It is important that everyone knows how to determine what a dental emergency is. Some people make the mistake of thinking a dental emergency is a minor issue, which could result in something as serious as tooth loss. The following are a few things that should be viewed as dental emergencies and what you should do if you ever encounter them.

Loose Tooth

This can happen due to trauma or disease. Avoid wiggling and moving loose teeth until they can be examined by a dentist. If trauma is the reason for looseness, it is possible that a dentist may be able to save you from tooth loss. If periodontal disease is the cause of your loose tooth, it may not be salvageable. You may also have adjacent teeth that are at risk for being lost due to the disease. Some people have had to have several or all of their teeth extracted due to disease. 

Broken Tooth

This is an emergency due to the risk of exposed nerves, which can die and result in tooth loss. If the break occurs to a back tooth, your local drugstore may carry a temporary filling kit that can be used  to protect the tooth temporarily. You can rinse your mouth with warm water. Avoid taking aspirin for pain because of the risk of blood clotting, which might be problematic if the dentist determines that the broken tooth needs to be extracted.  

Damaged Braces

Although this is an orthodontic issue, some people do not know what to do if their braces break and their orthodontist offices are closed. If the broken device is not causing pain, you may be able to wait until your orthodontist office opens. Issues with pain should be treated as emergencies. 

Dislodged Tooth

A knocked out tooth is something that causes shock in most individuals. It is possible for a knocked out tooth to be reinserted and thrive. How the emergency is handled will play a huge role in whether the tooth survives. First, the tooth needs to be cleaned without the use of cleansers and avoid scrubbing and rubbing the tooth. Rinsing it with water should suffice. Reinsert the tooth if you can, but bleeding, swelling, and blood clotting will prevent some people from being able to re-insert their teeth. This means that preservation should be sought. Place the tooth inside of milk, or cover it with saliva to preserve it.            

Damaged Crown or Filling

You will need to temporarily "cement" the dental material to protect the exposed area of the tooth. You can recap a crown using Fixodent or a similar product if you have the crown. Otherwise, a temporary filling kit from the drugstore can be used for lost fillings and crowns. Protecting the exposed area will aid in reducing sensitivity and damage to the exposed area.

Dental emergencies can be painful. You can use over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to control pain. Cold compresses may also help with swelling and pain. If there is an emergency dentist in your area, they are a good resource to use if your general dentist or orthodontist is unavailable. For more information, visit sites like