Rio Rancho Smiles Logo

7 Things to do in a Dental Emergency

Dental emergencies can prove to be debilitating once they occur. And they can escalate so quickly that you are usually left in a state of confusion, a lot of pain, and not sure what action to take.  

Because dental emergency issues can be extremely painful, you need a quick fix for the pain before you can receive treatment from a dentist.

Although your first course of action should be to visit a dentist, it is not always possible to get an immediate appointment.

Luckily, there are measures you can take care of yourself while you wait to see your dentist. 

Below are some dental emergencies and what you can do if you find yourself in any such situation.

Missing Tooth

If you have been injured and had a tooth knocked out, remember that you have a maximum of 45 minutes to take action.

Locate the tooth, and if it is in one piece, rinse it with water or milk. Do not scrub the tooth or use soap, disinfectants, or any other chemicals on it. 

Immediately get in touch with your dentist and make your way to the clinic. After informing your dentist, take the tooth, hold it gently from the crown (top), and slide it back into the open socket from where it came.  

Hold it in place for a while and see if it becomes firm again. If the tooth does not get firm, place it in a cup of milk and rush to your dentist right away.

Chipped/Broken tooth

A chipped or broken tooth can become extremely painful in a matter of minutes. You should make your way to the dentist as soon as you can.

However, there are ways to ease the pain beforehand so that the wait before seeing the dentist does not become agonizing.

Rinse your mouth with lukewarm water a couple of times. Apply gauze to any bleeding areas. Your face might start to swell up as well, so apply a cold compress to bring down the swelling. 

You can also take Over-the-counter (OTC) medication such as ibuprofen to keep the pain and the swelling at bay.

Save any pieces of broken tooth you find and rinse them with water before you take them to your dentist.

Severe Pain

Severe dental pain that comes about without an injury is usually due to neglect of a cavity and other issues. 

If you are experiencing such pain, you can try taking over OTC medication for it. This can include ibuprofen and others. 

Rinse your mouth with lukewarm saline water to reduce the pain and swelling. Once your dentist is available, you can visit them for further treatment.

Lost Filling or Crown

If you lost your filling or crown, you should not try to put it back in place on your own; wait for your dentist to deal with it. 

Meanwhile, you can take OTC pain medication for pain and use cold compresses to prevent swelling as well. 

Other than that, you should try to keep your mouth clean, especially the area with the missing restoration, because it is more prone to infections.  

Do not take hot or cold foods and drinks until the restoration is fixed. And try not to get any food in the affected area until you can see your dentist.


Severe swelling in the facial areas can also arise if you neglect any pre-existing cavities or other dental issues. 

Swelling can eventually lead to abscesses and pus formation as well. So, if you feel like your facial swelling is putting a lot of pressure on your teeth, you should apply cold compresses to the affected area. 

You can rinse your mouth with lukewarm saltwater to bring down the swelling. Visit your dentist as soon as possible.

Pain on Biting

There are many reasons why your teeth are in severe pain when you bite down on something. This problem can prevent you from eating properly or even sleeping at night. 

While you are waiting to visit your dentist, you can try to take OTC pain medication like acetaminophen and ibuprofen. 

You can also apply cold compresses or rinse your mouth with lukewarm saline water. If possible, try to identify the cause of your pain, such as a broken tooth or a lost filling, and look up the solutions provided earlier.

Injuries of the Gums, Lip, or Tongue

If your lip, gums, or tongue are bleeding, you might need to check yourself into an ER. However, if the injury does not seem too devastating, you can try to put cold compresses on it and wait for it to heal itself.

You can never plan for a dental emergency, but knowing what actions to take can ease the pain while you wait for your dentist to be available.


Experience Dental Excellence
Call Us: 505 994 9693


  • Monday 9:00AM - 5:00PM
  • Tuesday 9:00AM - 5:00PM
  • Wednesday (By Appointment Only)
  • Thursday (By Appointment Only)
  • Friday Closed
  • Saturday Closed
  • Sunday Closed
HomeMeet Our DentistOur ServicesFAQContact UsPrivacy Policy
Copyright 2022 @ Rio Rancho Smiles. All Rights Reserved.