sun Lakes

If you experience a dental emergency or any other urgent dental issues, please don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Saba and Associates. We offer emergency dental services for adults in Sun Lakes. Give us a call at 480-895-2111 today to schedule an urgent appointment.


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