What to do in a Dental Emergency

December 6, 2016

You’re chatting with other parents while the kids are having fun in the bouncy castle. All of a sudden, everyone is looking at you and you can hear the unmistakable sound of your son sobbing in pain. He’s hit his front teeth on another girl’s head and one of his beautiful, brand new permanent teeth has been knocked out.

While you try to comfort your wet-faced, bloody son, one of the parents tells you to put the tooth in a glass of cow’s milk. Cow’s milk? That seems like it has to be an old wives tale. (It’s not.) One thing you do know is that you need to get him to an emergency dentist as soon as possible.

Dental emergencies happen. Knowing what to do when one occurs can mean the difference between your son keeping and losing his tooth. (And we all know that those adorable, toothless grins don’t melt hearts forever).

A Few Common Dental Emergencies and How to Handle Them

It’s good to have a dentist on speed dial. Pain and broken teeth can happen at any time and can bring even the most reluctant people to the dentist.

Knocked out tooth

Kids rough house, teenagers play sports, and adults take a “YOLO” approach to learning how to skateboard. When a tooth gets knocked out, pick it up by the crown (not the root), gently rinse with water, and try to gently push it back into the socket. If this isn’t possible, place it in a glass of milk and call your dentist.


A toothache can bring you to your knees. It can be caused by tooth decay, infection, tooth eruption, an abnormal bite, or trauma to the tooth. Schedule an appointment with your dentist and rinse with warm salt water, take an ibuprofen or acetaminophen, apply an over-the-counter antiseptic and a cold compress to the outside cheek to relieve pain or swelling.

Crown or filling falling out

If your crown falls out, wipe the crown clean, wrap it in a clean cloth, , and schedule an appointment with your dentist.

Chipped or fractured tooth

Chipped and fractured teeth don’t always hurt, but the nerves can get damaged if you wait to get care. Even if it’s not bothering you, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with your dentist.

Concussed tooth

When your little guy hits his tooth on a girl’s head and it doesn’t fall out, he might be left with a discolored tooth. Other than the unfortunate year-of-the-dark-tooth school photo, it’s not a serious dental emergency, but it’s still worth getting checked out.

How To Avoid Dental Emergencies:

  • Don’t use your teeth to open things or chew very hard foods (like lollipops)
  • Wear a mouth guard when participating in sports
  • Schedule regular cleanings and checkups
  • Brush and floss daily

If you find yourself or a family member in need of an emergency dentist, contact a PERFECT TEETH dental office near you for the first available appointment.