Accidents happen! Being prepared and knowing what to do when one occurs could make the difference between saving and losing a tooth.
In case of a dental emergency, you can reach us after hours and over weekends.
Please call either of our office locations and listen to the full voicemail in order to get in touch with a doctor after hours:
VA | 703-712-8071, DC | 202-331-3474
Clean the area around the sore tooth thoroughly by rinsing with warm salt water. Gently use dental floss or a waterpik to dislodge trapped food or debris from gum.
DO NOT place aspirin on aching tooth or gum tissues, as this could induce a chemical burn.
If pain is severe, persistent, and if you are experiencing significant temperature sensitivity and/or pain while chewing, you may take acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) or any pain reliever that you have no adverse reaction or allergy to , in order to help alleviate symptoms temporarily
Knocked Out Teeth
Locate the tooth and handle it by the top (crown). Do not handle it by the roots. The tooth may be rinsed, but do not scrub it. Try reinserting the tooth back into its socket without touching the root * . If this is not possible, keep it moist by placing it between your cheek and gums, keeping it in milk, or placing it in a tooth preservation product with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. See a dentist immediately! Time is a very critical factor in saving the tooth.
* (Please note that if the tooth that is knocked out is a baby tooth, do not put it back into the socket as it can damage the permanent tooth underneath!)
Cracked or Broken Tooth
Gently rinse dirt or debris from injured area with warm water. Place a cold compress over the area of the injury to help contain any swelling. If the tooth is fractured due to ``trauma,`` find and save any broken tooth fragments and keep them in water or milk. Immediate dental attention is necessary.
Cut Or Bitten Tongue, Lip, Or Cheek
If you bite your cheek, lip, or tongue, or suffer an injury cutting any of these, clean the area gently with water and apply a cold compress. If there is bleeding, apply firm but gentle pressure with a clean gauze or cloth. If bleeding does not stop after 15 minutes or it cannot be controlled by simple pressure, go to a hospital emergency room.
Swollen Face or Broken Jaw
DO NOT place Aspirin on the gum or on the aching tooth.
If the face is swollen, apply a cold compress. Take acetaminophen for pain and see a dentist as soon as possible.
If you suspect your jaw is broken, apply cold compresses to control the swelling. Try to keep your jaw immobilized. Go to your dentist or a hospital emergency department
Object Stuck in Mouth
For objects stuck in the mouth, try to gently remove with floss but do not try to remove it with a sharp or pointed instrument. The item might be painful or cause an infection, so see
your dentist if you cannot remove it.
Here are some simple precautions you can take to avoid accident and injury to the teeth:
- Wear a mouthguard when participating in sports or recreational activities.
- Avoid chewing ice, popcorn kernels and hard candy, all of which can crack a tooth.
- Use scissors, NEVER your teeth, to cut things.