Family Wellness  02/11/2013 NAPA RSS Icon

Tips for Dealing with Dental Emergencies

By Ameritas

There are a number of simple precautions you can take to avoid accident and injury to your teeth.  One way to reduce the chances of damage to your teeth, lips, cheek and tongue is to wear a mouthguard when participating in sports or recreational activities that may pose a risk.  Avoid chewing ice, popcorn kernels and hard candy, all of which can crack a tooth.  Cut tape using scissors rather than your teeth.

Accidents do happen, and knowing what to do when one occurs can mean the difference between saving and losing a tooth.

Most dentists reserve time in their daily schedules for emergency patients.  Call your dentist and provide as much detail as possible about your condition.

Bitten Lip or Tongue

  • Clean the area gently with a cloth and apply a cold compress to reduce any swelling.  If the bleeding doesn’t stop, go to a hospital emergency room immediately.

Broken Tooth

  • Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area.  Use a cold compress on the area to keep any swelling down.  Call your dentist immediately.

Jaw Possibly Broken

  • Apply a cold compress to control swelling.  Go to your dentist or a hospital emergency room immediately.

Knocked Out Tooth

  • Hold the tooth by the crown and rinse off the root of the tooth in water if it’s dirty.  Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments.  If possible, gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket.  If that isn’t possible, put the tooth in a cup of milk and get to the dentist as quickly as possible.  Remember to take the tooth with you!

Objects Caught Between Teeth

  • Try to gently remove the object with dental floss; avoid cutting the gums.  Never use a sharp instrument to remove any object that is stuck between your teeth.  If you can’t dislodge the object using dental floss, contact your dentist.


  • Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it out.  Gently use dental floss or an interdental cleaner to ensure that there is no food or other debris caught between the teeth.  Never put aspirin or any other pain killer against the gums near the aching tooth because it may burn the gum tissue.  If the pain persists, contact your dentist.


  • Ameritas
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