Dental Emergency: What Is It and How Do You Handle It?

Have you ever experienced sudden tooth pain, a broken tooth, or bleeding gums? These dental issues can be unsettling, especially outside of regular business hours. Understanding what constitutes a dental emergency and how to respond appropriately is crucial. 

Let’s determine what dental emergencies are and how to handle them.

What Qualifies as a Dental Emergency?

Here are some examples of dental emergencies:

Broken Tooth

If you break a tooth, seeing a dentist as soon as possible is essential. Infection or additional damage to the tooth increases with delay. Your dentist will evaluate the tooth and recommend the best action, which may include a filling, crown, extraction, or even using tooth retainers to help maintain the position of surrounding teeth while the broken tooth is being treated.

Sudden Tooth Pain

If you experience sudden tooth pain, it could be a sign of a dental emergency. An infection or a cracked tooth may cause the pain. A root canal or extraction may be recommended by your dentist after an examination reveals the source of your discomfort.

Knocked-Out Tooth

If a tooth is knocked out, it’s essential to act quickly. Rinse the teeth carefully by picking them up by the crown (the portion that sticks out of your mouth). Avoid getting too close to the tooth’s root. Re-implant the tooth and use a clean towel to keep it in place. If you cannot re-implant the tooth, bring it to the dentist in a jar of milk or saliva as soon as possible.

Bleeding Gums

If your gums bleed quickly, you may have periodontal disease or another dental problem. Seeing a dentist is essential if the bleeding is severe or doesn’t stop after a few minutes. Your dentist will evaluate your gums and recommend appropriate treatment, such as a deep cleaning or gum surgery.

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What to Do in a Dental Emergency?

Having a plan in place for a dental emergency will help you keep your cool and behave rationally. In case of a dental emergency, follow these steps:

  • Stay Calm: First and foremost, try to remain calm. Dental emergencies can be scary, but panicking will worsen the situation. Relax and try to keep your cool.
  • Contact Your Dentist: If you experience a dental emergency during business hours, immediately contact a top dentist in your area. It’s possible to get an appointment the same day you call in case of a dental emergency. Many dentist offices provide patients with an after-hours contact number to use in case of dental emergencies.
  • Handle a Knocked-Out Tooth: Acting quickly is essential if a tooth is knocked out. As mentioned, pick up the tooth by the crown and gently rinse it with water. Don’t touch the root of the tooth. Return the tooth to its socket and secure it with a fresh piece of cloth if feasible. Put the tooth in a jar with saliva or milk and take it to the dentist if you cannot reinsert it.
  • Control Bleeding: If you experience bleeding in the mouth, try to control it by applying pressure to the affected part with a clean cloth or gauze. If the bleeding is severe or doesn’t stop after a few minutes, seek immediate medical attention.
  • Manage Pain: Take an over-the-counter pain treatment such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen if you suddenly get tooth discomfort. Applying a cold compress to affected areas will lessen discomfort and swelling.


Remember, dental emergencies can happen to anyone at any time. Determining what qualifies as a dental emergency and how to handle it properly is essential. And if you need a local Invisalign dentist or dental clinic, don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations or use online directories to find a qualified provider. Your dental health is important, so take care of it, and don’t let dental emergencies catch you off guard.