Dental Emergency Guide

Cartoon of a boy getting hit in the face with a soccer ball in one frame and smiling with a chipped tooth in the next frame.Dental emergencies can be scary. You want to get care as soon as possible, so it’s important to prepare beforehand. Here’s everything you need to know about dental emergencies and what to do.

Have an Emergency Dental Kit on Hand

Emergencies can happen anywhere, so it’s smart to have a kit with some essential supplies on hand at all times. Your kit should contain a small container with a lid (like an empty pill bottle), gauze, a clean piece of cloth, and Tylenol. You shouldn't use aspirin or ibuprofen because they can make bleeding worse. You should also be sure to have our phone number saved. 

Know What Constitutes an Emergency

The most common dental emergencies include:

A knocked-out tooth

  • This is a very serious emergency and you only have so much time to save the tooth. Pick up the tooth by its top (not the roots) and rinse it gently. If you can, hold the tooth in the empty socket and bite down with gauze, so it’s held in place. If you can’t do this, put the tooth in a cup of milk. If a blow knocked the tooth loose, but it's still hanging on, that’s an emergency, too.  

Chipped/cracked teeth

  • For a chipped tooth that isn’t causing pain, an appointment within a few days is usually fine. More serious cracks or fractures need attention sooner. While you wait for treatment, you want to be very careful. Wash your mouth with warm water. If you have swelling, apply a cold compress and take Tylenol. Topical painkillers like Orajel can burn your gums, so we don’t recommend them.

Tooth infections 

  • Severe decay or trauma can cause infections. Signs include severe  pain, swelling, and a bad taste in your mouth. You need to call us right away. Infections can spread and be life-threatening. 

Other dental emergencies 

  • Signs like bleeding, severe pain, loose teeth, and swelling in your gums, jaw, or other parts of your face point to serious problems. Call us right away if you're experiencing any of these symptoms. 

Emergency Dental Care at Atlantic Dental Partners

At our Jamaica Plain and Malden offices, we’re available for same-day dentistry. If your emergency requires immediate care, we’re able to accommodate you. Many emergencies can be avoided through good oral care, regular professionals cleanings and exams, protective sports mouthguards and caution around hard foods like nuts. Sometimes, accidents happen. We’re here to provide great care and comfort during these frightening events. Contact us today with any questions! 

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