First Aids First: Dealing with an Oral Emergency

Oral EmergencySimilar to gum disease and cavities, a number of dental problems develop gradually over months or even years of oral health neglect. But there are times when sudden pain or sensitivity in your teeth may require immediate attention, leaving you with no other choice but to contact the nearest 24-hour dentist.

Some tooth, mouth or gum problems require emergency care. Be aware of some first aid you can do even before you leave the house to go to an emergency dentist.

Chipped or Broken Teeth

Save all the pieces you can get. Rinse your mouth with warm water to get rid of any broken pieces. When there’s bleeding, apply a piece of gauze to the affected area for about 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops. Use a cold compress outside the mouth, lip or cheek near the area with the broken or chipped tooth. This will bring the swelling down and relieve pain.

When the teeth’s been knocked out, Hamilton Dental Emergency Centre suggests putting the tooth back in its socket, but only if you’re older than 12. Do not put the tooth back in for children to avoid swallowing it accidentally.


Rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm water and remove any food stuck in between your teeth using dental floss. When you have a swollen mouth, use a cold compress on your cheeks. Unlike the popular belief, it’s not recommended to put aspirin or any other types of painkiller on the gums near the affected tooth. When you do this, you risk burning the gum tissue.

Broken Braces and Wires

When a wire breaks and pokes your cheek, gum or tongue, get a pencil and use its eraser to push and reposition the wire. If you can’t do this, cover the end using an orthodontic wax, a piece of gauze or a small cotton ball. Don’t cut the wire because you may swallow it.

Without immediate treatment, some dental emergencies can cause life-threatening infections or even permanent dental damage. Don’t delay contacting your dentist.