Dental Emergencies And First Aid

Dental Emergencies And First Aid

We don’t like to think about them, in fact in most cases, the very phrase is enough to send some people into a cringing fit of denial, but dental emergencies? They happen. They are at the best of times acutely uncomfortable, and in the worst cases can be completely excruciating in the pain they deliver. When you experience an injury to your teeth or gums, they need to be treated just like any other medical emergency. Immediate first aid should be applied, and in the milder cases an appointment made with your dentist, and in the worst, a trip to the ER may be in order.

To aid you in dealing with dental emergencies we’ve put together a response list for treatment:

  • Toothaches – An immediate oral rinse should be used to cleanse the mouth, combined with flossing to get food particles out. If there is any swelling a cold compress can help alleviate it and the pain associated with it. Pain-killers can be taken to help ease the discomfort but DO NOT apply it directly to the affected area as it may result in damage to the gum tissue and more pain. See your dentist as soon as possible.
  • Chipped/Broken Teeth – First, retain any fragments from the broken teeth, and rinse your mouth with warm water, as well as the fragments. Apply a piece of gauze to the tooth if there’s any bleeding and a cold compress to the external area where the injury occurred to aid with pain and swelling. See your dentist as soon as possible.
  • Knocked Out Tooth – First, take the tooth and rinse off any dirt or debris, be sure to hold it by the crown (the part you usually see) while doing this. Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue, and attempt to put it back in the socket. Don’t force it, and make sure it’s facing the right way. In the event that you can’t insert it put it in a container of milk or water with a pinch of table salt. If a cell-growth medium like ‘Save-A-Tooth’ is available, this is superior to either other option. These teeth can be saved if you see a dentist immediately and get it back in the socket within an hour of being knocked out.
  • Loosened Teeth – If you have a tooth loosened or partially dislodged resulting from an injury, see your dentist immediately. Relieve the pain with a cold compress and the administration of Tylenol or Advil to ease the discomfort and swelling.

There are the most common forms of injury occurring from misadventure and trauma. Responding to them appropriately is of vital importance in giving the tooth the greatest chance of being saved or repaired. If you have any questions not covered on this list, call your dental office immediately and do what you can to ease the patient’s discomfort in the meantime. With timely action and a quick phone call, you may be able to save the tooth and your smile.


Dr. Deborah TabbPatients at Bethesda Family Dentistry benefit from the knowledge and experience that only comes from a diverse team. From general dentistry to endodontic, periodontics, and cosmetic dental services, this Bethesda, MD clinic is ready to be the only source you need for all your oral health needs.