How to Handle Common Dental Emergencies Until You Reach Our Office

How to Handle Common Dental Emergencies Until You Reach Our Office

Some two million people in the United States deal with a dental emergency in a given year. Once one happens, it can be stressful to figure out your next best steps. In addition to getting in touch with our office promptly so you can get needed care, tending to your tooth and gums until you reach our office is important. Smart self-care measures may bring you some comfort or relief while improving your odds of effective treatment.

Dr. Robert Scott Nance and his team in Statesville and Hickory, North Carolina, are pleased to offer expert treatments for urgent and traumatic dental injuries. We can also advise you on your next best steps.

Here’s a look at how to handle common dental emergencies before your appointment.

Caring for your toothache

Given the high sensitivity of the nerves surrounding your teeth, there’s little pain like tooth pain. Until we can diagnose or treat the underlying cause, consider these steps to ease your ache:


For salt water rinsing, add about ½ teaspoon of salt to warm water. Gently swish the water in your mouth for a few seconds, then spit it out.

Caring for your knocked out (or broken) tooth

When an accident or sports injury knocks a tooth clear out, you’ll want to come into our office quickly. In the meantime, try to locate the tooth. Then rinse your mouth out with warm water, rinse the tooth with warm water, and see if you can gently place it back inside the socket. Then bite down on a piece of gauze or a tea bag to hold it in place.

If you aren’t able to replace your tooth in the socket, hold it in your cheek, a jar of milk or an emergency tooth preservation kit, such as Save-a-Tooth® until you reach our office. And if you’re in significant pain, an ice pack positioned on your cheek or jaw can bring some relief. 

These same steps apply for a broken tooth – meaning you should rinse and preserve any parts you can find to bring with you to your appointment. 

Caring for your tooth abscess

If you’re dealing with throbbing pain that doesn’t stem from an injury, you may have an abscessed tooth. As this bacterial infection worsens, you might also experience a fever, tooth sensitivity, and bad breath. 

Until you can get to our office, you can take the steps you’d take for a general toothache: Rinse your mouth with warm salt water, apply a cold compress to your cheek, and take an over-the-counter medication.

Getting started with treatment

Whenever possible, our team offers same-day appointments to repair your teeth. And the sooner you get your dental emergency addressed, the better. 

Depending on your dental issue, your treatment may involve replanting, repositioning, or stabilizing a dislodged tooth, removal of damaged tissue, antibiotics to treat any infection, and more. All these treatments aim to enhance healing, preserve your tooth and gums, and stave off complications.

To learn more or get your dental emergency treated, call our office, or send us a message through our website.

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