Dental Emergencies


Knowing how to handle a dental emergency can mean the difference between saving and losing your child’s tooth. Here are some tips to help you cope quickly and calmly with a dental emergency.


Knocked-Out Tooth

Hold the tooth by the crown, and rinse the root with water if it is dirty. Do not scrub the tooth or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket with a clean wash cloth or gauze, and take your child to the dentist as soon as possible. If this isn’t possible, put the tooth in a container with milk, saliva, saline, or water and take your child to the dentist as quickly as you can. Don’t forget to take the tooth with you!

Broken Tooth

Rinse the mouth with warm water to keep the area clean. Put cold compresses on the face to reduce swelling. Go to the dentist immediately. If you can find the broken tooth fragment , bring it with you to the dentist in water or milk.

Bitten Tongue Or Lip

Clean the area gently with a cloth and place cold compresses on the area to keep swelling down. If bleeding is excessive or doesn’t stop after a short period of time, take your child to a dentist or physician.

Objects Caught Between Teeth

Gently try to remove the object with dental floss. If you’re not successful, go to the dentist. Do not try to remove the object with a sharp or pointed instrument.


Rinse the mouth with warm water to clean it out. Use dental floss to remove any food that may be trapped between the teeth. Do not put aspirin on the aching tooth or gum tissue. See the dentist as soon as possible.

Possible Broken Jaw

Apply cold compresses to control swelling. See an oral surgeon or go to a hospital emergency room immediately for an examination and xrays.

Primary Teeth And Permanent Teeth

If something happens to a child’s primary tooth, or “baby tooth,” you should still take your child to the dentist as soon as possible. Although it is normal for children to lose primary teeth, an accident that damages a primary tooth could also harm the permanent tooth underneath.

If A Dental Emergency Happens While You Are Traveling:

  • Look in the Yellow Pages or Google under “dentist” to find the state or local dental society phone number to get a referral or ask the hospital to recommend a dentist.
  • Ask the hotel concierge or other hotel staff to refer you to a dentist.
  • If you are out of the country, contact the U.S. Embassy. Many embassies and consulates maintain lists of local medical and dental personnel, which may also be available online at After clicking on the country you are visiting, medical listings are usually found under the heading “US Citizen Services.”

For more Dental Emergency solutions please visit the American Dental Associations website for further education.