How to Handle Some Common Dental Emergencies

Below is a list of some common dental emergencies and how to handle them.

Lost Filling

Put a piece of softened sugarless gum in the spot where the filling was lost.  This will protect the area for a short while.  See your dentist as soon as possible.

Chipped or Broken Tooth

A piece of sugarless gum placed over the sharp edge of the broken tooth can help relieve irritation associated with a broken tooth.  Call your dentist to arrange an appointment. Broken teeth can almost always be saved.  If it’s a small break, your dentist may use a filling to fix it. If the break is serious, a root canal and subsequent crown ( or ‘cap’) may be needed.


Call your dentist and explain your symptoms.  You will be given an appointment as soon as possible.  In the meantime, take an over-the-counter pain medication.  Do not put the pills on your sore tooth. Use an ice pack against your face in the area of the sore tooth.

Do NOT put any source of heat ( heating pad, etc) on the area.  Heat will make things worse.

Knocked Out Tooth

If the tooth is an adult tooth, your dentist may be able to put it back.  If the tooth is put back within 10 minutes, it has a fair chance of healing.

If the tooth looks clean, put it back in place ( in the socket).  If this is not possible, put it in a container of cold milk.  Go to your dentist ( or the nearest dentist) immediately.

Badly Bitten Lip or Tongue

If there is bleeding, press down on the area using a  clean cloth.  If the lip is swollen, use an ice pack to reduce the swelling.  If the bleeding does not stop, go to the nearest Emergency department right away.

Something Stuck Between Teeth

Try using dental floss to gently remove whatever is stuck.  Do not poke the area with a pin or any sharp object.  If you are unsuccessful in removing the object, see your dentist.