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Dental Emergencies You Need to Know About

Published on Jun 23, 2021   -  4 min read


Dental emergencies are issues that involve the teeth and their supporting structures, which do not always cause pain. Please read the article to know the five common dental emergencies you need to know about.

Dental Emergencies You Need to Know About

What Are Dental Emergencies?

When a person's tooth is knocked out on a Sunday evening or if there is a swelling on the face that develops all of a sudden or the modus operandi that the patient will follow if there is severe toothache during the middle of the night are considered to be some of the common dental-related emergencies one can face. Unfortunately, it can happen to anyone at any time.

Ignoring a dental emergency can sometimes result in permanent loss of teeth and associated structures. Hence, it is important to know what common dental emergencies are and what should be done during such times. Some of the common dental emergencies are:

  1. Severe and constant tooth pain.

  2. Broken or fractured tooth with bleeding.

  3. Knocked-out tooth or teeth.

  4. Swelling of cheeks or jaws associated with teeth or gum pain.

  5. A heavy blow or trauma to the face.

1. Broken or Fractured Tooth With Bleeding:

Accidental fall or trauma to the tooth can result in a broken tooth with bleeding. This may cause severe pain as the nerve of the tooth is affected in this case. The tooth or teeth will be painful to touch, and there may be associated lip and gum lacerations. Food consumption becomes extremely difficult, and the tooth may even be sensitive to cold air or air conditioners.

Management - Commonly used pain killers will not be effective for this condition, and it is mandatory to approach emergency dental care. Immediate pain relief is possible only by dental professionals in a clinic or hospital setup. Cold compression can give some relief in the meantime.

2. Knocked-Out Tooth or Teeth:

A sudden trip over can result in tooth or teeth being knocked out. This is an emergency condition, and one needs to be attended by a dental professional as soon as possible. If the knocked-out teeth can be replanted within 20 to 30 minutes, there is a high chance for them to survive. Any delay may cause permanent loss of the teeth.

Here are a few tips for preserving the teeth before reaching a dentist:

  1. Retrieve the tooth by grasping only the crown surface and not by its root.

  2. Handle it very delicately while picking it up, and do not touch the root of the tooth, only the crown (chewing surface).

  3. If it is soiled, gently wash it with clean water. Use only plain water to gently rinse off any dirt.

  4. Do not use any soap or chemicals.

  5. Don't scrub hard or dry the tooth, and don't wrap the tooth in a tissue or cloth.

  6. Place the tooth back in the socket right away, if possible. Try to reposition the tooth back into the socket immediately.

  7. Gently push it down into the socket with your fingers by handling the crown alone, or place it above the socket and slowly close your mouth.

  8. Hold the tooth in its position carefully until you reach the clinic, or you could gently bite down on it if comfortable.

  9. The tooth must remain moist at all times. It can be achieved by keeping it, either in your mouth or, if it cannot be replaced in the socket by yourself, put it in a cup of cold milk, or place it carefully inside your mouth right next to your cheek.

3. Swelling Of the Jaw or Face Associated With Teeth or Gum Pain:

This may happen all of a sudden when there is an untreated cavity in the mouth for a long time. The swelling may be an abscess or even a space infection. This is a serious condition and requires immediate attention from a dental professional. Bleeding gums may seem very insignificant, but it is, in fact, a dental emergency that is an indication of an underlying larger issue. Hence, you will need to get this issue addressed right away, so you get to the root of the problem. Rinse with salt water for temporary relief and for the swelling to subside. Ignoring this condition can cause serious complications and even be life-threatening at times. Such conditions can be managed only in a clinic or at a hospital.

4. A Heavy Blow or Trauma to the Face:

This is also a serious condition that needs to be addressed immediately in the emergency room. A heavy trauma can cause a fracture of the jaw bones and associated structures. Apply a cold compress on the way to the facility to reduce swelling. If not attended immediately, it may cause serious complications in the long term. Mal-union or improper union of bones can happen if the fractured bones are not brought together immediately. This can lead to poor function and appearance of the individual, and it is hard to make the correction at a later stage.

5. Severe and Constant Tooth Pain:

Severe tooth pain should never be neglected, especially when it is constant and does not go away. This may be due to an underlying tooth or gum infection. It is characteristic for such a toothache to start late in the evening and become unbearable at night. It is also triggered or aggravated while taking cold, hot, or sweet substances. Most of the time, it becomes impossible to chew or drink from that side. Severe tooth pain that makes it nearly impossible for you to eat, of course, warrants an emergency dental visit. A toothache can arise from many causes, including:

Rinse with a warm saltwater mix to help dislodge any food particles that may be causing irritation. In case of a broken filling causing pain, cover the exposed area with gauze if the lost filling has left your tooth with any sharp edges. Often, same-day emergency treatment is suggested, or probably, even an emergency tooth extraction may be required if your tooth cannot be saved. If this goes untreated for too long, bacteria can spread throughout your bloodstream, make you very sick, and lead to serious health complications.

What Are the Steps to Prevent Dental Emergencies?

You can take the following simple steps to prevent a dental emergency. They are,

  1. Brush two times a day.

  2. Floss every day.

  3. Visit your dentist for a general check-up and cleaning every six months.

  4. Complete recommended dental treatments on time.

  5. Avoid using your teeth to open cans and bottles.

  6. Eat a balanced diet.

  7. Do not chew on hard foods or items.

  8. Wear a mouthguard while playing contact sports.


In order to avoid complications and unwanted dental emergencies, do not hesitate to call your dentist at the earliest. It is better to be safe by reaching the dentist at the early stages of any disease, and your dentist will also prefer to see you with a smile full of healthy teeth.

Last reviewed at:
23 Jun 2021  -  4 min read




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