What to Do in a Dental Emergency

guy in pain with a dental emergency


You bit down on to something that was too hard and cracked a tooth. Or maybe it’s a toothache. Perhaps you tripped over the dog and knocked out a tooth. All of these are considered dental emergencies, and your team at Sullivan Family Dental wants you to be prepared for these kinds of situations so you know what to do.

What Is a Dental Emergency?

Dental emergencies are generally split into two categories: non-urgent dental conditions and urgent dental care emergencies. A non-urgent dental condition, like a lost filling or crown, does not require urgent medical attention and can wait until you can visit Dr. Sullivan, but you should still call us at Sullivan Family Dental as soon as possible.

The following are some more examples of non-urgent dental emergencies:

  • A broken or cracked tooth (except when it is causing severe pain)
  • Broken or damaged retainer or night guard
  • Dull toothache
  • Food stuck between the teeth

Urgent dental care emergencies need to be handled right away or as soon as possible. You should call us as soon as you notice any of the following conditions:

  • Extremely severe toothache
  • A loose or knocked out permanent tooth
  • Painful swelling
  • Gum bleeding that won’t stop

How Should I Handle a Dental Emergency?

Although the time between when our office closes at 4 p.m. on a Thursday and 7:30 a.m. Monday morning feels entirely too short when you’re having a wonderful weekend, that exact same timeframe can feel infinite if your dealing with a dental emergency. We are generally taught what to do in some medical emergencies, but what should you do when dealing with a dental emergency?

Call us! The team at Sullivan Family Dental is the obvious answer. But what if it’s outside of office hours? A general rule of thumb for urgent dental care emergencies when the Sullivan Family Dental office is closed is that if you are in unbearable pain or your mouth is bleeding and will not stop, go to the emergency room.

How Can I Deal with Dental Emergency Until I See Dr. Sullivan?

If you are experiencing a non-urgent dental emergency, you may be in pain. Here are some basic steps you can take at home to manage your dental emergency until you come to the dental office:

  • Toothaches
    • Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in hot water and swish around your mouth to help relieve irritation and reduce swelling.
  • Knocked out permanent tooth
    • Keep your tooth if you can! Rinse it off with water and place it in a container with milk until you can come see us. If milk is not available, keep it in a cup with water and a pinch of salt.
  • Loose permanent tooth
    • A partially dislodged tooth can cause considerable pain or swelling. In these cases, you should apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth near the affected tooth. Take over-the-counter pain medication if necessary until you can visit the team at Sullivan Family Dental.
  • Objects stuck in teeth
    • Floss! If you have something caught in your teeth and it is causing you pain, floss gently and carefully to try to remove it. Don’t use something sharp like a pin to try to remove what is stuck in your teeth as this can damage your teeth and gums. Hopefully you can remove it with floss, but if you cannot, you should see us as soon as you can so we can handle it.
  • Lost filling or crown
    • If you are in pain after losing a crown or filling, you can ease the pain by placing a piece of sugarless gum over the affected area. You can also try over-the-counter dental cement to hold the crown temporarily in place until you can see the team at Sullivan Family Dental.

Any sort of problem with your teeth is never fun, but don’t panic! It’s not the end of the world. At Sullivan Family Dental we are prepared to handle any dental emergencies that you may throw at us. Now that you know how to handle some of the most common dental emergencies, you can feel more comfortable in your preparedness in the face of these situations.

Accidents happen, that’s why we call them accidents, but you can do the best to avoid dental emergencies by keeping up a healthy dental routine of brushing and flossing daily and visiting Sullivan Family Dental twice a year.

Have a question or want to make an appointment?