7 Common Dental Emergencies - When to Call Your Dentist

Toothaches, chipped teeth, and lost fillings are just a few scenarios that can qualify as a dental emergency. While some dental problems can wait for a scheduled appointment, others require prompt attention to prevent further complications and pain. Here at Mellert Dental Associates, we understand that dental emergencies can be stressful and confusing. That’s why we’ve compiled a guide to 7 common dental emergencies and when to call our friendly dental team for immediate care.

What are Dental Emergencies?

Dental emergencies include a wide range of unanticipated situations that necessitate prompt care from a dental specialist. Severe pain, bleeding, oral trauma, and tooth or dental appliance destruction are all possible outcomes. Recognizing and responding to these crises can reduce discomfort and the risk of consequences.

7 Common Dental Emergencies

1. Toothache

Feeling pain in your tooth is unpleasant—it could indicate various issues, including tooth decay. While some toothaches can be managed temporarily, certain signs like swelling demand urgent attention. Avoid applying aspirin or other painkillers directly to the affected area, as this can burn the gums. Instead, use a cold compress outside your cheek and promptly contact our dental clinic for emergency care. Following treatment, your dentist will stress the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene to prevent cavities, decay, and other dental problems.

Common Dental Emergencies

2. Chipped or Broken Teeth

Accidentally biting down on something hard can lead to a chipped or broken tooth, causing pain and affecting your smile. Rinse your mouth gently with warm water and apply a piece of gauze to any bleeding areas. Use a cold compress on the outside of your cheek near the affected tooth to reduce swelling and ease discomfort. Seek emergency dental care while being cautious about chewing hard foods and participating in activities that could cause further damage or chips.

3. Knocked-Out Tooth

If you’ve knocked out a tooth, handle it carefully by the crown (the visible part in your mouth). Rinse the tooth’s root only if dirty; avoid scrubbing or removing attached tissues. Depending on the injury, you may be able to reinsert the tooth into its socket, ideally within the hour, to increase the chances of saving it. If reinsertion isn’t possible, store the tooth in a small cup of milk or water with a pinch of salt to preserve it for emergency restoration at our dental clinic.

4. Lost Filling or Crown

Fillings and crowns restore damaged teeth, so losing one requires immediate attention to prevent further damage or infection. As a temporary measure before seeing your dentist, place a piece of sugarless gum into the cavity. Avoid trying to fix the filling or crown yourself to prevent additional harm. Bring the restoration to our clinic in a zip-top bag for reapplication or replacement with a new crown.

5. Broken Orthodontics

Orthodontic appliances like braces are designed to withstand daily wear and tear, but they can break or cause discomfort by poking your cheeks or gums. If a wire breaks or sticks out, try gently pushing it into a more comfortable position. Cover any protruding ends with orthodontic wax, a small cotton ball, or gauze. Don’t cut the wire yourself to avoid swallowing it; seek prompt attention from our dental team.

6. Abscess

An abscess in your mouth, typically near a tooth’s root or between teeth and gums, indicates a severe infection. Left untreated, it can spread to nearby teeth, gums, and even throughout your body. Suspect an abscess if you notice a painful, swollen spot on your gums resembling a pimple. Contact our dental clinic immediately for emergency treatment. Rinse your mouth with a mild saltwater solution and apply ice to the affected area for temporary relief.

7. Bleeding and Pain After Tooth Extraction

Experiencing pain and bleeding following a tooth extraction is normal initially, but if it persists an hour later, contact your dentist. Place a thick gauze pad over the extraction site and bite down gently to apply pressure. Avoid rinsing, drinking through a straw, or smoking. These precautions help promote healing and prevent complications.

Managing Dental Symptoms Before Your Dentist Appointment

Dealing with dental emergencies before seeing your dentist can be managed with a few simple steps:

Dull Toothache

If you’re experiencing a dull toothache, start by rinsing your mouth with warm water. Floss gently to ensure nothing is stuck between your teeth, causing discomfort. You can take over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen, naproxen, or ibuprofen to alleviate pain. Avoid placing aspirin directly on your gums, which can cause tissue irritation. Remember to call your dentist promptly to schedule an appointment.

Small Chip or Crack in Your Tooth

For a small chip or crack in your tooth that isn’t causing pain, it’s generally safe to wait until your dental appointment. If there are sharp edges irritating your tongue or cheeks, cover the area with orthodontic wax, available at most pharmacies in the oral health aisle.

Broken Braces

Broken braces without mouth bleeding typically aren’t urgent. If a broken wire is poking your cheek or tongue, gently bend the wire’s end with a pencil eraser or blunt object. Cover the protruding wire with orthodontic wax until you see your dentist or orthodontist.

Object Stuck Between Your Teeth

Should something become lodged between your teeth, gently remove it using dental floss or an interproximal brush. Avoid using sharp instruments, which can damage your gums or teeth.

Minor Soft Tissue Injury

If you have a minor soft tissue injury, rinse your mouth with a saltwater solution or antibacterial mouthwash. Using clean cotton gauze, apply gentle pressure to the affected area; bleeding should stop within 15 to 20 minutes. If bleeding persists, seek immediate dental care.

These steps can help manage dental discomfort until you can visit your dentist for proper evaluation and treatment. If you have any concerns or the pain worsens, don’t hesitate to contact your dental office for guidance.


Prompt action during a dental emergency can make all the difference in preserving your oral health and saving your teeth. Knowing the signs of common dental emergencies and when to contact Mellert Dental Associates ensures you receive the care you need when it matters most. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you’re experiencing any dental emergency – we’re here to help.

Dental Emergency? Experience Peace of Mind at Mellert Dental Associates

Dental emergencies can cause quite a panic and render you helpless in such situations. Mellert Dental Associates understands that and is here to offer prompt and compassionate emergency dentistry services that can relieve pain and restore your smile. 

Contact us now at (310-543-1234) to schedule your emergency dental appointment.


Periodontitis, known as gum disease, is a severe infection of the gum tissues surrounding the teeth. If left untreated, it can progressively damage the supportive bone structure, potentially causing teeth to loosen or even result in tooth loss. While periodontitis is widespread, it is largely preventable with proper dental care and hygiene practices.

Clove oil is a potent natural remedy for tooth infections. It is renowned for its robust antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties. These qualities make it effective in alleviating pain and reducing inflammation commonly linked with tooth infections.

Using a saltwater rinse helps eliminate bacteria and cleanse your mouth. It flushes out debris and can reduce pus around an abscessed tooth. Mix regular table salt with warm tap water to create a straightforward saltwater rinse.