Quick Guide to Handling Common Dental Emergencies at Home

Dental Emergencies at Home

Dental emergencies usually strike when you least expect them, causing pain and discomfort that require immediate attention. While it’s essential to consult a dentist as soon as possible, knowing how to manage common dental emergencies at home can provide temporary relief until professional help is available. This quick guide offers essential tips to help you navigate through some of the most common dental emergencies.


Toothaches are often caused by cavities, infections, or trauma. If you experience a toothache:

Rinse your mouth: Gently rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area around the affected tooth.

Floss gently: Sometimes, debris stuck between teeth can cause discomfort. Gently floss to remove any particles, but avoid using excessive force.

Over-the-counter pain relief: Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever (following the instructions on the label) can provide temporary relief. Avoid placing aspirin directly on the gum, as it can cause burns.

Cold compress: Applying a cold compress on the outside of your cheek for 15 minutes at a time can help reduce pain and swelling.

Remember, a persistent toothache requires professional evaluation to address the underlying issue.

Chipped or Broken Tooth

A chipped or broken tooth can expose sensitive nerves and lead to pain. Here’s what you can do:

Rinse your mouth: Gently rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area.

Cover sharp edges: If the tooth has sharp edges, you can use dental wax or sugarless gum to cover them and prevent cuts to your tongue or cheeks.

Pain relief: Over-the-counter pain relievers can help manage pain until you see your dentist.

Knocked-Out Tooth

A knocked-out tooth is a dental emergency that requires prompt action for the best chance of saving the tooth:

Handle the tooth carefully: Only touch the crown of the tooth (the chewing surface), not the root.

Rinse gently: If the tooth is dirty, rinse it briefly with milk or saline solution for a few seconds – Better health channel. Do not scrub or use soap.

Attempt to reinsert: If you’re comfortable, try placing the tooth back in its socket. Bite down gently on a clean cloth or gauze to hold it in place.

Store the tooth: If you can’t reinsert the tooth, place it in a container of milk, saline solution, or saliva. Keeping the tooth moist is crucial for its survival.

See a dentist immediately: Time is of the essence. Visit a dentist within the hour for the best chance of reattaching the tooth successfully.

Lost Filling or Crown

A lost filling or crown can expose sensitive areas of your tooth. Until you can see your dentist:

Clean the area: Gently clean the exposed tooth and the inside of the crown or filling.

Temporary seal: To protect the tooth, you can use over-the-counter dental cement, sugarless gum, or dental wax to temporarily seal the area.

Avoid chewing: Be cautious with eating on the affected side of your mouth until the filling or crown is replaced.

While these tips can provide temporary relief, it’s crucial to remember that they are not substitutes for professional dental care. Dental emergencies should be addressed by a qualified dentist as soon as possible to prevent further complications. If you’re in Sydney, you can call us at 1300 180 555 or book your appointment here. We have clinics in Parramatta, Narellan, Bella Vista, Eastwood, and Lindfield and each practice provides Emergency Dental Care every day of the week. Being prepared and knowing how to handle common dental emergencies at home can make a significant difference in managing pain and ensuring the best possible outcome for your dental health.

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