Dental Emergencies 101: How to Handle Common Emergencies While You're Enroute to Our Office

If you’ve injured your tooth or something just doesn’t feel right, you need to visit the dentist. But, just because you’re not a dental professional doesn’t mean you can’t do anything until you see the dentist. 

At Esthetic Smiles, Dr. John Abajian wants to make sure you know what to do between the time you notice the problem and when you arrive at the office for treatment. No matter the dental emergency, there are steps you can take to minimize the issue.


If you experience a toothache, the first thing you should do is see if something is stuck between your teeth. Rinse the area with warm water and gently use dental floss to dislodge any food stuck between your teeth. If you can’t dislodge the object, or if nothing between your teeth is causing your pain, call your dentist. 

In the meantime, you can treat any pain by using a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as aspirin or ibuprofen, or a numbing medication, such as Orajel. You can also use a cold compress or apply some clove oil. Experts also suggest rubbing ice between the thumb and forefinger of the hand that’s on the same side as your toothache for seven minutes. Researchers believe the ice can help prevent pain signals from being sent to your brain

Broken or chipped tooth

If you break or chip your tooth, immediately ask someone to look for the pieces. Rinse your mouth with warm water and rinse the broken pieces as well. Hold gauze to the injured area for about 10 minutes to stop any bleeding. Use a cold compress on the outside of your mouth in order to minimize swelling. And call your dentist as soon as possible.

Partially extruded tooth

If your tooth gets hit and is partially knocked out of your mouth, you will need to see your dentist as soon as you can. Use a cold compress to minimize swelling and take a NSAID to treat the pain. You’ll need to be extremely careful when eating or drinking anything.

Fully dislodged tooth

If one of your teeth is knocked out, have someone retrieve it for you. Tell them to hold it carefully by the crown, which is the part you can normally see when you open your mouth. Have them rinse the tooth, but tell them not to scrub the tooth or remove anything from it.


After the tooth is cleaned, try to put it back in place. This should be done very carefully, and the tooth should not be forced back in. If you can’t reinsert your tooth, put it in a container of milk or in a product made for this situation, such as Save-a-Tooth™. Go to your dentist as soon as you can. If you can get in within an hour, you might be able to save your tooth. 

Losing a filling or crown

If you lose a filling, stick a wad of sugarless gum in the hole of your tooth. If you lose a crown, use a cotton swab to dab clove oil on the area that’s causing pain, and try to put the crown back on with dental cement. Never use glue. And make sure to call your dentist as soon as possible.

Broken braces or loose bands

If you notice a wire has broken on your braces, use an eraser to gently nudge the wire so that it won’t cut you. You may also need to cover the wire with gauze. Don’t cut the wire. Call your dentist and make an appointment. If you notice one of your bands is getting loose, take it off if you can, and call your dentist.

As you can see, there are many ways you can temporarily treat a dental emergency. But make sure you get treatment as soon as possible. If you have a dental emergency, call our Oxnard or Agoura Hills, CA office immediately to see Dr. Abajian. In non-emergency cases, feel free to request an appointment online. 

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