Dental Emergencies: What to Do When You Have a Toothache or Broken Tooth

Dental emergencies can happen to anyone, at any time. Whether you’re experiencing a severe toothache or have accidentally chipped or broken a tooth, it’s essential to know how to handle these situations to minimize pain, prevent further damage, and ensure the best possible outcome. In this post, we’ll discuss what to do when faced with a toothache or broken tooth and when to seek professional help.


A toothache is often a sign of an underlying dental problem, such as tooth decay, a cavity, or an infection. If you’re experiencing a severe or persistent toothache, it’s important to take action to alleviate the pain and prevent the issue from worsening. Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water to help reduce inflammation and disinfect the area.
  2. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, to manage the pain.
  3. Apply a cold compress to the outside of your cheek to help numb the area and reduce swelling.
  4. If the pain persists or becomes unbearable, contact your dentist for an emergency appointment.

It’s important to note that while these home remedies can provide temporary relief, they are not a substitute for professional dental care. A toothache is often a sign of a more serious issue that requires treatment from a dentist.

Broken or Chipped Tooth

A broken or chipped tooth can be a distressing experience, but it’s important to remain calm and take the necessary steps to protect your oral health. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area and remove any debris.
  2. If you’re bleeding, apply gentle pressure to the area with a piece of gauze or a clean cloth until the bleeding stops.
  3. Apply a cold compress to the outside of your cheek to reduce swelling and manage pain.
  4. If possible, locate and save any broken pieces of your tooth. Your dentist may be able to bond them back into place.
  5. Contact your dentist as soon as possible to schedule an emergency appointment.

In the meantime, if the broken tooth has a sharp edge, you can cover it with dental wax or temporary filling material (available at most drugstores) to prevent it from cutting your tongue or cheek. Avoid biting down on the affected tooth and stick to soft foods until you can see your dentist.

When to Seek Emergency Dental Care

While some dental issues can wait until regular business hours, certain situations require immediate attention. You should seek emergency dental care if you experience any of the following:

  • Severe, persistent pain that doesn’t respond to over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Bleeding that doesn’t stop after applying pressure for 15-20 minutes
  • Swelling in your face or jaw that makes it difficult to breathe or swallow
  • A knocked-out permanent tooth (in this case, try to gently reinsert the tooth into its socket or store it in a container of milk and seek dental care immediately)
  • Trauma to the mouth or jaw that may indicate a more serious injury

The Bottom Line

Dental emergencies can be stressful and painful, but knowing how to handle them can make a significant difference in the outcome. By taking prompt action and seeking professional care when necessary, you can minimize discomfort, prevent further damage, and protect your long-term oral health. If you’re experiencing a toothache, broken tooth, or any other dental emergency, don’t hesitate to contact Milton GA Dentist for immediate assistance. Their experienced team is well-equipped to handle a wide range of dental emergencies and will work quickly to relieve your pain and restore your smile.