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Simple Ways to Effectively Respond to a Dental Emergency

November 15, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — drokeefe @ 2:38 am
young man holding jaw in pain

Whether it’s a dislodged tooth or a painful toothache, a dental emergency is no fun. Unfortunately, it’s almost inevitable that one will occur in your lifetime. When it happens, how should you respond? Is it always necessary to report to your local emergency room for immediate care? These are important details to work out now, so that if you find yourself dealing with any form of dental trauma, you can effectively respond. A dentist in Memorial Houston weighs in to provide some expert tips.

What’s Considered a Dental Emergency?

Before you can learn how to handle a dental emergency, you first need to know how to recognize that you’re having one. The following is a list of the most common forms of dental trauma, along with instructions on how to properly respond:


The usual cause of a toothache is acute bacteria growth that has reached the sensitive inner parts of the tooth where the pulp and canals are found. As a result, sharp pains can radiate throughout the tooth and the jaw.

In the event of a toothache, it can be helpful to floss around the pain site to make sure there are no objects or food lodged between the teeth. To lessen any discomfort, you can also take ibuprofen, while applying ice to the outside of your jaw will help to reduce any swelling.

Knocked-Out Tooth

If a tooth is dislodged, the first step is to grab it by the crown (the wider portion) and rinse it under cool water. You can then attempt to carefully place the tooth where it belongs. If you’re unsuccessful, you can temporarily store it in a cup of milk or water, which will help to keep the roots alive.

It should be remembered that this is a time-sensitive matter that requires immediate attention if you’d like to save the tooth.

Loose Tooth

A fall or sudden blow to the face can result in a loose tooth. If this happens, you can apply gentle pressure to the area to try to push the tooth back into its natural position. Until you can visit an emergency dentist, you should avoid chewing on that side of your mouth.

Cracked or Broken Tooth

If a crack or break in a tooth is deep enough, it can cause damage to the interior or pulp chamber. This can leave the nerve exposed, which can trigger intense pain sensations. Until you can be seen by an emergency dentist, you can rinse your mouth with water, apply a cold compress and take an over-the-counter pain reliever.

These Two Steps Should Always be Taken

No matter what type of dental emergency you may have, here’s what you should always do:

  • Remain calm – Panicking and making unnecessary mistakes can possibly extend your recovery time. Instead, take a deep breath and assess the situation so you can decide what to do.
  • Contact an emergency dentist – Reach out to your local emergency dentist so you can schedule a visit to receive the expert treatment you need.

When You Should Visit the Emergency Room

While most forms of dental trauma don’t require a hospital visit, all dental emergencies aren’t created equal. If you have profuse oral bleeding that lasts for more than 10 minutes, then you should head to the emergency room.

Another situation that requires a trip to the hospital is a possibly broken jaw. In such a situation, you should attempt to keep your jaw immobile until you can be examined.

One of a dentist’s primary goals is to help patients avoid dental emergencies, but if you have one, it’s comforting to know that there is help available for you.

About the Author

Since graduating from the University of Texas Dental Branch in the Texas Medical Center and entering the dental field, Dr. Terrence O’Keefe has provided comprehensive and compassionate care. He helps patients recover from dental emergencies at his private practice, and he can be reached for more information through his website.

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