What To Do If You Have A Dental Emergency

What To Do If You Have A Dental Emergency?

Team Emergency

You can never plan for a dental emergency — they always seem to happen when you least expect it. What you can do, however, is be prepared for when one comes your way. With busy, active kids, these moments happen more often than you’d imagine. 


Toothaches happen for all sorts of reasons. Cavities, gingivitis, and trapped food particles can cause pain in and around a tooth. This could be cleared with a warm salt water rinse or by using floss to remove anything stuck along the gum line. 

If this doesn’t give your child relief, contact your dentist to schedule an appointment. 

Knocked Out Tooth

Whether playing sports, roughhousing, running and falling or something else, a knocked-out tooth happens quickly. And the way you respond to it needs to be just as swift. 

Find the knocked-out tooth and rinse it with cold water. Only touch the crown of the tooth — never the roots. If possible, try to place the tooth back into the socket. Do this gently without forcing it. If this can’t be done, place the tooth in a cup or sealed baggie with milk. 

Don’t have milk? Use saliva. This is preferred over water and other liquids. 

Contact your dentist right away as time is of the essence. The longer you wait, the less likely the tooth will be able to be saved. 

Chipped or Fractured Tooth

A tooth may not fall out all the way, but it can still end up chipped or fractured. In these instances, always have your child rinse their mouth with warm water. If you can find the piece of tooth that broke off, place it in a cup or sealed baggie of milk. 

Applying a cold compress to the area will help to minimize any swelling. 

A chipped tooth should be seen by your dentist, but it doesn’t always warrant an emergency visit — especially if the chip is quite small. If more than half of the tooth is fractured or if your child is in a lot of pain, contact your dentist right away. 

An Abscessed Tooth

An abscess is a bacterial infection where decay is often involved. It can cause severe pain as well as swelling and a fever. If your child is complaining of these things or you notice a pimple-like bump on their gums, this could be a sign that you are dealing with an abscess. 

This is very much a dental emergency. 

If you are unable to be seen right away, go to your local emergency room. This infection must be treated immediately or it can spread into the bloodstream and become life-threatening. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Dental Emergencies 

Can the ER treat dental emergencies? 

No, the ER does not typically have dentists on staff to address dental issues. They can,  however, assist with pain management and treating infection. 

How long can a knocked-out tooth last? 

If the tooth has been placed in milk or saliva, it can last about an hour. After that, the chances of the natural tooth being saved will start to decrease.

Do You Have a Dental Emergency? 

If your child has a dental emergency, the team at Suffolk Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics is here for you. Give us a call at 631-928-8585. We will walk you through the rest. After hours? Simply follow the instructions provided in our voicemail. Leave a message and we will return your call as soon as possible. 

If your child has a serious or life-threatening emergency, call 911 or go to your local emergency room for treatment.