Dental Emergencies

If you or someone you know has experienced a dental emergency in your life, then you understand just how painful and frightening they can be. Many people are often unsure what authorizes a dental emergency, exactly who should be called, and what can be done at home when a dental emergency occurs. If you’re wondering how to be best handle a dental emergency, follow along with these guidelines.

Is my dental emergency urgent?

Some oral emergencies need to be addressed with urgency, while others should wait to be treated. Understanding the difference between an urgent and non-urgent dental need is particularly important, especially if you experience an emergency at nighttime or over the weekend when some dental offices are closed.

Here are examples of urgent types of dental emergencies:

  • Painful Toothache
  • Painful Swelling
  • Injured Jaw
  • Knocked Out or Loose Permanent Tooth
  • Bleeding that Won’t Stop

These types of dental emergencies should be addressed right away. If you are experiencing any of the above problems, contact our dentist at Willow Springs Dental immediately.

In the case of an emergency, most dentists have a number that you can call if you experience urgent related symptoms outside of business hours. If you are not able to reach your dentist for any reason, you should go to the emergency room.

Here are examples of non-urgent dental related emergencies:

  • Dull toothache
  • Food lodged between teeth
  • Damaged or broken night guard or retainer
  • Cracked or broken tooth
  • Lost bridge, crown, filling

If you or someone you know is experiencing one of these non-urgent dental emergencies, it is still recommended that you contact and make an appointment at Willow Springs Dental as soon as possible. However, it is not generally imperative that you be seen immediately.

Who to Contact in a Dental Emergency

Your first go-to person when you experience a dental emergency is obviously your dentist. If your dentist is not set up to take emergency calls or is not available, it is best to visit an emergency room. As a rule of thumb, you should visit an emergency room if you or someone you know is experiencing unstoppable bleeding or is unbearable pain and your dentist office is not open.

If you are in exceptional oral pain, you should contact our dentist at Willow Springs Dental and explain the situation. In many cases, our dentists will want to see you as soon as possible. If a dentist can’t see you right away, don’t fret! Although your dental issue may feel urgent many dental emergencies can wait.

Dental Emergency Home Care

Depending on the type of dental emergency you have encountered, there may be things you can do at home to remedy the situation or ease your pain until you can see a dentist. When your body feels anxious, it triggers a set of responses that can cause your emergency to feel worse than it is. As you seek assistance, it is best to remain calm.

If you are trying to ease any discomfort or pain that has been caused by a dental emergency, here’s what you can do:

  • If you have had a tooth knocked out, place it in a glass of milk until you can reach your dentist.
  • Boil water with a teaspoon of sale. Use this solution to reduce swelling and relieve irritation.
  • If your pain surrounds a specific tooth, try flossing to remove any food that many have been dislodged there.
  • Swish Hydrogen Peroxide in your mouth to alleviate irritation and kill bacteria.
  • Use a cold compress to stop any bleeding, numb irritation, and reduce swelling.

What to Do if a Tooth is Loose or Knocked Out

Injuries to the mouth can include teeth that are fractured, loosened of forced out of position (extruded), or knocked out (avulsed). Additionally, cheeks, gums, and lip can also become cut.

If your tooth has been knocked loose or completely out here’s what you need to do:

  • Immediately contact our dentist at Willow Springs Dental to set an emergency appointment.
  • Always handle your tooth by the crown (above the gum) and not at the root (area of the tooth below the gumline). Touching your tooth below the root can damage the cells you’ll need to reattach the bone.
  • Gently rinse to remove dirt, never scrub a tooth that has fallen out.
  • If you can, place your clean tooth back into its socket to keep it as moist as possible. It is very important to prevent your tooth from drying out.
  • If you cannot place the tooth in the injured person’s mouth, wrap it is in a clean gauze and immerse it in milk.

How to Prevent Dental Emergencies

If you have experienced a dental emergency, you are likely wondering how you can prevent and better prepare in the face of another one. The very best way to protect yourself from unexpected dental emergencies is paying a visit to our dentist at Willow Springs Dental at least twice a year. Keeping up on your comprehensive hygiene visits will mean that you are much less likely to have something unexpected and painful arise in your mouth.

Other tips to prevent dental emergencies are:

  • Following your dentist’s recommendations. Oral issues tend to get worse overtime without the proper care. If you put off your root canal, crown, or filling you put yourself at a heightened risk for expected issues and pain down the line.
  • Brush your teeth and floss daily. A strong oral hygiene routine can do wonders in keeping your teeth strong and health.
  • Take a pass on chewy and tough foods. This includes things like hard and chewy candy, pretzels, jerky, and hard bread.
  • Ask our dentist if you have gum disease. If so, you may want to increase your bi-yearly hygiene visits.
  • Request an annual oral screening for cancer


Dental emergencies can be downright scary but knowing just what to do in the case of an emergency can make a huge difference. Remember to first stop and consider if your emergency is urgent. If it is, contact the appropriate professional to seek immediate help. If you’re not sure if your dental emergency is urgent, call our professionals at Willow Springs Dental for emergency assistance.