What to Do In a Dental Emergency?

Updated on August 6, 2021

Injuries, accidents, and medical emergencies happen all the time. But the outcome of such events depends upon their severity and your course of action.

While it is normal to call an ambulance or rush to a hospital in case of an accident or, let’s say, a cardiac arrest, most people don’t understand dental emergencies and how to handle them.

In this article, we will talk about what to do in case of dental emergencies and their different types.

What to do in a dental emergency?

Like other medical emergencies, dental emergencies also happen and deteriorate quickly. But since you can’t see them from outside, it’s difficult to judge what has happened and how severe it is. So, your natural reaction to such situations is one of the following two:

  1. Go to the emergency room of a nearby medical center (where you won’t find a dental specialist at all times).


  1. You can care for the injury yourself until you can get in to see the dentist.

In most severe dental emergencies, you can’t wait much and must be attended to as soon as possible. For that reason, many dental practices in Sydney have started providing urgent dental care after office hours. You may head to this website in advance and save the details of one of the best 24 hour dentists Sydney has to offer.

Also, remember, the longer you wait to have the problem checked, the more damage can occur and the more costly the treatment can get. So it is best to know available options and be prepared in advance.

You must also understand what qualifies as a dental emergency and what doesn’t. Let’s discuss that now.

What is considered as a dental emergency?

A dental emergency requires immediate attention from a medical professional. In most cases, this involves calling a dentist and scheduling a same-day appointment.

When your teeth are damaged, it can be hard to know if it’s an emergency or if it can wait, and what the implications may be if you delay treatment. Here is a list of common dental emergencies:

Broken or Knocked-out tooth

A tooth can get knocked out when impacted by force while playing sports or due to a sudden fall. Dentists consider a knocked-out tooth a situation that requires urgent dental care. Tooth fractures are one of the most common dental emergencies.

Cracked or chipped tooth

Cracking or chipping teeth is very common; it can happen while eating if you bite into a hard piece of food or if kids chew on hard candy or a piece of toy. This might seem trivial, but the broken teeth fragments in your mouth can cause swelling and quickly become a bigger problem, needing urgent medical care.

Abscessed tooth

An abscessed tooth is a pocket of pus that can form in different parts of a tooth due to a bacterial infection. If treatment is delayed, the abscess can lead to an infection that spreads through the body, causing serious and even life-threatening effects. The sooner an abscess is treated, the better.

Severe toothache

An unbearably painful toothache could indicate an abscess or other periodontal disease. If it refuses to go away and increases in severity, visit an emergency dentist to get it treated.

Filings that fall out

Fillings and crowns sometimes loosen and fall out. It can be excruciating because of the exposed tooth tissue, which is often sensitive to pressure, air, and hot and cold temperatures. Whether it is an emergency or not will depend on the condition and sensitivity of the underneath tissue. If it is painful, it’s an emergency.

Broken jaw

Mouth injuries always need prompt medical attention. If an impact results in a jaw injury, the jawline may appear distorted.

If someone bites their cheek, lip, or tongue, and the bleeding does not stop even after a good 10-15 minutes, a quick medical evaluation would be needed.

While it’s good to be quick and rush to get professional care, it’s also essential to have some knowledge and know some tips to deal with dental emergencies.

Tips for common dental emergencies

Here are some tips for common scenarios:

  • If an injury results in a broken tooth, take fast action. Find the tooth, if possible, and touching only the crown of the tooth, place it back into the socket in the mouth. If you cannot put the tooth back into the socket, place it into a cup of fresh milk to preserve it. Then get to your dentist’s office right away.
  • For a cracked or chipped tooth, immediately rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area. Put a cold compress (like an ice pack or cold, wet washcloth) on the face to keep any swelling down.
  • If you accidentally bite your tongue or lip and it starts bleeding, clean the area gently with water and apply a cold compress.
  • For severe toothaches, rinse the mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss to remove any food or object caught between the teeth. Don’t try a pain killer or any other medication without the advice of a doctor.
  • If you notice any swelling on the cheeks or gums, immediately reach out to your doctor

Remember, never try to remove an object stuck in teeth with a sharp or pointed instrument. This could worsen the situation.

These are some things you can do to handle dental emergencies. However, you can also act smart and avoid some of these in the first place. 

Brush and floss your teeth daily for healthier and stronger gums and teeth. When engaging in contact sports, make sure you wear a mouth guard that can hold your jaw and teeth in place after an impact. Also, avoid eating snacks that are hard to chew.

These precautions will not only save your smile, but they will also make sure your overall health stays pristine!

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.