Are You Having a Dental Emergency? Don’t Panic and Follow These Steps

Updated on July 5, 2021

If you’ve ever been in an emergency situation, then you know the importance of time. During an emergency, each second doing nothing is a second wasted. However, just because you’re in an emergency doesn’t mean that you just do whatever comes into your mind. There may be times when you would not really know what to do, and the feeling of panic can overcome you. This can cloud your judgment especially in making decisions. If this happens, it is better to take a deep breath and compose yourself before moving on.

The situation is no different during a dental emergency. These emergencies can come in different ways, and it is important that you are knowledgeable about the situation before you proceed. A dental emergency happens when something unnatural occurs on your teeth, gums, jaw, or the soft tissue in your mouth. As mentioned, time is essential during any emergency, which is why you have to be as prepared as possible. In this case, this would mean using Google or dedicated dental portals similar to Dentaleh who provide a directory of clinics in Singapore and emergency dentists based on location and region, service and reviews. This significantly cuts down the time you’ll need to find a few dentists that work 24 hours a day.

In this article, I will enumerate some of the most common dental emergencies and the steps you need to take to increase the likelihood of success and potentially avoid further complications.


Sudden tooth pain can be a very ugly and traumatic experience. It’s even worse when you’re in the middle of doing something and that toothache just throws you off your rhythm. 

Your first course of action during this dental emergency is to try and find out what caused the tooth pain. A lot of times this is obvious since toothache is often caused by an injury to the mouth. It can also be caused by the sudden drinking of hot or cold drinks. There may also be times when the exact cause of the toothache cannot be found.

In any case, you should try gargling with a saltwater solution first. You can then apply a cold compress on the part of your mouth where you feel the most pain. 

If the symptoms persist for more than two days, you should see your dentist immediately. Your dentist will diagnose the exact cause of your tooth pain and will then be able to advise you on a proper treatment plan. There are times when the toothache was actually caused by other conditions such as tooth decay or a periodontal disease.

Broken or Chipped Tooth

Another common dental emergency is when a piece of your tooth gets chipped or broken off. This can happen unexpectedly and is usually caused by biting forcefully on hard food like candy or ice. You also might feel some tooth pain in some cases. It is recommended that you see a dentist as soon as you can, as it can be easily remedied with a dental filling. 

When your tooth gets chipped or broken, you should check if your teeth leave a sharp or jagged edge from the chip. If it does, you should cover the sharp edge with chewing gum or paraffin wax to avoid it injuring your tongue or the inside of your mouth. You should also take painkillers if there is some tooth pain.

Tooth Knocked Loose

A tooth can get knocked out especially when playing physical sports or by getting hit forcefully on the jaw from falling or an accident. In this dental emergency, you must take the following steps to potentially save your tooth:

  1. First, locate the tooth as soon as possible and pick it up by its crown (the chewing area), not its root. Be very careful to never touch the root as doing so may compromise the chances of reattaching it.
  2. Gently rinse away any dirt from the tooth using only running water. Avoid using any soap or chemicals to clean it. 
  3. If possible, reattach your tooth to its socket. Hold it in place using your fingers or by gently keeping it there by biting down.
  4. If you cannot put it back in its socket, put your tooth in milk or your saliva. The tooth must be kept moist at all times. Don’t use water, however, since the root of your tooth may not be able to tolerate it.
  5. Apply a cold compress on the side of your face where the tooth was knocked out.
  6. See your dentist within 30 minutes or less. Although a tooth can be reattached even after an hour, the chances are slimmer.

If it is too late to save your tooth, don’t worry. The next option for you is to replace the tooth with a dental implant, which will act similarly as a natural tooth. 

Tooth Abscess

When pus develops at the root of a tooth, this is called a tooth or gum abscess. It often develops from an injury to the mouth that was not treated by a dentist. This can open a crack into your tooth which can then be infected by bacteria and cause the abscess. 

Watch out for symptoms of tooth abscess, since if left unchecked it can lead to serious complications in the future. Some of these symptoms include a persistent toothache, fever, sensitivity to temperatures, bad breath, and a bad taste in your mouth. See a dentist immediately if you experience any of these symptoms since the infection will not heal by itself.

Prevent Tooth Injuries

Now that you know how to deal with some of the common dental problems, it’s best that you also learn how to avoid developing emergencies in the first place. There are some things you can do to prevent dental injuries, including the following:

  • Avoid chewing on objects that can crack your teeth such as hard candy, ice, or popcorn kernels.
  • Use a mouthguard when joining sports or recreational activities.
  • Avoid using your teeth for opening things such as bottled drinks. 

You can also improve your dental health by practicing good dental hygiene. Brushing your teeth twice and flossing once a day is a basic practice that goes a long way in preventing cavities and tooth aches. Visit your dentist’s dental clinic at least twice a year for an oral cleaning appointment and checkup. You don’t have to wait for a dental emergency to see a dentist.

When You Should See Your Dentist

In general, if you experience any of the dental emergencies listed above, you should contact and see your dentist as soon as possible. He/she will be able to diagnose the exact causes and prescribe an ideal treatment plan customized for your needs. 

If you’re having an emergency away from home, it’s best to head to a dental clinic near your present location. Book an appointment to ensure that you emergency will be handled promptly. 

Dental clinics usually have regular working hours. If your dental emergency happens after office hours, consider calling an emergency clinic for help. They will usually get your information and send it to a dentist to help them determine the best way to assist. Other situations may call for a visit to the emergency room for immediate treatment.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.