Dental Care

What to do in a Dental Emergency?

In this article we will give some advice you may find very useful in a dental emergency, so keep this article at hand, you never know when you may need it!

It’s important to understand what action you should take in case of any type of unexpected problem you may develop, such as a broken tooth, swelling or pain. Usually, the most common time people break their teeth is while eating food, for example, losing fillings on sticky toffee, fracturing teeth on an olive pip. Or sometimes you can get trauma from other things like exercise, or playing, what we see as harmless activities.

What are dental emergencies and how can I avoid them?

Dental emergencies should be dealt with sooner than later, as if left until your next routine exam, the problem can develop further, leading onto your dentist no longer being able to restore your tooth. In this case, the only option would be to remove the tooth, in other terms, a dental extraction.

If you experience a dental emergency at a time where your regular dentist is closed, there are other services available to you. Such as A&E, or a special dental emergency unit. Also some local dentists around your area will see dental emergencies, instructed by the primary care trust.

Types of dental emergencies can be broken or fractured teeth. Swelling or pain. Excessive bleeding following an extraction, lose or de-bonded crowns/veneers and bridges or trauma following an accident.

Some simple advice can be given to avoid dental emergencies, such as, if you play a regular sport, try wearing a mouth guard to protect your teeth from getting hit. You can purchase a mouth guard from most sport shops, or your dentist can make one especially made for the fit of your mouth, by taking an impression and sending it off to a dental laboratory.

Also if you’re aware you have large fillings and crowns/bridges, it may be a suggestion to cut your foods up, instead of for example biting straight into an apple. Try to avoid hard and sticky foods, as things like toffees and fudge can be known to pull out fillings and crowns, also hard foods can fracture teeth and fillings.

What should I do if a tooth is knocked out?

If your tooth has been knocked out, it is very important to see a dentist ASAP, within an hour. It is possible for your tooth to be restored in the socket if certain steps are followed correctly.

It is important to keep the tooth moist, and to avoid further damage to the tooth. Always handle the tooth by only touching the crown of the tooth, which is the visible part of the tooth, never touch the root of the tooth, as it’s easily damaged. Rinse the tooth with water or milk, to remove any debris, after the tooth is clean, place the tooth in a cup of milk or saline. If you can put the tooth gently in the socket without causing further trauma and pain, this is even better. If you do try to place the tooth back in the socket, make sure the tooth is in the correct position, facing the correct way. Remember not to let the tooth dry out; it needs to be kept moist. Only permanent/adult teeth can be replanted. If your tooth has successfully survived the trauma, your tooth will need root canal treatment, to prevent any further problems, like infections from the trauma.

What should I do if my tooth is pushed out of position?

If your tooth has been pushed out of position, again call your dentist ASAP for an emergency appointment. The tooth can possible gently be pushed back into position. If your confident enough, you can try to gently push it back yourself, if not in too much pain. But never apply too much force, as you might damage your teeth even more. If the tooth is unable to be pushed back into its original place, orthodontic options can be discussed for further treatments if you’re not happy with the tooth’s position.

How should I handle a chipped or fractured tooth?

There are different levels or chipped your teeth, for example, a chip can be smoothed off, as you will find it can be very irritating to your tongue. Fracturing a tooth is a different case. A fracture can crack a tooth down to the root, therefore needing an extraction, if the fracture line is deep into the nerve. If the fracture doesn’t reach the nerve or root, it can possibly be repaired by a filling or a crown. If the fracture is close to the nerve, you dentist may consider carrying out root canal treatment. This is because microscopic bacteria can find its way down the fracture line, and eat away at the tooth tissues, causing decay deep in the nerve, then causing infection to the root, resulting into a dental abscess.

If you’re a denture wearer, and you notice a fracture or crack in the denture, or maybe a tooth has come off your denture, if you have a spare denture, its best to use this for this meantime. If you don’t have a spare denture, it’s best not to use the denture until you can get to your dentist. Your dentist will then assess the denture and repair it if possible, or the dentist will send the denture off to a dental laboratory for a repair. If you cannot get to a dentist right away, you can try to restore your denture temporarily, by using quick drying super glue, remember this is only for temporary use; your denture will need to be repaired professionally eventually. Never use superglue on your natural teeth.

Treatment for lacerated mouth

If ever you cut any area of your mouth and surrounding areas, the wound should be cleaned immediately with a warm salt water, or antiseptic mouthwash. This is to remove any harmful debris and bacteria from the area. If the areas is bleeding excessively place clean damp gauze over the area, and hold firmly. Call your dentist or emergency service, so they can assist with the emergency, if the area is cut deep, it may need to be sutured.

What should I do if my crown/veneer/bridge falls out?

You should visit your dentist to get this re-cemented or replaced as necessary. If you’re unable to get an appointment straight away, a good tip is to temporarily glue the crown in using a denture adhesive.

Perfect Smile Spa based in Hornchurch Essex is a leading dental practice and believes in PAINLESS dentistry. In case of an emergency do not hesitate to contact of our team who will only be too glad to help!

Our phone number is 01708 442 114 or email to to do in a Dental Emergency? was last modified: June 29th, 2018 by Dr Jas Sagoo