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Any dental emergency, such as an injury to the teeth or gums, can be potentially serious and should not be ignored. Ignoring a dental problem can increase the risk of permanent damage as well as the need for more extensive and expensive treatment later on. While dental emergency is rare, but it can happen, and it’s important to know how to take care of your teeth when they do occur.

Knocked Out Tooth


If something happens to any of a child’s baby teeth, you should call our office immediately. If the tooth is completely knocked out, do not try to put it back into the tooth socket. Although it is normal for children to lose baby teeth, an accident that damages a baby tooth could also harm the adult tooth underneath.



To preserve the tooth, it must be kept moist. If dirty, gently rinse with warm water but leave any tissue fragments in place. Then, if at all possible, try to insert the tooth back into the socket very carefully.

If you are unable to do this, preserve the tooth by placing it in a Tooth Preservation Kit (Coaches at sporting events sometimes have these available), or place the tooth in the mouth next to the cheek, or place in milk or water with a bit of salt. After preserving the tooth, transport your child to our dental office as soon as possible, within 15-20 minutes is ideal. Good preservation of the tooth will keep it viable for up to an hour or more. If you have access to the Tooth Preservation Kit, the tooth will be viable for up to 24 hours.

Broken, Chipped or Cracked Tooth

Save any pieces. Rinse the mouth using warm water; rinse any broken pieces. If there’s bleeding, apply a piece of gauze to the area for about 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops. Apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth, cheek, or lip near the broken/chipped tooth to keep any swelling down and relieve pain. Call to make an appointment as soon as possible.

Toothache or Abscess

First, thoroughly rinse your mouth with warm water. Use dental floss to remove any lodged food. If your mouth is swollen, apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth or cheek. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth because it may burn the gum tissue. We recommend the use of anti-inflammatory medications like Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) to manage pain and discomfort until you can be seen at our office. Abscesses are infections that occur around the root of a tooth or in the space between the teeth and gums. Abscesses are a serious condition that can damage tissue and surrounding teeth, with the infection possibly spreading to other parts of the body if left untreated. Because of the serious oral health and general health problems that can result from an abscess, see us as soon as possible if you discover a pimple-like swelling on your gum that usually is painful.

Soft Tissue Injury

Injuries to the soft tissues, which include the tongue, cheeks, gums, and lips, can result in bleeding. To control the bleeding, here’s what to do:

  • Rinse your mouth with a mild salt-water solution.
  • Use a moistened piece of gauze or tea bag to apply pressure to the bleeding site. Hold in place for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • To both control bleeding and relieve pain, hold a cold compress to the outside of the mouth or cheek in the affected area for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • If the bleeding doesn’t stop, see your dentist right away or go to a hospital emergency room. Continue to apply pressure on the bleeding site with the gauze until you can be seen and treated.

Broken Jaw

If you suspect that an injury has resulted in a broken jaw, apply a cold compress to control swelling. Take the patient to the dentist or emergency room right away.