Emergency dental care can deal with injuries to the teeth, gums, and supporting bone. Oral injuries can be extremely painful and should be treated by a dentist or dental professional immediately.

The longer you wait to care for an emergency dental injury, the more likely it is to cause permanent damage, as well as the need for costly repairs and restorations down the line. It is urgent that you get in the office of a dentist as soon as possible. Without the care of a dentist, you will run out of options for your dental plan.

Get in touch with our team to learn more about emergency after-hours dental services.

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Tips for Dental Emergency Care

  • Use a pain reliever that does not contain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which can contribute to bleeding
  • Save tooth and any tooth pieces, lightly rinsing with milk (water can damage the root)
  • Use warm water to rinse your mouth
  • If bleeding, gently apply pressure to the affected area (preferably with gauze)
  • Apply a cold compress outside your mouth in case of swelling or other dental distress
  • Do not put any painkiller (such as aspirin) directly on the gum as it may cause damage
  • Although rinsing is recommended, do not scrub any pieces of tooth as this may result in loss of necessary tissue
  • Have a go-to emergency after-hours dentist in your phonebook

What Types of Emergencies Are There?


Dental emergencies vary considerably from a case such as a broken molar caused by a simple kernel of popcorn to situations where several teeth are knocked out during sports practice. The tooth’s nerve may be exposed and cause pain such as sharp jolts, swelling, throbbing and severe toothache. In urgent cases, you may need to call for emergency medical services.

In addition to broken teeth, other emergencies might include: abscessing, wisdom tooth pain, broken orthodontic wire, a lost filling or crown, and injury to the gums or soft tissue.

When it comes to emergency dental care, your best tool is preparedness. Here are some common injuries and what you should do should these happen:


If you have a toothache, rinse your mouth out with water. Use dental floss with care to remove any food or debris that could be stuck in the problem area.

If your mouth is swollen, apply a cold material to the outside of your cheek to reduce the swelling. Never use painkillers such as aspirin inside your mouth during a toothache. Painkillers can burn the gum tissue.

Fractured Teeth

Save any pieces of the chipped or broken tooth if possible. If you are bleeding, apply gauze for 10 minutes to stop any bleeding. Put something cold on the outside of your mouth to reduce any swelling and help relieve pain.

Here are three types of fractures that can occur:

  1. Minor Fracture — Minor fractures can either be left alone or get addressed by your dentist. A composite filling could also provide relief. Either way, it’s important to treat the tooth with care several days after the fracture.
  2. Moderate Fracture — Moderate fractures can include damage to the dentin, enamel, and nerve tissue. If nerve tissue isn’t fully damaged, the tooth can be restored with a permanent crown. If there is damage to the nerve tissue, further dental treatment may be needed.
  3. Severe Fracture — Severe fractures mean that the tooth more than likely cannot be saved.

Knocked Out Teeth

If your tooth is knocked out, hold it by the crown and rinse it off with milk. Don’t scrub the tooth or get rid of any attached tissue when cleaning it. If possible, try to reinsert the tooth into the gum. If you cannot do this, put the tooth in a small glass of milk. See a dentist or dental professional as soon as possible for the best services. Knocked out teeth have a greater chance of getting saved if you get to a dentist within an hour after the removal.

Bite Damage on Your Tongue or Lip

Clean the wound with a cloth and apply cold compresses. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, see your dentist or go to an emergency dental clinic for treatment.

More Dental Emergency Resources

Dental Emergency Kit

To be prepared should any of these injuries occur, it’s important to carry a dental care kit that includes the following:

  • The phone numbers (mobile and home) of your dentist
  • Handkerchief
  • Gauze
  • Small container with a lid
  • Ibuprofen

Does Medicaid Cover Emergency Dental Services?

On certain services. Medicaid coverage includes the following dental services:

  • Procedures to stop bleeding, control pain, and get rid of any immediate infection
  • Treatments of any injury to the teeth, jaw, or other related structures
  • Procedures that will prevent the immediate loss of teeth

Check with the dental office to see what insurance payment they take. Your dental office may offer a payment plan or other options to help you in your urgent time of need. There are many dental treatment services that dentists offer.

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