What is a Dental Emergency?

Injuries on the mouth may include the lips, cheeks or gums that are cut and teeth that are knocked out, loosened or forced out of position. Oral injuries are usually painful and must be treated by a dentist as soon as possible.

Common Dental Emergencies and How to Respond to Them

Bitten or cut lip, tongue or cheek

Apply ice on the injured area to relieve swelling. If the area is bleeding, apply gentle but firm pressure using a cloth or a gauze. If the bleeding can’t be stopped or controlled by pressure application, call the doctor or visit the nearest hospital emergency room.


Clean the affected tooth. Wash the mouth thoroughly with warm water and with the use of dental floss, remove any food residue that may be impacted. If the pain persists, go to your child’s pediatric dentist. Never give aspirin or apply heat on the aching gum or tooth. If there is swelling, apply cold compress and contact your dentist immediately.

Knocked out baby tooth

Contact your child’s dentist. Unlike the permanent tooth, the primary tooth must not be replanted because of the possible damage to the developing adult tooth. Most of the time, no treatment is needed.

Knocked out adult tooth

If possible, look for the tooth. Carefully handle it and never touch the root. You can rinse the tooth using water ONLY. Never clean it with soap or mouthwash, handle or scrub the tooth unnecessarily. Check the tooth for any breaks or fractures. If it is intact, try to reinsert it back in the socket and let the patient keep the tooth in place by biting on a clean cloth or gauze. In case you can’t reinsert it, place the tooth in a cup containing milk or the patient’s saliva and not water. Transport it to your dentist immediately. Time is very critical in saving the tooth.

Fractured or chipped baby tooth

See your pediatric dentist immediately.

Fracture or chipped permanent tooth

Again, time is very critical to prevent infection or the need to have extensive dental treatment. Contact your dentist as soon as possible. Rinse the mouth with water. Apply cold treatment if there is swelling. If you can find the chipped tooth, bring it with you to the dentist.

What can I do to be prepared for dental emergencies?

To be prepared for any dental emergencies, prepare this emergency dental care kit:

·         Handkerchief

·         Small container with lid

·         Gauze

·         Ibuprofen (No to aspirin. It is an anticoagulant that may cause more bleeding in a dental emergency).

·         Pediatric dentist’s home and office phone numbers