What To Do in a Dental Emergency

Dental trauma happens. In fact, it happens a lot. More than 5 million permanent teeth are knocked out every year, according to the American Association of Endodontists.

Falls, sports, violence and even eating your favorite crunchy foods can cause a dental emergency involving tooth loss, dental injury and trauma.

No matter what the cause, if you experience dental trauma or tooth loss, it can be unsettling and even a little scary.

That being said, if you know what to do in the situation, there’s a chance you may be able to save your tooth.

Our office understands the need to act quickly in the face of a dental emergency, and we are here to help you in your times of emergency dental needs.

What Is a Traumatic Dental Injury?

Dental injuries and trauma include injuries to the teeth, jaw, soft tissue structures of the mouth such as the palate, the frenulum (the piece of tissue connecting your upper lip to your jaw) and the gums. These injuries range from lacerations and abrasions on the soft tissue to injuries to the teeth themselves, including cracks, chips, fractures and tooth loss.

Traumatic dental injuries include mandible fracture, or a broken jaw, and trauma affecting the jaw joints. Damage to the jaw joints can result in a lifetime of jaw pain and issues, including temporomandibular joint disorder.

What Should I Do if I Have a Dental Trauma?


If you experience a traumatic dental injury from a car accident, violent altercation, sports, a fall or even horseplay, take it seriously, even if you think you feel better. You may have trauma to your teeth or soft tissue that you don’t realize.

If you have trauma and are putting off getting treatment, you may be at risk for complications that may be more painful and expensive to fix as you let them linger.


When Is it a Dental Emergency?

As we said, some dental injuries are obviously urgent, but if you sustain any mouth injury, we recommend that you call us as soon as possible.

These injuries may include:

  • A knocked-out tooth or teeth
  • Teeth that are chipped
  • Teeth that are cracked
  • Gums that are damaged, torn or bruised
  • A damaged dental restoration
  • A loose dental implant
  • Damaged dental pulp or a root fracture

Next, stay calm. We know that you may be a little anxious, and traumatic injuries can be scary, especially if you’ve lost a tooth. You may experience facial pain, bleeding and other effects with a traumatic facial injury.

However, if you have indeed lost a tooth, you can try to save it.

Here’s how:

Hold it by the crown portion (the top white part that is visible in your mouth) instead of the root, as holding it by the root can potentially damage it.

Second, rinse the injured tooth very gently with water.

Next, place it into its original tooth socket.

If it cannot go back in or your injury is severe, place the tooth in a container of milk. You can also use your saliva to temporarily store your tooth if milk is not available. If you do not have a container, place the tooth in your mouth between your teeth and gums.

Note: Do not place the tooth in water.

If you have traumatized teeth that are cracked or chipped, try to cover any sharp or sensitive tooth fragments with dental wax or sugarless gum. This protects the broken pieces from falling off and protects you from any sharp edges.

If your tooth is broken or chipped, avoid foods and beverages that are very hot or very cold to reduce the chance of pain. If you are experiencing pain, over-the-counter pain relievers can ease your discomfort.

Seeing the Dentist After a Dental Emergency

Our primary goal is to get you out of discomfort quickly.

Depending on the severity of your oral injury, you may need a restoration to restore your tooth and make your smile complete.

These restorations could include an inlay or onlay, crown, or a dental implant.

As with any situation, early intervention is best. So as soon as you experience your emergency, call us as quickly as possible about getting an emergency appointment.

Our office is here for all your emergency dental needs. We also offer general, preventive, restorative and cosmetic dentistry services.

Is It Important to Replace a Tooth?

Yes. Missing teeth can contribute to a range of dental, oral and overall health issues, including malnutrition, changes in speech and even effects on your self-esteem.  A new research study has also linked tooth loss to an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Sometimes a missing tooth can even lead to another dental emergency down the road.

If you’re missing a tooth from a recent injury or even something long ago, call us for more information about the tooth-replacement options we offer to restore your smile’s health and appearance.

Want to learn more about our dental offerings? Call us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.