5 Common Types of Dental Emergencies and How to Treat Them

Dental health is an essential part of overall health and well-being. Maintaining good oral hygiene practices, such as brushing and flossing regularly, is crucial to prevent dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease. However, even with proper oral hygiene, dental emergencies can still arise.

Dental emergencies can be painful and interfere with daily activities, such as eating and speaking. By nature, these emergencies are near-impossible to resolve alone, so immediate attention from a dental professional is required. Dental emergencies can range from mild to severe and occur anytime. Some common dental emergencies include:

1. Chips and Cracks

Chips and cracks are common dental emergencies from biting down on hard objects, sports injuries, or accidents. If left untreated, they can lead to further damage and pain. The treatment for chips and cracks depends on the severity of the damage. Dental bonding or veneers may be used to repair the tooth for minor chips. A dental crown may be necessary for more severe cracks to prevent further damage and protect the tooth.

2. Toothaches

Toothaches are among the most common dental emergencies and can be caused by various factors, such as tooth decay, gum disease, or a dental abscess. The pain from a toothache can be severe and interfere with daily activities. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can relieve the pain from a toothache. Rinsing the mouth with warm salt water can also help to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. However, you must still seek immediate dental care if the toothache persists or is accompanied by other symptoms such as swelling or fever.

3. Soft Tissue Injury

Soft tissue injuries, such as cuts, tears, or lacerations to the lips, tongue, or gums, can be caused by accidents, sports injuries, or biting down on hard objects. These injuries can be painful and may result in bleeding. Apply pressure with a clean, damp cloth or gauze to stop bleeding. Rinse the mouth with warm salt water to keep the area clean and prevent infection. If the bleeding continues or the injury is severe, seek immediate dental care.

However, it’s worth noting that other injuries, such as a broken or chipped tooth, often accompany a soft tissue injury. In such cases, you must seek immediate dental care to address all injuries and prevent further complications.

4. Loose or Knocked-Out Teeth

Physical trauma can sometimes result in a loose or knocked-out tooth. This can happen due to a fall, a sports injury, or a physical altercation. If you experience a loose tooth, try to gently move it back into place and bite down to keep it in position. Then, seek immediate dental care.

If the tooth is completely knocked out, handle it carefully by the crown (the top part of the tooth) and rinse it gently with water. Do not touch the root of the tooth. Try to reinsert the tooth into the socket and hold it in place with a clean cloth or gauze. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, place it in a container of milk or saliva and seek immediate dental care. The chances of saving a knocked-out tooth increase if you get treatment within the first hour of the injury.

5. Missing or Loose Dental Restoration

Dental restorations, such as fillings, crowns, and bridges, are effective because they restore the function and appearance of damaged or missing teeth. However, they can become loose or fall out due to decay, trauma, or normal wear and tear.

If a filling or crown comes loose, keep it in place by gently biting it. Avoid chewing on that side of your mouth, and seek dental care immediately to prevent further damage or infection. If a bridge falls out, do not attempt to reinsert it yourself. Keep the bridge in a safe place and seek dental care immediately. Your dentist will assess the situation and determine the best course of action, including replacing the bridge or using a temporary solution until a permanent replacement can be made.


Dental emergencies are never good, so you must seek immediate treatment if you experience them. Even if the issue seems minor, it is better to be safe than sorry and prevent further damage or infection, especially since your quality of life will be affected. This way, you can receive the appropriate treatment and get back to your normal routine as soon as possible.

Westborough Dental Associates provides top-quality services for emergency dentistry in Westborough. We provide immediate treatments to our patients to ensure their oral health problems are solved for their overall well-being. Schedule an appointment today!