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Dental Emergencies: When to See a Dentist

added on: September 8, 2017

man in dental chair holding mouth from dental emergency

You may think it won’t happen to you, but it never hurts to be prepared for a dental emergency. We’ve put together a list of common dental issues that may arise, and what you should do in each case.


If you’re experiencing a toothache, first try rinsing your mouth out with warm water and flossing to dislodge any food stuck in your teeth. To decrease any swelling, apply a cold compress to your mouth. It’s important to remember never to put any painkiller against the gums near the tooth as it could burn the gum tissue. If you have a toothache, call us and we’ll get you into see us as soon as possible.

Chipped Teeth

A chipped tooth is never fun, and the most important thing to remember is that you have to save any pieces that break off. Then, you need to rinse out your mouth using warm water; rinse any of the pieces, as well. To stop any bleeding, apply some gauze to the area until the bleeding stops. To keep down any swelling, apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth near the chipped tooth. Call us as soon as possible.

Lost Filling or Crown

If you lose either a filling or a crown, call us immediately to make an appointment as soon as possible. While you’re waiting to see us, stick a piece of sugarless gum into the cavity if you’ve lost a filling. If you’ve lost a crown, use a cotton swab to apply clove oil to the sensitive area and try to slip the crown back over the tooth, if possible.

Extruded Tooth

You should see us immediately if you have an extruded tooth – a tooth that is partially dislodged from its socket. Apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth near the affected area until you get to our office and take an over-the-counter pain reliever if you need it.

Knocked-Out Teeth

As with a chipped piece, it’s important to keep the knocked-out tooth. Hold it by the crown – the part that’s exposed in the mouth – and rinse off its root with water if it’s dirty. Be sure not to scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, put the tooth back into place, making sure it’s facing the right way, but do not force it into place. If you can’t reinsert the tooth, put the tooth in a small container of milk or a cup of water with a pinch of salt. Call us as soon as possible because knocked out teeth have the highest chance of being saved when the tooth can be placed into the socket within one hour of being knocked out.


An abscess is an infection that occurs around the root of the tooth or in the space between the teeth and gums. Abscesses can damage tissue and surrounding teeth and the infection can even spread to other parts of the body. If you discover a pimple-like swelling on your gum that’s painful, call us immediately to come in as soon as possible. Until you can get in to see us, rinse your mouth with a mild solution of half a teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water several times a day.

No matter what dental emergency you’re dealing with, when in doubt, always be sure to contact us and we’ll advise you on the best course of action. At Caring Smiles, we’re dedicated to providing you with the best possible care.