If you want to avoid an unnecessary trip to the emergency room, it is crucial to understand which types of situations require immediate dental care, so that you can properly assess the situation if and when it arises. Oral injuries most often occur with little or no notice and you want to be prepared at all times. Some circumstances will call for immediate care, while others can wait until regular business hours.

For example, a typical type of emergency dental care involves chipped or broken teeth, usually resulting from a hard piece of food, sports injury or other accident. Although it could be urgent, oftentimes it’s okay to wait until the next day for this kind of thing – it will depend on how severe the injury is and where the tooth is located in the mouth. However, if the tooth has sustained a large crack or is missing altogether then you should seek immediate medical attention.

If you do have a knocked out tooth, see that you handle it as little as possible, and try to put it back in the socket while being careful not to bite down. Make absolutely sure that you don’t inadvertently swallow the tooth!

Sometimes you may be dealing with issues a little more complicated than a loose or chipped tooth. Severe pain from an abscess for instance is probably something you will want to handle right away. If you find yourself in that kind of a situation then please do not hesitate to call Dr. Jason Harvey. Depending on the severity of the injury, our office will be able to get you in for an appointment quickly, as we leave slots open for such emergency cases.

Related: The Costs of Hiding From Your Dentist and What a Good Visit to the Dentist Feels Like

The following is a list of potential dental emergencies and what to do in the event that they occur.

  • Toothache: First call your dentist. Explain your symptoms and ask to be seen as soon as possible. Then ease the pain. Take an over-the-counter pain medicine that works for you, but do not put the pills on your sore tooth. Hold an ice pack against your face at the spot of the sore tooth. Do not put a heating pad, a hot water bottle, or any other source of heat on your jaw. Heat will make things worse instead of better.
  • Chipped or broken tooth: Broken teeth can almost always be saved. Call your dentist and explain what happened. He or she will see you right away. If it’s a small break, your dentist may use a white filling to fix the tooth. If the break is serious, a root canal may be needed. Your tooth may also need a crown (also called a cap).
  • Knocked out tooth: If the knocked-out tooth is an adult (or permanent) tooth, your dentist may be able to put it back. You must act quickly. If the tooth is put back in place within 10 minutes, it has a fair chance of taking root again. After 2 hours, the chances are poor. If the tooth looks clean, put it back in its place (its socket). If this is not possible, or if there’s a chance that the tooth might be swallowed, put it in a container of cold milk.
  • Badly bitten lip or tongue: If there is bleeding, press down on the part of the mouth that is bleeding. Use a clean cloth to do this. If the lip is swollen, use an ice pack to keep the swelling down. If the bleeding does not stop, go to Emergency at a hospital right away.
  • Something stuck between teeth: First, try using dental floss, very gently and carefully, to remove the object. Never poke between your teeth with a pin or similar sharp, pointy object; it can cut your gums or scratch the tooth surface. If you can’t get the object out, see your dentist.
  • Lost filling: Put a piece of softened sugarless chewing gum in the spot where the filling was lost. This will protect the area for a short period of time. See a dentist as soon as possible.

Are you looking for a dentist? Well, new patients are always welcome at Dr. Jason Harvey’s office. We pledge to treat you with the same respect and care that we do for each of our valued clients.