Dealing with Common Dental Emergencies

If you start to develop a dental problem, it will usually have a slow enough onset with early warning signs that you'll have plenty of time to make a regular appointment with your dentist. Sometimes, however, emergency problems can arise, leaving you in urgent need of treatment.

At any point during the day, and even into the night, there should be somewhere you can seek emergency dental treatment, but in the meantime, there are some things you can do to help alleviate the symptoms and to increase the effectiveness of the professional treatment you receive. Here are some tips for common emergencies.

Knocked out tooth

If a tooth gets completely knocked out, it can be extremely worrying, but try not to panic. First of all, when handling the tooth, only touch the actual tooth part and not the root.

The tooth may have fallen to the ground or got dirty in some other way, so give it a gentle rinse with some water and then try to put it back into the socket, if you can. Go carefully to avoid hurting yourself, and if you manage to get it back, hold it in place.

If you're not able to put the tooth back, it's essential that you keep it moist either by putting it in some milk, or holding it in your mouth to keep it covered in saliva.

Get to an emergency dentist as quickly as possible.

Broken tooth

Find any pieces of the tooth and put them in milk. This isn't as urgent as a knocked out tooth, but you should still get to a dentist as soon as you can. They may be able to put the tooth back together.

Lost filling

Keep hold of the filling and take it with you when you see a dentist, but don't try to put it back yourself. If you're in pain, take painkillers as instructed.

This situation isn't as urgent as it may seem but it's still important to make a regular appointment without delay, as the tooth is vulnerable without the filling.

Crown has come out

Follow the same steps as you would for a filling. It's even more important to keep hold of a lost crown, as it can usually be reattached.


If you have a toothache severe enough to be considered an emergency, pain relief will be your biggest concern. An over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen should make you feel better until you can get to a dentist, but avoid numbing gels as they can irritate the mouth. Some people find applying a small amount of clove oil can be an effective alternative.