Dental Emergencies and What to Do

If you’re old enough, you remember that lame TV show, Emergency!, where they went around every week zapping hapless victims with the defibrillator for any conceivable injury. Heart attack. Zap! Indigestion? Zap! Hangnail? Zap!

At Gentle Dental we’re not prone to overreacting, but we do want our patients to take dental emergencies seriously because by not doing so, it can make the problem worse. And since dental emergencies never seem to happen during business hours (especially over the holidays!), let’s get into when a situation needs instant attention and constitutes a dental emergency and when it doesn’t.

Knocked out teeth

You were playing hockey on one of the frozen ponds around Edison (maybe over on Oak Tree Pond) and a puck deflected up off a stick. Now you have a knocked-out tooth. First, retrieve it off the ice and rinse if off with water. Don’t scrub it or remove any tissue fragments; they may help save your tooth. Try and put the tooth back in place, but if you can’t, put it in a glass of milk or water with a pinch of salt. The tooth has a better chance of being saved if you see us within the first few hours, so call us because we usually have a dentist on call, (732) 549-5660.

Chipped or broken teeth

Bite into Aunt Edna’s holiday toffee and find something other than toffee? If you’ve chipped or broken a tooth, try and save any pieces that you can. Just as with a knocked-out tooth, rinse your mouth out with warm water and rinse the tooth pieces. Gauze will stop the bleeding, and a cold compress held outside your mouth or cheek will help with pain. Again, call us immediately.

Loose fillings or lost crowns

Lose a filling or a crown? Call us right away. You can temporarily fill the gap with sugarless gum or dental cement. Don’t use sugared gum; it will cause pain. If a crown is off, find it and bring it with you. Reattach it is possible, and you can keep it in place with over-the-counter dental cement or denture adhesive. Clove oil (in the drug store or spice aisle in the grocery) can alleviate the pain and sensitivity in the area.


If you have a throbbing toothache, first rinse your mouth with warm water to make sure it’s clean, and floss to remove any food lodged between your teeth. There are brush-on over-the-counter toothache relievers, but don’t get the substance on your gums. That will burn the gum tissue. If the toothache lasts more than a day or two, call us. This isn’t an emergency.

Objects stuck between your teeth

Try and floss them out. If they don’t come out, call us. Don’t use sharp objects to try and dislodge them. This can damage the teeth and gums.

At Gentle Dental, we are serious about dental emergencies. Whether the problem happens during hours or after hours, call us at (732) 549-5660.

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