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First Aid for Dental Emergencies

Knocked out Permanent Tooth

You may rinse the tooth for 10 seconds but DO NOT scrub or handle the tooth unnecessarily. Inspect the root of the tooth for fractures. If it is sound, try to reinsert it in its socket immediately. Hold the tooth in place by biting on the gauze. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, transport the tooth in a cup containing water or milk. The tooth may also be carried in the patients mouth (be careful not to swallow it!) See your dentist immediately, or go to the emergency room. Time is a critical factor in saving the tooth – the sooner it's reimplanted the greater the chance it will reattach successfully.

Bleeding After Baby Tooth Falls Out

Fold and pack clean gauze over the bleeding area. Have them bite on the gauze, or apply pressure, for 15 minutes. Repeat if necessary. Call your dentist if bleeding persists more than an hour.

Broken Tooth or Filling Without Pain

Call your dentist to have the tooth looked at. If the area is very sharp, some products available at the drugstore (Den Temp), can be useful if covering the area gives you relief. You may also be able to push wax or chewing gum in the area till you can be seen.


Tooth pain needs to be treated by a dentist promptly, but in the interim you could try these suggestions. Clean area of the affected tooth thoroughly with warm water. Use dental floss or a toothbrush to dislodge impacted food or debris. If covering the area gives you relief, some products available at the drugstore (Den Temp) can be useful. Do not place aspirin directly on the gum or aching tooth since this will cause an acid burn. Assuming you have no medical contraindications, instead use a pain medication like aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil, Aleve – up to 800mg every 6 hours) as directed, till you can be seen by your dentist.

Loose Crown, Bridge or Temporary

Call your dentist to have the prosthesis evaluated as soon as possible. If the loose teeth are in an obvious area, these situations can many times be awkward. You can sometimes carefully wear the loosened crown, bridge or temporary till you can be seen if it still fits snugly back over the prepared teeth. Use a denture adhesive (Fixodent) under the prosthesis to secure it after cleaning the area with your toothbrush. Avoid using super glue in these kinds of situations.

Cut or Bitten Tongue, Lip or Cheek

Apply ice to the bruised areas. If there is bleeding apply firm but gentle pressure with gauze or cloth. If cut is large or deep, or if bleeding does not stop after 15 minutes, take the patient to the hospital emergency room.

Broken Denture

There are some useful temporary repair materials sold in drugstores, but most denture failures have to be sent to a lab for a permanent fix. Super glue can create more of a mess in these situations, and usually are not very successful.

Possible Fractured Jaw

If a fractured jaw is suspected, try to immobilize the jaws by using a towel, tie, or handkerchief, and go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Mouth Sores and Ulcers

There are many products available over-the-counter for different mouth sores and ulcers. Ulcers inside the cheek can be painful to salty and acidic foods, but usually resolve on their own in 10-14 days. You can get a prescription for a topical anesthetic from your dentist to apply to those areas if needed. Those on the lips are frequently viral, and are contagious, so be careful not to spread it to others while the sore is open. Most remedies are palliative, though anti-viral medications can be prescribed for you by your dentist to lessen the healing time and severity of outbreaks.