Maida Smiles (W. London)

Tel: 020 3974 1777

04 Feb

Dental Emergencies and What to Do When One Occurs


A dental emergency can happen at any time. When it does, it’s important to know what to do. This depends on the emergency. For instance, it could involve the loss of a tooth or damage to the inside of your mouth.

This article examines some of the most common dental emergencies so that you will be prepared if any of them happen to you.

Loss of a Tooth

Teeth can become dislodged in many circumstances, such as falling or being injured while playing sports. If one of your teeth is knocked out, completing the following steps could help you save the tooth:

  • Contact your dentist to explain the problem and see if you can be seen urgently. You have the best chance of saving the tooth if you take no longer than 30-60 minutes to get help.
  • Only hold the dislodged tooth by the crown and not the root.
  • If possible, hold the tooth in its correct position in your mouth. If not, place it in milk or your saliva in a clean container.
  • Rinse your mouth using warm water.
  • Create a cold compress and hold it on your face where the injury is.

Toothache causing distress

A minor toothache may not be a serious problem. However, severe pain that does not go away is often a sign of a problem that needs to be dealt with urgently. If you have this type of toothache, you should seek emergency help from your dentist.

Tooth Abscess

A tooth abscess is a pocket of pus that forms by the tooth’s root. This pus can leak out into your mouth and produce a nasty taste. Aside from the taste, other signs of an abscess include throbbing pain, fever, and swelling.

If the problem is not treated as an emergency, the infection can spread and cause more serious problems. If you have a tooth abscess, seek emergency dental care immediately. In the meantime, rinse your mouth with a mild salt water solution to help deal with the pain.

Objects stuck between teeth

It’s possible to get food or other small objects stuck between your teeth. If this happens, gently remove the item using dental floss. Never use sharp objects to try to poke the object out, as this can damage your mouth. If the object remains lodged, seek help from a dentist as soon as possible.

Damage to the soft tissue of the mouth

It’s not just your teeth that can be damaged in a dental emergency. You can also suffer an injury to the soft tissues of your mouth. If you damage your gums, lips or the inside of your cheek, there are actions you can take to stem the bleeding:

  • Rinse your mouth with a mild solution of salt water.
  • Apply pressure to the affected area using a clean, damp gauze or a fresh, damp tea bag. Continue applying pressure for 15 minutes or until the bleeding stops.
  • Hold a cold compress to the outside of your mouth to help relieve any pain and swelling.

If the bleeding does not stop, you should see a dentist urgently or visit the A&E department at your local hospital. We are probably just a short walk away if you live in St John’s Wood or Maida Vale.

These are all dental emergencies that you could face. You must take the right action if any of these problems happen to you. Seek emergency dental help, or if an urgent appointment is not available, call 111 for medical advice.