Dental Emergency? What to Do Before You See the Dentist

Nov 14 • 3 minute read

Dental emergencies can happen when you least expect them, causing pain and anxiety. Knowing what steps to take before you see the dentist can make a significant difference in alleviating discomfort and ensuring the best possible outcome. In this guide, we'll walk you through common dental emergencies and the crucial actions to take in each situation.

Knocked-Out Tooth

A knocked-out tooth is a time-sensitive emergency. If you act quickly, there's a chance the dentist can save the tooth. Here's what to do:

  1. Handle with Care: Pick up the tooth by the crown (the top part), not the root. Avoid touching the root to prevent damage.
  2. Rinse Gently: If the tooth is dirty, rinse it briefly with milk or a saline solution. Don't scrub or use soap or chemicals.
  3. Reposition the Tooth: If possible, try to place the tooth back into its socket gently. If this isn't feasible, keep it moist. You can tuck it inside your cheek, put it in a cup of milk, or use a tooth preservation kit available at drugstores.
  4. Seek Immediate Care: Contact your dentist or an emergency dental clinic right away. Time is crucial for saving a knocked-out tooth.

Severe Toothache

A severe toothache can be incredibly painful. While you're waiting to see the dentist, you can try these steps:


  1. Floss Carefully: Sometimes, trapped food or debris can cause tooth pain. Gently floss between your teeth to ensure nothing is stuck.
  2. Rinse: Rinse your mouth with warm saltwater to help reduce inflammation and clean the area.
  3. Over-the-Counter Pain Relief: You can take over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen (follow the label instructions) to manage pain.
  4. Don't Apply Aspirin: Avoid putting aspirin directly on the tooth or gum, as it can lead to tissue damage.
  5. Contact the Dentist: Schedule an appointment with your dentist to diagnose and treat the underlying cause of the pain.

Broken or Chipped Tooth

A broken or chipped tooth can be uncomfortable and may expose sensitive inner layers. Here's what to do:


  1. Collect Any Pieces: If possible, gather any broken tooth fragments.
  2. Rinse Your Mouth: Gently rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area.
  3. Apply Gauze: If there's bleeding, use a piece of gauze to apply gentle pressure until it stops.
  4. Temporary Filling: You can find temporary dental filling material at a drugstore. It can help protect the tooth until you see the dentist.
  5. Contact Your Dentist: Call your dentist to schedule an appointment for repair.

Lost Crown or Filling

A lost crown or filling can expose the tooth's vulnerable inner layers. Here's what to do:


  1. Save the Restoration: If you can, keep the lost crown or filling. Your dentist may be able to reattach it.
  2. Protect the Tooth: You can apply dental cement (available at drugstores) to cover the exposed area temporarily.
  3. Contact the Dentist: Call your dentist to arrange a visit for replacement or repair.

Soft Tissue Injury

Injuries to the gums, lips, cheeks, or tongue can be painful and may require immediate attention:


  1. Clean the Area: Gently clean the injured area with warm water.
  2. Pressure for Bleeding: Apply a clean cloth or gauze with gentle pressure if there's bleeding.
  3. Contact Your Dentist: Reach out to your dentist or an emergency clinic for advice or to schedule an appointment.


 Dental emergencies can be stressful, but knowing how to react promptly and effectively can make a significant difference in preserving your oral health. Always keep your dentist's contact information handy and follow these steps in case of a dental emergency. Remember that preventive dental care, including regular check-ups and cleanings, is essential to minimize the risk of emergencies and maintain optimal oral health.

Maintaining Your Smile with Dr. Anthony P. Parrella

Facing a dental emergency can be stressful, but knowing how to respond can make all the difference in preserving your oral health. Remember, immediate action and contacting your dentist are crucial steps in managing dental emergencies effectively.

Dr. Anthony P. Parrella and his experienced team are here to assist you in these critical moments. If you ever encounter a dental emergency or need any dental care, don't hesitate to reach out to Dr. Parrella at (617) 625-3022 or visit his website to schedule an appointment.

We hope this guide has empowered you with the knowledge to handle dental emergencies confidently. Your oral health is a valuable part of your overall well-being, and Dr. Parrella is dedicated to ensuring you receive the best care possible.

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