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Brush Up On Tooth Emergencies

Ever experience a toothache while eating ice cream, or a chipped tooth while playing your favorite sport? No need to panic, these are relatively common occurrences, you just need to know how to address if something should arise. Just follow these quick tips for caring for your teeth in any unnerving situation, then call your dentist.



  • Toothache – Rinse your mouth with warm water. If the toothache was caused by something cold the water will help warm the nerves, and remove any food particles from your mouth. Floss your teeth in order to remove possible food caught between your teeth. Rinse again, and place a cold compress on achy area.
  • Lost filling or crown – First remove the filling or crown from your mouth so you don’t accidentally swallow it. You may feel sensitivity to hot and cold food, try to avoid one extreme to the other. If you’re in a bind prior to seeing your dentist you may place wax or sugar free gum over the exposed area. As for the crown, you may be able to rinse the crown and replace back on the tooth temporarily.
  • Chipped or broken tooth – If you fracture a tooth, simply rinse out your mouth with warm water and use an ice pack to reduce swelling. Use a piece of wax or sugarless gum to place over any sharp edges. Refrain from eating if possible, as to not bite down on the tooth. Contact your dentist and schedule an appointment to restore or fix the fractured tooth.
  • Tooth knocked out – Handle the tooth by the exposed area. Gently rinse the tooth in water and store in your mouth between your cheek and gum or place the tooth in a gauze and immerse in milk to keep it moist. Call your dentist immediately for an emergency appointment.
  • Abscessed tooth – If you are experiencing a fever, foul smelling breath, swollen glands, red gums, or discomfort chewing you may have an abscessed tooth. Rinse your mouth with warm water, place a cold compress on the sore area and call your dentist for an appointment.
  • Gum damage – Sore, swollen or even bleeding gums could be caused by brushing too hard or not flossing regularly. Try using a softer toothbrush and make sure you’re using slow, gentle circular motions to massage the teeth and gums. Also, make sure you’re being gentle when flossing. If gums continue to bleed or feel sore, please consult your dentist.
  • Broken braces bracket or wires – Use a pencil eraser to push the wire back into place, then place wax over the bracket or wire to protect your cheeks and gums from minor scratches. This may work temporarily if your next appointment is in a couple days, otherwise call your dentist for a quick visit.
  • Bitten tongue – If you bite your tongue or lip, rinse gently and apply a cold compress.

If you do not have medical issues preventing you from taking medication, you may consider taking something for the pain. Make sure you stick with Ibuprofen rather than aspirin, as aspirin can burn the gums and tissue.

In order to avoid any of these dental emergencies, remember to protect your mouth by wearing a mouth guard when playing sports, avoid chewing hard foods and don’t use your teeth to open or cut things. Make it a habit to brush and floss regularly to maintain good oral hygiene and to prevent some of the more severe emergencies.

Dr. Espinosa and the Bonita Del Rey team are available to assist in any dental emergency. Please call us with any questions or concerns.

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