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What To Do When Dental Emergency Happens

Woman with sensitive teeth

Dental emergencies can happen when you least expect them, causing distress and uncertainty. Whether it’s a severe toothache, a knocked-out tooth, or a broken restoration, knowing how to respond promptly can make a significant difference in preserving your oral health and minimizing discomfort. In Orem, where access to immediate dental care may vary, being prepared for such situations is crucial.

Identifying Dental Emergencies

The first step in dealing with a dental emergency is recognizing when one occurs. While some situations may seem minor initially, they can escalate rapidly without proper intervention. Common dental emergencies include:

  1. Severe Toothache: Persistent or throbbing tooth pain can indicate an underlying issue such as an abscess or infection.
  2. Knocked-Out Tooth: If a tooth is knocked out due to trauma or injury, prompt action can increase the chances of successful reimplantation.
  3. Broken or Cracked Tooth: Fractured teeth, especially if accompanied by sharp pain or sensitivity, require immediate attention to prevent further damage.
  4. Lost Filling or Crown: When a dental restoration becomes dislodged, it exposes the vulnerable tooth structure to bacteria and potential infection.
  5. Soft Tissue Injuries: Lacerations to the lips, tongue, or cheeks can occur from accidental bites or trauma, leading to discomfort and bleeding.

Steps to Take During a Dental Emergency

  1. Stay Calm: Although dental emergencies can be stressful, maintaining composure is essential for clear thinking and effective decision-making.
  2. Assess the Situation: Evaluate the severity of the injury or discomfort and determine whether immediate professional care is necessary.
  3. Contact Your Dentist: In Orem, reach out to your dental provider as soon as possible, especially if the emergency occurs during office hours. They can provide guidance and arrange for prompt treatment.
  4. Manage Pain: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help alleviate discomfort temporarily. Avoid aspirin if there is bleeding to prevent further bleeding complications.
  5. Handle Tooth Injuries Carefully: If a tooth is knocked out, handle it by the crown (top) rather than the root. Rinse it gently with water if dirty, but avoid scrubbing or removing any attached tissues. Store the tooth in milk or a tooth preservation solution and seek dental care immediately.
  6. Control Bleeding: Apply gentle pressure with clean gauze or a damp tea bag to control bleeding from soft tissue injuries. Avoid aspirin and direct pressure if a fracture or displacement is suspected.
  7. Protect the Area: If a sharp or broken edge is present, cover it with orthodontic wax or sugarless gum to prevent injury to the tongue, cheeks, or lips.
  8. Follow Up: Even if initial symptoms subside or the situation seems resolved, follow up with your dentist for a thorough evaluation and any necessary treatment to prevent complications.

Preparing for Dental Emergencies

While it’s impossible to predict when a dental emergency will occur, taking proactive measures can help you respond effectively when faced with unexpected situations. Consider the following tips to prepare for dental emergencies in Orem:

  1. Maintain Good Oral Hygiene: Regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups can help detect and prevent potential issues before they escalate into emergencies.
  2. Stay Informed: Familiarize yourself with common dental emergency signs and symptoms, as well as appropriate first-aid measures.
  3. Compile Emergency Contacts: Keep your dentist’s contact information easily accessible, along with local emergency dental clinics and hospitals.
  4. Assemble a Dental First-Aid Kit: Include essentials such as gauze pads, oral analgesics, a small container with a lid, and orthodontic wax.
  5. Invest in Dental Insurance: Having dental insurance coverage can alleviate financial concerns associated with emergency dental care.


Dental emergencies can be unsettling, but knowing how to respond promptly and effectively can mitigate potential complications and ensure optimal outcomes. By staying informed, prepared, and proactive, individuals in Orem can navigate dental emergencies with confidence and safeguard their oral health for the long term. Remember, when in doubt, seek professional dental care promptly to address emergencies and protect your smile.

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