Handling a Dental Emergency


You may be under a great deal of stress in the moments after a tooth injury. Preparation can turn a painful and frightening dilemma into a manageable situation. Your dentist should also be available to provide advice and treatment. My Family Dentistry is happy to provide help for our patients when they need it most.

Here’s how we recommend our patients prepare for emergencies:

  • Keep your dentist’s contact info handy. Enter our phone number in every family member’s cell phone and write it down in your list of emergency numbers. Our active patients can call My Family Dentistry after-hours and get connected to the doctor on call.
  • Have your insurance information available. Keep your policy number and the provider’s contact info on hand to help expedite treatment.
  • Know where your dental records are. Current records can help the dentist provide better, faster treatment, especially if you have had special dental work in the past. Ask your dentist’s office for a copy of each family member’s records.
  • Carry dental first aid supplies. This includes floss, gauze, tweezers, and pain relievers (pills, not topical ointments which can irritate gums).
  • Provide the dentist’s contact info to schools and sports teams. From recess to ballet, a dental emergency can—and often does—happen just about anywhere. Share your dentist’s info with coaches and schools.

What to Do in a Dental Emergency

When an injury or severe pain occurs, there are several steps you can take right away: assess the damage, clean the tooth and mouth, and contact your dentist’s office as necessary. My Family Dentistry can recommend ways to get immediate pain relief and even schedule a visit immediately or as soon as possible.

Know what to do when these common dental emergencies happen:

  • Severe toothache: Rinse with a warm saltwater solution and floss or brush if possible. Call your dentist for information, because you may have a hairline fracture or other serious problem that could get worse.
  • Lost tooth: If you have the tooth, rinse it in warm water and put it in a container with milk or clean water. Try to set the tooth in place and hold it there with gauze—this may help save the tooth. And call the doctor for emergency help!
  • Chipped tooth: Rinse the mouth gently and avoid eating any solid foods. Take pain relief medication for a cracked, broken, or chipped tooth as needed and see the dentist as soon as possible.
  • Tooth abscess: This is an infection inside the tooth, and it feels like a throbbing, painful toothache. Clean the mouth and apply a cold compress to the face to reduce swelling and pain. Call the dentist to find out if you need emergency dental work or if you should go to a hospital.

At My Family Dentistry, we understand that a dental emergency can happen day or night. Visit our office for routine cleanings so you always have current dental records on hand—and keep our phone number in your pocket! We’ll be there to help when you need us.

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