What Should I Do If I Have A Dental Emergency?

If you've experienced dental trauma or have severe pain, bleeding, or swelling, this is considered a dental emergency requiring immediate care. A dental emergency also includes excessive bleeding due to cuts or lacerations to the mouth or gums, or a dislodged or fractured tooth. If you believe you have a dental emergency, it's important to seek immediate care from a dentist or other medical professional.

What Should I Do Before I See My Dentist or Visit the ER?

A Chipped, Cracked or Broken Tooth

Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area and apply a cold compress to the side of your face. If you experience swelling, immediately contact a dentist. If you have a broken tooth, wrap the tooth in a damp washcloth or gauze and bring it with you to the dentist.

A Loosened or Knocked-Out Tooth

Immediately call your dentist if a tooth becomes loose or is knocked out due to a traumatic injury.

You may be able to save a tooth that has been knocked out by:

  • Using a clean washcloth to gently re-insert the tooth back into the socket. Do not touch tooth roots. Depending on how long the tooth has been removed, it may reattach to the underlying bone.
  • If the tooth is dirty, put it in a cup of milk or saliva to keep it moist and take it to the dentist.

A Broken or Dislocated Jaw

If you suspect a broken jaw, apply a cold compress and immediately go to the emergency room.

An Object Stuck in the Teeth or Mouth

Use dental floss to gently remove the object if possible. Immediately see your dentist.

Excessive or Frequent Bleeding of Gums

Apply firm pressure to the area with a damp washcloth. If the bleeding continues for an hour or more, visit urgent care or the emergency room. People with certain medical conditions, taking certain medications, or taking chemotherapy treatment should immediately go to urgent care or the ER.

When Should I See My Dentist for a Dental Emergency?

The following conditions can be treated by an emergency dentist:

  • Your mouth or gums are swollen and painful
  • You have severe tooth pain
  • A tooth is knocked loose or knocked out
  • Your gums are bleeding and won't stop 

Most dentists reserve time in their daily schedules for emergencies, so call your dentist and offer detailed information about your condition. Most dentists treat emergencies as soon as possible.

Keep in mind, a hospital emergency room cannot provide the same level of specialized dental care as a dentist or dental specialist.

When Should I Go To the Emergency Room for a Dental Emergency?

Seek immediate medical attention if you experience one of these life-threatening oral health conditions:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • An emergency medical situation related to a mouth or tooth problem
  • Swelling that spreads below your jawline, or to your nose or upper eyelid
  • One side of your face droops or you have slurred speech, as this may be a sign of a stroke
  • A dislocated or fractured jaw
  • A serious cut or laceration

If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, call 911 or go to the emergency room. Afterward, see your dentist for follow-up care.

Advantage Dental emergency dentists are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you are experiencing a dental emergency after business hours, call:

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This blog is designed to provide general information and discussions about health and dental-related subjects. No doctor/dentist to patient relationship is established by your use of this blog or website. We are not providing any treatment or diagnosis on this blog, and it is not intended to offer specific dental or medical advice to anyone. The information or other content provided in this blog is not a substitute for professional dental expertise or treatment. We will do our best to provide you with information that will help you make your own healthcare decisions, however no guarantees or warranties are made regarding any of the information contained within this blog. If you have questions about any of the information presented on this blog, you should consult with your dentist. The dentists at Advantage Dental+ are licensed to practice in the states of Alabama, Florida, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas and this blog is not intended to solicit patients from other states. External links may be provided on this blog as a service and convenience to our patients and other visitors to our blog. These external sites are created and maintained by other public and private organizations, and we do not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance or timeliness of any outside information.

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Gary Allen, DMD, Advantage Dental Group, P.C. | James Thommes, DDS, Advantage Dental Oral Health Center Of Massachusetts, P.C.; Advantage Dental Oral Health And Vision Center Of Alabama, P.C.; Advantage Dental Oral Health Center Of Oklahoma, P.C.; Advantage Dental Oral Health Center Of Texas, P.C. | Cory White, DMD, Advantage Dental Oral Health and Vision Center Of Alabama, P.C. | John Clasen, OD, Advantage Dental Oral Health and Vision Center Of Alabama, P.C. | Neil Williams, DMD, Advantage Dental Oral Health Center Of Florida, PA