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How to deal with dental emergencies

Dental emergencies can be very stressful and worrying. Whether it’s a sudden toothache or a chipped tooth, knowing how to handle these situations can make a big difference in saving your tooth and preventing further damage. In this article, we will discuss common dental emergencies, how to handle them, and ways to prevent them from happening in the first place.

If you live in Okotoks and have a dental emergency, and you are in a lot of pain the best thing to do is to call your dentist right away. If you don’t have a regular dentist or he or she is not available please give us a call. Crystal Smiles dental clinic welcomes new patients and is here to help you.

Understanding Dental Emergencies

What are Dental Emergencies?

Dental emergencies are situations that require immediate attention and treatment from a dentist. These emergencies can range from severe toothaches to knocked-out teeth. It’s important to recognize the signs of dental emergencies so that you can take proper action as soon as possible.

Signs of Dental Emergency

Signs of dental emergencies include severe tooth pain, swollen gums, bleeding from the mouth, loose teeth, broken or chipped teeth, and knocked-out teeth. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to seek dental care right away to prevent further complications.

Common Dental Emergencies


A toothache can be extremely painful and may indicate an underlying dental problem, such as a cavity or an abscess. If you have a toothache, rinse your mouth with warm water and gently floss around the affected tooth to remove any food debris. If the pain persists, see your dentist as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Lost Filling

If you lose a dental filling, it’s important to see your dentist as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the tooth. In the meantime, you can apply a small piece of gauze or sugarless chewing gum to the affected tooth to temporarily fill the space and protect it.

Chipped or Broken Tooth

If you chip or break a tooth, rinse your mouth with warm water and apply a cold compress to the outside of the affected area to reduce swelling. It’s important to see your dentist immediately to assess the extent of the damage and determine the best course of treatment.

Knocked-Out Tooth

If you accidentally knock out a tooth, act quickly to increase the chances of saving it. Hold the tooth by the crown (the top part) and rinse it gently with water to remove any dirt. Try to reinsert the tooth back into its socket if possible. If not, place the tooth in a container of milk or saliva and see your dentist as soon as possible for emergency dental care.

Broken Braces and Wires

If you have braces and a wire or bracket breaks or becomes loose, do not try to fix it yourself. Instead, cover the sharp end with orthodontic wax or cotton balls and schedule an appointment with your orthodontist for repairs.


An abscess is a pocket of pus that forms in the gum or tooth root. It can cause severe pain and swelling. If you suspect you have an abscess, rinse your mouth with warm saltwater and see your dentist immediately for proper treatment.

Handling Dental Emergencies

What to Do in a Dental Emergency

If you experience a dental emergency, it’s important to remain calm and take the following steps:

  1. Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the affected area.
  2. If there is bleeding, apply gentle pressure using a piece of gauze or a clean cloth.
  3. If a tooth is knocked out, try to reinsert it back into its socket. If not possible, place it in milk or saliva.
  4. Apply a cold compress to the outside of the affected area to reduce swelling.
  5. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. Call your dentist and explain the situation. They will provide further guidance and schedule an emergency appointment if necessary.

When to Visit an Emergency Dental Clinic

Not all dental emergencies require immediate attention from a dentist. However, certain situations warrant a visit to an emergency dental clinic. These include:

  • Severe tooth pain that does not subside with over-the-counter pain medication
  • Severe bleeding from the mouth
  • A knocked-out tooth
  • A broken jaw
  • Facial swelling that extends to the eye area

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek emergency dental care as soon as possible to prevent further complications.

Preventing Dental Emergencies

Tips for Preventing Tooth and Mouth Injuries

Accidents happen, but there are steps you can take to minimize the risk of tooth and mouth injuries:

  • Wear a mouthguard when participating in sports or recreational activities.
  • Avoid biting down on hard objects, such as ice, popcorn kernels, or pen caps.
  • Use scissors or proper tools to open packages or remove tags instead of using your teeth.
  • Teach children about proper oral hygiene and safe dental habits.

Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene

Good oral hygiene is essential for preventing dental emergencies. Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, floss daily, and rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash. These habits will help keep your teeth and gums healthy and reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

Regular Dental Check-ups

Regular dental check-ups are crucial for maintaining good oral health and preventing dental emergencies. Visit your dentist every six months for a comprehensive examination and professional cleaning. Your dentist will be able to detect any potential issues early on and provide the necessary treatment.

In summary

Knowing how to handle dental emergencies can make a significant difference in saving your teeth and preventing further damage. By understanding the signs of dental emergencies, knowing what to do in a dental emergency, and taking preventive measures, you can maintain good oral health and minimize the risk of dental emergencies. Remember to see your dentist regularly for check-ups and seek immediate dental care when necessary. Your dentist is your partner in ensuring a healthy and beautiful smile.


Crystal Smiles is a family dental clinic in Okotoks and we welcome new patients.
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