emergency dentistry

If You Have A Serious Dental Emergency, What Should You Do?

July 1, 2024

A dental emergency is an unsettling scenario that may leave you in pain and unsure of what to do next. Understanding what constitutes a serious dental emergency is crucial for timely intervention. Let’s explore the signs and symptoms indicating the need for urgent dental care.

How Do You Know If You’re Having a Serious Dental Emergency?

Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms

Detecting a serious dental emergency early is pivotal for timely intervention. Here are the critical signs and symptoms indicating a serious dental issue:

  • Intense or Persistent Pain: Severe or lingering tooth pain not alleviated by common remedies may signal an underlying issue like infection or tooth trauma.
  • Swelling: Inflamed gums or facial swelling could indicate an abscess or infection, often accompanied by redness and warmth around the affected area.
  • Trauma or Injury: Any mouth, teeth, or jaw trauma should be taken seriously, including knocked-out or cracked teeth or mouth tissue injuries.
  • Bleeding: Uncontrolled bleeding from the mouth or gums, especially if it persists despite pressure, may suggest a significant dental injury needing urgent attention.
  • Difficulty Eating or Drinking: Challenges in chewing or swallowing, paired with discomfort, might point to a dental emergency, especially if linked to recent injury or dental work.

If you experience any of these symptoms, seeking emergency dental care promptly can prevent further complications and preserve your oral health.

What Should You Do If Your Tooth Gets Knocked Out?

Immediate Steps to Take for Tooth Avulsion

Facing a knocked-out tooth can be distressing, but quick action can enhance the chance of saving the tooth. Here’s what to do if dealing with tooth avulsion:

  • Handle the Tooth Carefully: Avoid damaging the tooth’s delicate structure by handling it by its crown instead of its root.
  • Rinse the Tooth Gently: Avoid scraping to preserve the surface’s integrity; instead, rinse it with a saline or milk solution to remove debris.
  • Reinsert the Tooth (If Feasible): Try placing it back into its socket, ensuring proper alignment, and gently biting down on clean gauze to secure it.
  • Store the Tooth Properly: Avoid keeping the tooth in water or tissue wrap and instead keep it wet in milk or saliva if reinsertion isn’t possible.
  • Seek Emergency Dental Care: Whether the tooth is successfully reinserted or not, urgent dental care is crucial to promptly assess and address the situation.

Taking these immediate measures can significantly impact the outcome of a knocked-out tooth, warranting swift action in such situations.

What’s the Best Way to Handle Severe Toothache?

Home Remedies and When to Seek Professional Help

Coping with severe toothache at home requires temporary relief until professional dental assistance is available. Here are some home remedies to consider:

  • Saltwater Rinse Swish warm saltwater in the mouth to reduce inflammation and eliminate bacteria temporarily.
  • Cold Compress Application: Apply a cold compress externally to numb the area and diminish swelling, providing temporary relief.
  • Over-the-counter Pain Medication: You can reduce inflammation and discomfort using over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
  • Avoid Trigger Foods: Avoid hot or cold beverages, sugary snacks, and acidic foods to minimize tooth sensitivity and pain.

While these remedies offer temporary relief, same-day dentistry is imperative if the pain persists or worsens.

How Do You Stop Bleeding From a Dental Injury?

First Aid Measures for Dental Bleeding

Managing bleeding from a dental injury necessitates immediate attention. Here’s what to do:

  • Apply Pressure: Use a clean gauze to apply gentle pressure on the bleeding area for 10-15 minutes.
  • Rinse with Cold Water: Rinse the mouth with ice-cold water to constrict blood vessels and reduce bleeding, avoiding hot water.
  • Cold Compress Application: Apply a cold compress externally to reduce swelling and aid clotting.
  • Avoid Disturbing the Clot: After the bleeding stops, refrain from vigorous rinsing or touching the area to prevent clot disruption.

Seek medical attention if bleeding persists beyond 20 minutes or if you are unsure about managing the injury effectively.

What Should You Do If You Think Your Jaw Is Broken?

Identifying Jaw Fractures and Initial Care

Suspecting a broken jaw mandates immediate medical attention. Here’s what to do:

  • Assess the Symptoms: Look for signs like pain, swelling, bruising, difficulty opening or closing the mouth, or jaw misalignment.
  • Apply a Cold Compress: External cold compress to alleviate pain, swelling, and inflammation.
  • Keep the Jaw Stable: Minimize jaw movement to prevent further damage, supporting it with hands or a soft cloth.
  • Seek Emergency Dental Care: Visit a walk-in dentist or emergency room promptly for evaluation and treatment.

Prompt action can prevent complications and promote effective healing in cases of suspected jaw fractures.

When Is It Better to Go to the Hospital Instead of the Dentist?

Certain dental emergencies may necessitate you to visit emergency dentistry near you rather than a regular dental clinic visit. Consider these scenarios:

  • Severe facial trauma resulting in fractures or deep lacerations requiring sutures.
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing due to throat inflammation or injury.
  • Uncontrollable bleeding that cannot be managed at home.


Handling a dental emergency requires prompt action and awareness of the signs indicating serious issues. Recognizing these signs and taking timely measures can safeguard your oral health and prevent complications. Remember, don’t hesitate to contact emergency dentistry if you’re facing a dental emergency.

Got a Dental Emergency? Call Us Right Away for Help

If you’re experiencing a dental emergency nearby, don’t delay seeking help. Reach out to Preferred Dental for same-day appointments and walk-in services. Our experienced dentists in Ellicott City are dedicated to providing immediate care when you need it most. Don’t let a dental emergency disrupt your life – contact us now to schedule your appointment!

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