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Preparing for Dental Emergencies

HomeDental TipsPreparing for Dental Emergencies

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It’s always best to be prepared for a dental emergency, even if you think it won’t happen to you. To help you prepare, we’ve created a list of common dental issues and what to do should these problems arise.

Chipped Teeth

The most important thing to do when you chip a tooth is save the pieces that chipped and rinse them off. Once you have the chipped pieces safe and secure, rinse out your mouth using warm water. Stop any bleeding you may have by applying gauze to the area until the bleeding stops. Apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth near the chipped tooth if you’re experiencing any swelling.


First, try flossing to dislodge any food stuck in your teeth, and rinse your mouth out with warm water. Decrease any swelling by applying a cold compress to your mouth where the toothache is occurring. Never put any painkiller against the gums near the tooth as it could burn your gum tissue.

Knocked-Out Tooth

As with a chipped piece of tooth, it’s important to keep the tooth that was knocked out. Hold the tooth by the crown (the part that’s exposed in the mouth). Do not scrub the tooth or remove any attached tissue fragments. If at all possible and without forcing it into place, try to put the tooth back into place, making sure it’s facing the right way. Make sure the tooth is clean before you do this, though, by very gently rinsing the root. If you can’t reinsert the tooth in your mouth, place the knocked-out tooth in a cup of water with a pinch of salt or a container of milk.

Lost Filling or Crown

If you lose a filling, stick a piece of sugarless gum into the cavity. If you’ve lost a crown, use a cotton swab to apply clove oil to the sensitive area and try to slip the crown back over the tooth. But don’t force it. Call us immediately so we can get your filling or crown back into place.

Extruded Tooth

An extruded tooth is a tooth that is partially dislodged from its socket and needs immediate professional attention. While you’re waiting to see the dentist, apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth near the affected area. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever if need be.


An abscess is an infection that occurs around the root of the tooth or in the space between the teeth and gums. It can damage tissue and surrounding teeth. If you discover a painful, pimple-like swelling on your gum, call us immediately. Until you can get in to see us, rinse your mouth with a solution of half a teaspoon of salt in 8oz of water several times a day.

No matter what dental emergency you’re dealing with, always call us immediately so we can make an appointment as soon as possible and advise you on the best course of action. And don’t forget to schedule your regular cleanings and check-ups, which is the best way to avoid any dental emergency.

Written by

John Cutting, DMD is an Annapolis dentist experienced in all aspects of dentistry. He provides complete care from general dentistry to cosmetic and restorative dentistry in his conveniently located and comfortable office, Edgewater Dental Arts.