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Dental emergencies

A dental emergency is usually caused by a blow to the teeth, a bad fall or an accident. It can also occur when someone has neglected to seek treatment for a severely decayed tooth, which ends up breaking.

Dental emergencies most commonly occur in children between the ages of two and ten, but may sometimes involve teenagers and adults.

Here is how you can relieve the pain and lessen the severity of a dental injury before you get to a dentist.


Knocked-out tooth
  • Locate the tooth.
  • If the tooth is dirty, rinse it under running water. Do not scrub.
  • Gently put the tooth back in its socket and apply ice to the affected area.
  • If it impossible to re-insert the tooth in its socket, put the tooth in a glass of cold water or milk, or keep it in the mouth.
  • See a dentist as soon as possible.
Broken tooth
  • Gently clean the affected area with lukewarm water.
  • Apply an ice pack to the affected area.
  • See a dentist as soon as possible.
Bitten tongue or lip
  • Using a clean cloth, apply direct pressure to the wound to stop the bleeding.
  • If there is swelling, apply cold compresses to the wound.
  • If bleeding persists, contact a dentist or go to the CLSC.
Particle lodged between the teeth
  • Try to remove the particle with dental floss or interdental toothbrush. Do not use a pointed or sharp instrument.
  • If you cannot dislodge the particle, see a dentist.
Swelling or gum abscess
  • Rinse the mouth with lukewarm salt water four times a day.
  • Take an analgesic.
  • Apply lukewarm compresses to the face.
  • See a dentist as soon as possible or go to the CLSC.