Recognizing a Dental Emergency

Occasionally, specific oral issues will come up that will require emergency dental care. Though you may be tempted to wait a few weeks to address the problems, doing so could be detrimental to your oral health. Not only might the pain be too much to deal with, but putting off an appointment for later could result in further dental concerns. And just as there are common dental problems that mean it’s time to see your dentist, these dental emergencies shouldn’t wait either.

Check out our list of five emergency dental situations that require immediate care.

Bitten Tongue or Lip

We’ve all done it – bitten down on our lip or tongue unexpectedly and without intending to. And wow, does that hurt! So after biting your lip or tongue, be sure to cleanse the area thoroughly. Next, rinse the area with cold water or a saline solution. Finally, apply pressure to the site, and when the bleeding stops apply a cold compress to help reduce the swelling.

Though this type of situation doesn’t require emergency attention in most cases, there are some situations when you need to seek care quickly. For example, you should seek emergency dental care if any of the following problems transpire:

  • Debris becomes stuck in the wound.
  • Bleeding doesn’t stop after a cold compress has been applied.
  • The wound crosses the border between the lip and facial skin.
  • The cut is deep and appears as though it will need stitches.

Broken, Chipped, or Cracked Tooth

Breaking, chipping, or cracking your tooth can be a frightening and quite painful experience. Unfortunately, accidents occur, and they can happen to anybody. Here is what to do if you break, chip, or crack your adult tooth:

  • Rinse your mouth out with water right away.
  • Apply pressure to stop the bleeding.
  • Preserve the tooth in milk, saline situation, or water if the tooth comes out completely.
  • Apply a cold compress after the bleeding has stopped to help reduce swelling.
  • Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medication to help with pain and inflammation.
  • Contact your emergency dentist in Buxton, ME, to discuss treatment options.

Loosened or Knocked-out Tooth

Teeth can loosen or be knocked out when a strong blow is received to the mouth. And on other occasions, teeth that are previously weakened can become fractured or loosened by chewing. As an adult, we don’t get a chance to grow new teeth if ours come out. Thus, loosened or knocked-out teeth require prompt emergency dental attention.

If a tooth is loosened due to an injury, it’s essential to see an emergency dentist immediately to determine if the root or socket is fractured. When a loosened tooth is stabilized and repositioned quickly, it is far more likely to stay in place permanently. A knocked-out tooth required immediate emergency dental treatment as well. Placing the tooth back into the socket (without touching the roots) can help the tooth reattach. When the tooth can’t be placed back into the socket, it should be placed in a cup of milk for transport to the dentist.

Broken Jaw

In any situation where the jaw has been broken, or a broken jaw is suspected, the person must seek emergency dental care right away. A broken jaw can heal when adequately treated. Failure to receive emergency dental care, however, can result in one or more of the following medical conditions.

  • Bleeding
  • Blockage of the airway
  • Breathing blood or food into the lungs
  • Temporary problems with eating
  • Temporary problems with talking
  • Facial or jaw infections
  • Jaw joint (TMJ) pain which can result in temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD)
  • Numbness in the jaw or face
  • Problems with teeth alignment
  • Swelling


A persistent toothache often signifies a serious dental issue. Toothaches usually occur due to inflammation of the tooth’s central portion, which is referred to as pulp. The pulp holds nerve endings that are extremely sensitive to pain. This inflammation may be caused by tooth decay, trauma, or infection. If you have pain in your tooth or gums that just doesn’t seem to go away, or if the pain begins without warning, you should contact your dentist immediately.

Tory Hill Dental can assist with emergency dental care

The team at Tory Hill Dental will always help patients get the next available appointment if there is a dental emergency. Further, Dr. Fenn is skilled in both cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry and can help fix any dental problem that you can think of. If you have experienced a dental emergency, be sure to contact the Buxton, Maine office at (207) 929-6626 during business hours to set up an appointment. Outside of business hours, our receptionist will help refer you to an emergency dental care line.