Health

Dental Emergency Action Plan

Your teeth and gums are one of the most essential and sensitive parts of your body. Experiencing pain in your mouth can indicate serious trouble and could be a cause to call an emergency dentist. But what is a dental emergency?

What is a dental emergency?

A dental emergency includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • bleeding of the gums that does not stop
  • an injured jaw such as from being struck in the face
  • painful swelling of the gums
  • a toothache that is persistently painful
  • a permanent tooth being loose or knocked outstanding

All of these need immediate medical attention by a dental professional. Other dental issues such as a dull toothache, a broken or cracked tooth (as long as it’s not painful), or food lodged between the teeth can be managed for a while before seeing a dentist.

Teeth and Growth Chart

What to do in case of a dental emergency?

If you have a dental emergency, the obvious place to go is to your local dentist. Ideally, this should be someone with whom you have a standing relationship who is familiar with your medical history. But, dental emergencies often occur late at night or on the weekend when your dentist is not open. In such cases, you should go to the emergency room especially if you are experiencing bleeding or severe pain.

While it is not recommended, if you think you can handle your emergency until a more convenient time to visit the dentist, there are some home remedies that you can use to make your condition bearable.

  • You can kill bacteria and reduce irritation by swishing your mouth out with hydrogen peroxide.
  • You can minimize swelling, bleeding, and irritation with a cold compress.
  • If one particular tooth is in pain, a simple solution may help—flossing! Yes, something may be stuck between your tooth and your gums. Flossing can get it out and relieve the pain.
  • You can also relieve irritation and numb mouth pain by dissolving a teaspoon of salt in boiling water, letting it cool, and then swishing your mouth out with it.

How to prevent dental emergencies

Of course, the best way to deal with dental emergencies is to take steps to prevent them. Good mouth care can stop problems before they start. Follow these tips to lessen mouth pain:

  • Floss and brush faithfully every day and night. Doing this before bed is especially important because it prevents decaying food matter from resting on your gums all night.
  • Lay off of foods that are especially tough, chewy, or sweet. Foods such as hard candy, pretzels, beef jerky, and chewing gum have a tendency to stick to your teeth even after brushing and flossing.
  • Obey your dentist. Don’t wait to follow through on treatments he or she has prescribed. They are trained to see mouth problems before they start.
  • Cease bad habits such as chewing on pen caps or biting your nails. These habits wear down your teeth unnecessarily and transfer germs from other surfaces to your mouth.

Mouth pain is never fun. Following the guidelines above can reduce or prevent dental emergencies and mouth problems.

Reader Question

Have you ever experienced severe dental pain? If so, what were the next steps you took to find relief?


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Dental emergency steps


About the author:

Jenny is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about finance, health, and wellness. She also enjoys reading and long walks on the beach. Thanks so much for sharing your insight on self-care.

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  • Tomiko Harvey

    My hope is to prevent dental emergencies so we go to the dentist twice a year for cleanings and I make sure we floss regularly because there is nothing worse than a toothache

  • To date we’ve not had any dental emergencies and I’m so thankful These are great preventative tips.

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