Your Oral Health

Dental Emergencies


  • Do rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it out.
  • Do use dental floss to remove any food that may be trapped between the teeth.
  • Don’t place aspirin on the aching tooth or gum tissues.
  • Do see your dentist as soon as possible.

Knocked-Out Tooth

  • Do rinse the tooth in running water if it’s dirty.
  • Don’t scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments.
  • Do gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket, or place the tooth in the mouth between the upper back teeth and the cheek.
  • Do go straight to your dentist – if you get there in 30 minutes or less, there’s a good chance the tooth can be put back in its rightful place.

Broken Tooth

  • Do gently clean dirt from the injured area with warm water.
  • Do place cold compresses on the face in the area of the injured tooth to decrease swelling.
  • Do go to the dentist immediately.

Bitten Tongue or Lip

  • Do apply direct pressure to the bleeding area with a clean cloth.
  • Do apply cold compresses if swelling is present.
  • Do go to the emergency room if the bleeding doesn’t stop.

Braces and Retainer Problems

  • Do use a small cotton ball, beeswax or piece of gauze if a wire is causing irritation.
  • Don’t remove a wire that gets stuck in your cheek, tongue or gum tissue; see a dentist or orthodontist.
  • Do go to the dentist or orthodontist if an appliance comes loose or breaks.

Objects Caught Between Teeth

  • Do try to remove the object with floss, being careful not to cut the gums.
  • Don’t use a sharp or pointed instrument.
  • Do go to the dentist if you can’t remove it.

Possible Broken Jaw

  • Don’t move your jaw.
  • Do secure it in place by tying a handkerchief, necktie or towel around the jaw and over the top of your head.
  • Do apply cold compresses if swelling is present.
  • Do go immediately to a hospital emergency room.

If you have questions about a potential problem not listed here, don’t hesitate to ask your dentist. While there is no substitute for a visit to your dentist’s office, their words of advice can be very reassuring in a time of crisis.