6 Tips for Handling a Dental Emergency

Most of us don’t usually think about our teeth beyond our daily flossing and brushing. But when the unexpected happens, do you know what to do? 

Let’s look at some of the most common problems that will have you speed-dialing the dentist. Whether it’s a toothache or a missing filling, here are 6 tips for handling a dental emergency.

1. Object Stuck Between Teeth

Foods like popcorn can easily become wedged between your teeth and be very uncomfortable. In this case, use dental floss to gently try to dislodge it. 

If you can’t remove it, don’t use sharp instruments that could stab your gums or scratch your teeth. 

2. Lost Filling

If you lose a filling, try putting a piece of sugarless gum in the hole and make an appointment to see your dentist. Don’t use gum with sugar because that can make it hurt more.

3. Lost Crown

If you are having pain, try using a cotton swab to put a little clove oil on the painful area. Keep the crown and if possible, use some dental cement to stick it back on the tooth until you can visit the dentist.

4. Toothache

A toothache can be extremely painful. For quick relief, try rinsing your mouth with warm water and using floss to remove any food in your teeth. 

You can also put a cold compress on the outside of your mouth. Don’t use any painkillers against the gums as this could damage the gum tissue. 

5. Broken Tooth

In the case of a chipped tooth, save and rinse any tooth fragments. 

Rinse your mouth with warm water and press a piece of gauze on any bleeding for 10 minutes or until it stops. To reduce swelling, use a cold compress on the outside of your mouth and contact your dentist immediately.

6. Abscess

Sometimes, serious infections called abscesses can happen at the root of a tooth or in between the tooth and gums. Try a warm salt water rinse or a cold compress for 15-minute intervals to ease the pain while waiting for the dentist.


Now that you have learned 6 tips for handling a dental emergency, you can avoid additional pain and anxiety. Even though no one wants an urgent tooth issue to arise, implementing these tips will make a difficult situation more bearable.

For more helpful advice, talk with our staff who will be happy to answer any questions.


Content found on this blog is intended for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please speak with a professional if you have concerns about your oral health.

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During the covid19 pandemic, we are seeing emergency patients by appointment only. Call (309) 347-4711 and leave a clear, distinct message with your name, phone number, dental issue, and time of call. Thanks and stay healthy, stay safe.

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