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Dental emergency: what to do and how to stay prepared

    Dental emergency

    Dental emergencies can happen when we least expect it, causing pain, discomfort and anxiety. Knowing how to handle dental emergencies quickly and effectively is crucial to minimizing damage and ensuring optimal results. In this blog post, we’ll explore common dental emergencies, provide tips on what to do in each situation, and offer tips on how to prepare for any unexpected dental incidents.

    What is a dental emergency?

    A dental emergency refers to a situation where a patient experiences acute pain. This condition may be accompanied by infection, fever and swelling of the mucous membranes. In dentistry, emergencies are generally classified into two categories:

    1. The painful urgency, when the pain felt is intense and does not respond to analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs.
    2. The aesthetic emergency, which occurs in the event of a dental fracture, detachment of a bridge, fall of a dental ring or loosening of a ceramic-metallic crown.

    In both cases, immediate intervention is necessary in order to relieve the patient and put an end to the pain he feels.

    Understanding Dental Emergencies:

    A dental emergency refers to any oral health problem that requires immediate attention to relieve pain, prevent further damage, or save a tooth. Examples include severe toothache, broken teeth, fractured or chipped teeth, injuries to the soft tissues of the mouth, and abscesses. It is important to recognize the signs of a dental emergency and act quickly to seek professional help.

    Immediate Actions to Take:

    In the event of a dental emergency, quick action is crucial. Here are some immediate steps to take depending on the specific situation:

    Toothache: Rinse your mouth with warm water and gently floss around the affected tooth to remove debris. If the pain persists, avoid applying aspirin directly to the tooth as it may cause tissue irritation. Contact your dentist to make an appointment.

    Fractured or chipped tooth: rinse your mouth with warm water and save the broken pieces. If bleeding occurs, apply gentle pressure with a piece of gauze. Apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth to reduce swelling. Visit your dentist as soon as possible.

    Soft tissue injury: Rinse your mouth with warm salt water and apply pressure with a clean cloth or gauze to control bleeding. If the bleeding continues or the injury is severe, see your dentist or an emergency room for immediate care.

    Tooth abscess: Rinse your mouth with a mild salt water solution to relieve discomfort and reduce bacteria. Contact your dentist immediately for an evaluation and appropriate treatment.

    Dental emergency

    Dental emergencies


    Pulpitis is characterized by inflammation of the dental nerve. Symptoms include severe pain in response to heat, cold, and sugary foods. Migraines, pain when chewing, and sometimes bleeding gums can also occur. If not treated quickly, pulpitis can develop into a dental abscess with swelling, fever, and pus buildup, causing even more severe pain. Emergency treatment consists of opening the affected tooth and closing it with a temporary antiseptic dressing. Some dentists can prescribe appropriate drug treatment.

    Dry socket

    Dry socket, inflammation of the tooth socket, occurs after an extraction if the blood clot does not form properly. This causes severe pain requiring prompt intervention. Treatment includes cleansing with strong antiseptics and inducing bleeding to form the clot. Medicines can be prescribed.


    Periodontosis refers to infection of the supporting tissue of the tooth, called the periodontium. Infection of the periodontium threatens the bone that supports the roots of the teeth, possibly causing them to move or shift. Periodontosis is one of the most common reasons for dental emergency consultation, especially when it progresses to ulcerative-necrotic gingivitis.

    Accidental loss of teeth (expulsion or dislodgement)

    In case of accidental loss of a tooth, it is crucial to consult a dentist quickly to maximize the chances of reimplantation of the tooth. While waiting for treatment, it is recommended to clean the tooth with clear water without rubbing. If possible, try to put the tooth back in its socket. Otherwise, store it in a saline solution. If the tooth is fractured as a result of an accident, a blow, a fall, too vigorous chewing or bruxism, collect it and rinse it with tap water, avoiding touching the root (which is living tissue). Then try to put it back in the cell and close your mouth. Then contact your dentist or go to the hospital immediately.

    Tooth hemorrhage

    Tooth bleeding can occur after tooth extraction. Regular mouthwashes are contraindicated as they can disrupt blood clot formation, which is essential to preserve bone and nerve endings and promote wound healing. While waiting for an emergency consultation, apply a gauze pad to the socket and grit your teeth to stop the bleeding.

    The food stuffing

    Although rare, the accumulation of food debris between two neighboring teeth may require an emergency visit to a dentist. This may be due to poor contact between the teeth or a cavity. Food debris stuck between the teeth can cause gum inflammation and severe pain when chewing. Emergency treatment may involve a filling or the treatment of cavities, and to relieve discomfort, mouthwashes or the use of dental floss may be recommended.

    The jaw drop

    Uncontrolled yawning can lead to the jaw opening being blocked or restricted. Although not painful, the jaw drop can be uncomfortable, causing difficulty speaking, excessive drooling, and difficulty eating. It is important to consult quickly, because the longer the situation persists, the more complex the jaw reduction will be. Anti-inflammatories can be prescribed, and it is advisable to limit yawning and laughter.

    Facial swelling

    In most cases, facial swelling is caused by a tooth or gum abscess. The appearance of the abscess is the result of the proliferation of bacteria in an area. The immune system responds by sending a rush of blood to the affected area to protect itself against bacteria, which causes swelling. If you have persistent pain that prevents you from working or sleeping, take a painkiller and consult promptly.

    Absolute and aesthetic emergencies

    Fracture and tooth expulsion

    When visible teeth are damaged, it can have an impact on physical appearance and self-confidence, both in social and professional relationships. It is important to consult urgently to quickly restore a normal life and find a smile. In this case, the patient may be offered a composite or a temporary prosthesis to restore dental aesthetics.

    The prosthetic failure

    This can be manifested by the detachment or fracture of a crown, veneer or bridge, or even by the fracture of a removable dental prosthesis. An emergency consultation is necessary, especially when the affected teeth are located in the front of the mouth. The dental professional can perform temporary care, repositioning or immediate repair to restore the functionality of the prosthesis.

    At Sourire Dentaire, we resolve medium and long-term dental emergencies such as prosthetic failures, extractions and implantation, for example, to definitively resolve patient problems.

    If you have any questions or would like a quote, do not hesitate to contact us!