San Mateo County Dental Society (CA)

Dental Emergencies

Knocked Out Tooth
Do not scrub the tooth or remove any attached tissue. Instead, rinse it carefully in running water. Gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket. If this isn't possible, place the tooth in a cup of milk or, in the absence of milk, cool water. Bring it and the patient directly to the dentist within 30 minutes, if possible.

Broken Tooth
Gently clean dirt from the injured area with warm water. Place a cold compress on the face near the injury to decrease swelling. Go directly to the dentist.

Possible Broken Jaw
Do not move the jaw. Secure the jaw in place by tying a scarf, handkerchief, necktie or towel around the jaw and over the top of the head. Apply cold compresses to swollen areas. Go immediately to a hospital emergency room or call your dentist.

Do not place aspirin on the aching tooth or gum. Rinse the mouth with warm water. Floss to remove any food that might be trapped between the teeth. See your dentist as soon as possible.

Problems with Braces and Retainers
Cover the ends of irritating wires with a small cotton ball, beeswax or a piece of gauze until you can see your dentist. Do not attempt to remove a wire that is stuck in your cheek, tongue or gum. Go to your dentist immediately. If an appliance becomes loose or a piece breaks off, take the appliance and piece to the dentist.

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