What To Do For Minor Or Major Dental Emergencies

Sep 9, 2016

Dental emergencies can be scary. They’re often painful and can involve blood, so it’s hard to know how to act. Here are two quick points:

– If you are bleeding and cannot stop it, go to the emergency room immediately.
– Call either our Bridgeport/Trumbull dental office at 203-372-1220 or our Shelton dental office at 203-378-9737. We are usually able to see emergency patients the same day you call. If it’s outside our business hours, you’ll get an after-hours number to call instead.

What else can you do? That depends on what kind of dental emergency you are facing. Here are some common minor and major dental emergencies and what you should do.

Handling Minor Dental Emergencies

  • Finding blood when you spit out your toothpaste after brushing. If you see blood after you brush and floss, this is likely a sign of gum disease. Gum disease can be series but is usually not an emergency. Call our Bridgeport/Trumbull, CT dental office or our Shelton, CT dental office for an appointment so we can evaluate your gum disease.
  • Biting hard on your lip or tongue. If you had an accident or injury and bit your lip or tongue hard, you are probably bleeding a little. Apply direct pressure with a sterile cloth to stop the bleeding. Use pain relievers or cold packs to lessen the swelling and pain.
  • Getting a hard bit of food stuck between your teeth. If you get something stuck between your teeth, it’s probably painful. Use some dental floss to carefully try and get whatever it stuck there to fall out. A toothpick can also be used but be careful not to poke at your gums. Swishing water vigorously in your mouth can help as well.
  • Getting a small cut to your gums, cheek, or tongue. The main concern here it to stop the bleeding. As with biting your lip, use a sterile cloth to apply pressure on the cut. This should help the cut to close up. If the bleeding does not stop, visit a nearby emergency room for additional help.

Handling Major Dental Emergencies

  • Chipping a tooth: If you had something strong enough to chip the enamel on your teeth, it’s probably strong enough to damage the inside of your teeth as well. Call us immediately and let us know how it happened. Even if you are in no pain, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • Realizing a tooth is loose. When you know a tooth is loose, you will probably start playing with it a bit with your tongue. That’s natural but should not be done. Call either of our Connecticut dental offices and leave the tooth alone as much as you can. If you are in any pain, use cold packs or OTC pain relievers that do not contain aspirin.
  • Having a tooth knocked out. Call us immediately to see how soon you can get an emergency appointment. Grab the tooth by the head and gently rinse it in water. If it will stay in the socket, leave it there. If not, place it in a small container and cover with milk or water. Use sterile gauze to stop any bleeding.
  • Breaking a piece off a tooth. Call us immediately. Gather any pieces and rinse them off gently. If there is bleeding, use a sterile gauze to stop it. Take OTC pain relievers without aspirin if you are in pain.
  • Getting a large cut to your gums, cheek, or tongue. As with small cuts, try to stop the bleeding. Use a sterile cloth or some gauze and put pressure on the cut. If the bleeding cannot be stopped, go to the emergency room first. If you get the bleeding to stop, call us so we can evaluate the situation.
  • Having severe pain in or around a tooth. Sometimes, a bit of food stuck between the tooth and gums can cause pain. Swish some water around your mouth and use dental floss to try and get rid of anything there. Otherwise, use OTC pain relievers and cold packs to manage the pain and call us as soon as possible.
  • Losing a dental filling. You can buy dental cement from most drugstores as a temporary filling. In a pinch, you can do the same with sugarless gum. Either way, call us immediately to get an emergency appointment. You do not need to bring in the old filling.
  • Having a dental crown come off a tooth. Use a thin amount of dental cement (available at most drug stores) to try and re-adhere the crown to your tooth. This won’t be a permanent solution, but it helps keep your tooth safe until you can call us for an emergency dental appointment.

You do not have to suffer through a dental emergency alone. Contact either of our two Connecticut offices — Bridgeport/Trumbull at 203-372-1220 or Shelton at 203-378-9737 — for an emergency dental appointment.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Consult a qualified dental professional to determine the best dental/orthodontic treatment for your needs.