During office hours, immediate attention will be given to your situation, and you will be seen as soon as possible. After office hours, please give the office a call and follow the instructions provided. Your call will be returned as soon as possible. If you are experiencing a serious or life threatening emergency, please call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room.
The following instructions are for educational purposes only. For a dental emergency it is vital that you contact your Dental or Medical Health Provider.
- Trauma (knocked out teeth)
- Significant swelling
- Prolonged or significant bleeding
- Uncontrollable pain
If you have had dental surgery within the last 48 hours, do not be alarmed if you notice bloodstains in your saliva – this is normal. If there is considerable bleeding that appears bright red and is staining your tongue or lower lip, apply a MOIST gauze pad or tea bag to the area for 30 to 60 minutes with firm constant pressure. It will be helpful to keep your head elevated with 2 or 3 pillows and also avoid excessive exercise or activity. If the bleeding is heavy and does not subside, this is a dental emergency - please call the dental office for further instructions.
If you have had a dental extraction and are still experiencing bleeding over 3-4 days after the extraction or if you feel tissue dangling from the extraction socket, especially if you are on blood thinners, please call the office to schedule a follow-up visit.
If you have experienced a facial trauma and a tooth has been knocked out, this is a dental emergency and requires urgent attention. Following the appropriate steps in this instance will increase the likelihood of preserving the tooth:
- Find the tooth and pick it up, touching only the crown (white part) of the tooth. Do not touch the root.
- Rinse the tooth gently to remove any debris. Ensure that the drain on the sink is closed (using a towel, for example) to avoid losing the tooth down the drain! Do not wipe or scrape the tooth, or remove any tissue that may be attached.
- If you can, place the tooth back in the socket and hold it gently in place while biting down.
- If the tooth will not return to the socket, put the tooth in a small container with water or milk (milk is preferred).
Call the office immediately for further instructions. The longer it takes to re-implant and re-position the tooth, the lower the chances of survival of the tooth.
If it is a baby tooth that has been knocked out, do not put it back in the socket – call the office for further instructions.
If a tooth is broken and is causing no pain, there is no need for immediate treatment. Call the office during regular hours to book an assessment.
If the broken tooth is not painful but is sharp and cutting your tongue or cheek, it can be helpful to purchase orthodontic wax (available in the dental section at most pharmacies and grocery stores) to press into the broken area to cover the sharp points. Call the office during regular hours to book an assessment.
If the broken tooth is sensitive to temperature, particularly cold, applying orthodontic wax as described above can be helpful. Direct application of sensitivity toothpaste can also help to reduce sensitivity until the tooth can be addressed. Usually this sensitivity will subside after a day or two.
If the broken tooth is very sensitive and you can see a red spot within the broken area when you look in the mirror (or especially on a front tooth for a child), this is a more significant fracture. Call the office for further instructions.
If the broken tooth is causing significant discomfort and the broken piece remains attached and is loose, call the office for further instructions.
Substantial injuries inside the mouth, including lacerations, puncture wounds, or tearing of the lips, cheeks, or tongue constitute an emergency requiring attention. Clean the injured area as well as possible with warm water. If bleeding is present and gauze is accessible, place pressure on the wound with moist gauze (see section on bleeding). Depending on the severity of the injury, management of the injured tissue may be necessary through the use of stitches. This should be promptly assessed.
If you have sustained major facial trauma, and especially if you lost consciousness during the event, it is important to visit the nearest ER for medical assessment.