What Should I Do If I Have a Dental Emergency?

What Should I Do If I Have a Dental Emergency?

Health emergencies are part and parcel of life and being prepared can make all the difference, which holds true for dental emergencies.

To help you navigate the next dental emergency, the team here at Peninsula Dental Excellence, including Drs. Jeff Yoshihara and Colin Au, decided to pull together a list of the most common injuries and what steps you should take.

Knocked out or chipped tooth

If you or a loved one loses a tooth or suffers a cracked tooth, the actions that you take immediately afterward can potentially save that tooth.

For a tooth that’s knocked out, it’s important that you locate the tooth and, handling it by the crown only, rinse the tooth and your mouth with warm water only, and try to stick the tooth back into the socket. If it fits, hold the tooth in place by gently biting down on something soft.

If the tooth doesn’t slide back in easily, you need to preserve the tooth as best you can. To do this, you can slide it between your cheek and gum so that it enjoys an environment that features saliva. If you’re dealing with a small child and you’re afraid they might accidentally swallow the tooth, you can put it in a glass of milk for safekeeping.

If your tooth is badly cracked, you can rinse your mouth with your water and carefully bite down on something soft to keep the pieces from moving and the crack from growing larger.

At the same time as you take these steps, it’s imperative that you call us straight away so that we can make the necessary arrangements to preserve the tooth.


There’s nothing quite like a toothache when it comes to pain and discomfort. If you have a toothache, you should call us to arrange for an appointment so that we can get to the bottom of, and treat, the underlying problem.

Often, toothaches flare up at night when we’re not in our offices. When this happens, you can try cold compresses, over-the-counter medications, and rinses — salt water and hydrogen peroxide work best.

While we understand that the pain can be very uncomfortable, it’s important that you don’t put anything directly in your mouth that isn’t indicated for this purpose. There are over-the-counter ointments that you can place directly on the tooth that’s giving you trouble.

Please note that these same instructions apply for gum pain. If your gums are bleeding quite a lot, we urge you to seek medical help sooner rather than later.

Broken dental devices

If your braces or another device in your mouth, such as dentures, break, you should contact us right away (or your orthodontist). Please don’t try to fix these devices on your own as you may cause more damage. If a piece of the device is digging into your soft tissues, place a piece of wax, or even chewing gum, over the protrusion and get help.

Whatever your dental emergency, know that we are on hand to help. If you have any questions, please contact our office in Mountain View, California.

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