Common Dental Emergencies & How to Prevent Them

Common Dental Emergencies & How to Prevent Them

Nobody wants to experience a dental emergency – and it’s our goal that you never have to experience one, either. Here are some of the most common dental emergencies and steps you can take to prevent them. 


The single most common dental emergency is a severe and debilitating toothache, which can be caused by two common factors: 

While waiting to see the dentist, try applying an ice pack or cold compress to your face or jaw to alleviate pain. Over-the-counter pain medications might help, but in some cases, they may cause worse burning in the area of the toothache when the medication comes in contact with the gum tissue. 

Knocked-Out Tooth

A tooth that has been completely knocked out is another common dental emergency. It’s important to see a dentist as soon as possible after having a tooth knocked out in order to improve the likelihood of saving the tooth. 

Knocked-out teeth often come out with the full root still attached. If you can find the tooth, you can gently rinse and reinsert it (without pressure) while you make your way to the dentist. If you don’t feel comfortable, you can place it in a glass of milk while you seek out emergency care. In some cases, the tooth can still be saved. 

Broken Tooth 

A broken tooth can be the result of trauma (car accident, falling, or getting hit, for example) or decay. In some cases, a broken tooth doesn’t constitute a dental emergency and can wait a few days or even a few weeks until you’re able to see a dentist, but if you’re in severe pain or the remaining tooth is sharp enough to cause injury to your tongue or cheek, you may need prompt attention. While trauma may be out of your control, strong, healthy teeth are less likely to break during the course of eating and performing other normal activities. 

Preventing Dental Emergencies

Dental emergencies are much more common among those who don’t receive routine dental examinations and cleanings, so the first step you can take to prevent emergencies is to see a dentist every six months for a routine cleaning and exam. Routine appointments help your dentist identify and treat problems early – before they cause pain, infection, or other serious complications. 

You can also reduce the likelihood of dental emergencies by taking good care of your teeth at home. That involves: 

There are also some lifestyle choices that have a dramatic impact on your dental health and your likelihood of experiencing tooth loss and dental emergencies like smoking and illicit drug use. Choosing to quit smoking and using drugs, if you do, will not also support a healthy smile but a healthier future. 

Routine Care

To take the first step toward avoiding emergencies (that’s prevention!), connect with our compassionate team. Find your local Ideal Dental office today to schedule a visit with our dentists. You can also learn more about our emergency dentistry services.