Dental 911: Steps that Can Help Save Your Teeth

Friday April 26, 2013 by
Melissa Brown, DDS

Like any urgent situation, dental emergencies require prompt action and a methodical approach. Injuries to the teeth or gums can result in nerve or blood vessel damage, infection and fractures.

To help you prepare for these situations, the American Dental Association suggests that you become familiar with the following procedures.

Avulsed (knocked-out) Tooth

In the event of a knocked-out tooth, carefully grasp the tooth by the crown and rinse the root in water (if it is dirty). Be sure not to scrub the tooth or remove any attached tissue fragments. Then, either gently place the tooth back in its socket or store it in a container with milk. Next, seek immediate treatment from Murray Hill Family Dental .

Broken Tooth

Should you experience a broken tooth, rinse your mouth with warm water and then apply a cold compress to your face to help reduce swelling. Next, call us to arrange for urgent care.

Tongue or Lip Bite

If you accidentally bite your tongue or lip, gently cleanse the affected area with a cloth. Then, apply a cold compress to reduce swelling. Should you experience heavy bleeding or bleeding that doesn’t stop after a short period, seek immediate treatment from us or local emergency room.

Jaw Injury

In the event of a jaw fracture or injury, apply a cold compress and seek immediate care from Murray Hill Family Dental or local emergency room.


When a toothache occurs, rinse your mouth with warm water and gently floss to remove food particles that may be trapped in the space surrounding the tooth. Then, contact us to arrange treatment. Be certain to never apply aspirin to the teeth or gums, since aspirin is an acid that can cause tissue damage when exposed for an extended period of time.

Orthodontia Issues

Should a loose or broken wire from your braces cause mouth irritation, use beeswax, gauze or a small cotton ball to cover the wire. If the wire is caught in your cheek, tongue or gums, do not try to remove it yourself. In either case, seek immediate care from your orthodontist or general dentist.

Should you experience any other injuries and be uncertain if the problem is a dental emergency, follow this advice which has been offered by many dentists, “If it hurts, it’s an emergency.” Most dentists use this guideline because even small injuries can have a significant impact on your oral health. And, quick treatment improves the chances of saving an injured tooth.

Also, remember to keep our contact information in your wallet or stored in your cell phone in case of an emergency. If you are traveling and experience a dental emergency, contact the local or state dental society for a referral to a nearby dentist.