Main Street Dental Clinics News

4 Common Dental Emergencies and First Aid


No one thinks that a major dental accident will happen to them, but the truth is, dental emergencies can happen to anyone. Whether you chip your tooth at work or your child falls and knocks out one of their first adult teeth, here is what you should do next.

These 4 Common Dental Emergencies Require Appropriate Action

A dental emergency can cause sheer panic. However, as long as you take appropriate steps, you can remedy the situation and maintain positive oral health for many years to come. If you encounter one of the dental emergencies below, know that support is available and that time is generally of the essence.


1. You cracked your tooth

To crack a tooth, sometimes all it takes is a hard piece of candy. In other cases, teeth grinding is to blame. Regardless of the cause, it’s important that you’re aware of the symptoms associated with this dental injury — especially if you can’t physically see a crack.

For example, say you got hit in the face while playing a game of soccer. Following the incident, you develop erratic pain, particularly when chewing. At this point, you need to see a dentist, as a cracked tooth can quickly turn into a serious infection.

Tip: After you make an emergency appointment, rinse your mouth with salt water and if you notice swelling, a cold compress can help.


[RELATED: Help, I Broke a Tooth! Should I Make an Emergency Dental Appointment?]


2. You knocked your tooth out

Believe it or not, more than five million teeth are knocked out each year among adults and children. If this happens to you or your child, it’s important to stay calm. By taking proper emergency action, you can save the tooth. To do so, take the following steps:

  • Quickly locate the tooth and pick it up by the crown (or chewing surface), trying not to touch the root. At that point, rinse gently and if possible, place the tooth back into the socket.
  • The key is to keep the tooth moist at all times. This means that if the tooth cannot be placed safely into its socket, you’ll need to put it in milk. Regular tap water is NOT recommended.
  • See a dentist within 30 minutes. With that being said, a tooth can potentially be saved if it is outside of your mouth for longer, so even if you have surpassed the 30-minute mark, it is critical that you see a dentist as soon as possible.


3. You have an infection

If you notice an abscess or a potential infection in your mouth, the situation could be life-threatening. What may have started as a minor bacterial infection or an untreated cavity can develop into a dangerous situation — especially once the infection spreads from your tooth to the rest of your body.

The best treatment, in this case, is prevention (i.e. brushing twice daily, flossing, and seeing a dentist every six months). However, if you’ve developed pain, swelling, and/or a fever, you need to see a dentist immediately. This type of infection will only get worse.

Tip: Call your dentist to make an emergency appointment and ask if you’re able to take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Allow your dentist to assess the situation in order to implement the best course of action.


4. You have potentially broken your jaw

Although frightening, a broken jaw is a fairly common injury. In fact, it is the tenth most commonly fractured bone in the human body. Additionally, men are approximately three times more likely to sustain a broken jaw in comparison to women, and the most common age group are those 20-30 years old.

Whether you experience a sports-related injury or any other form of facial trauma, you must seek emergency support. If you notice that there are signs of breathing problems, call 911.

Tip: If possible, ice the area en route to your dentist. You may also require a small cup to catch blood and/or spit. Depending on the location and severity of your injury, your dentist will then take appropriate action. Before you’re in your dentist’s care, be sure to support your jaw and keep airways open.


Have a dental emergency? If so, don’t hesitate to contact Main Street Dental Clinics.

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