Common Emergencies

Bleeding After Oral Surgery

What to do: See our Instructions After Surgery page.

How Urgent: Depends on scenario. See above page for more details

Knocked-out Permanent Tooth

What to do: You should see your dentist immediately. If debris is on tooth, gently rinse with water. Reimplant the tooth if possible and stabilize by biting down gently on the towel or handkerchief. Avoid additional trauma to tooth while handling. Do not handle tooth by the root. Do not brush or scrub tooth. On the way to the dentist the wounded area can be gently cleaned, but do not scrub with disinfectants or soaps.

If you are unable to reimplant:
Best - Place tooth in Hank’s Balanced Saline Solution, i.e. “3M Save-a-tooth kit.”
2nd best - Place tooth in milk. Cold whole milk is best, followed by cold 2% milk.
3rd best - Wrap tooth in saline-soaked gauze.

Urgent! The most important thing to do is to get the patient to a dentist as soon as possible. Chances are good the tooth can be saved if it is replaced within 30 minutes. For more information visit this site (Link will open in a new window).

Displaced Tooth (Due to Injury)

What to do: Keep area clean. Avoid chewing hard on displaced tooth. Call your dentist immediately for an appointment, or call the Emergency Dental Service if you cannot reach your dentist within a few hours.

How Urgent: Should be seen as soon as possible. The teeth must be re-positioned and then splinted into place while healing.

Chipped or Broken Tooth (Due to Injury)

What to do: If a large part of the tooth has broken off, the nerve is visible and bleeding or the tooth is very painful, please call immediately for an appointment, or call the Emergency Dental Services if you cannot reach your dentist within a few hours. If possible, save the piece of tooth and keep it in contact lens saline or milk. We may be able to re-attach it Clean the area with warm water. Avoid hot or cold foods.

How Urgent: Fairly urgent: Should be seen as soon as possible.

Swelling - Severe

What to do: You should call your dentist or the emergency numbers above as soon as possible.

Urgent! This should be treated as soon as possible.

Swelling - Mild

What to do: Apply a cold compress on the outside of your cheek. Avoid heat for this. You may rinse with warm salt water or a chlorhexidine mouthwash such as Peridex.

How Urgent: Should be seen by a dentist if it doesn’t resolve in a few days, or if it is getting worse.

Something Stuck Between Teeth

What to do: First, try using dental floss, very gently and carefully, to remove the object. Never poke between your teeth with a pin or similar sharp, pointy object; it can cut your gums or scratch the tooth surface.

How Urgent: If you can’t get the obstruction out, see your dentist.

Toothaches

Note: Never put aspirin on the inflamed area This will burn the tissue and make things worse.

Severe, throbbing pain to HOT that is relieved by cold for a brief while

What to do: This is probably a dying nerve. Call your dentist immediately for an appointment, or call the Emergency Dental Service if you cannot reach your dentist within a few hours. You may find that anti inflammatories such as 1-2 Motrins may help.

Urgent! This will get much worse soon. If you cannot reach us you may also call Dr. Serota’s office. 905 270-3357, who specializes in treating this type of problem, or the emergency numbers at the top of the page.

Sharp pain to HOT or COLD that throbs or lingers for more than a few minutes

What to do: You may have a dying nerve. This needs to be seen to soon. Call us for an appointment. . You may find that anti inflammatories such as 1-2 Motrins may help.

How Urgent: Should be seen within a few days.

Moderate pain to HOT, COLD or SWEETS that goes away within a few seconds

What to do: This is a live but irritated nerve. It may settle down by itself. Avoid hot or cold foods for a few days. If it continues you should make an appointment to see your dentist.

How Urgent: Should be seen by a dentist if it doesn’t resolve in a few weeks, or if it is getting worse.

Severe pain to BITING that lingers

What to do: May be a badly cracked tooth. Avoid biting on the area.

How Urgent: Should be seen by a dentist within a few days.

Sudden pain to BITING that disappears immediately

What to do: This may be a defective filling or a cracked tooth. Avoid biting hard on the area. This may stay stable or settle down with time.

How Urgent: Should be seen by a dentist if it doesn’t settle down in a few weeks, or is getting worse.

Pain to TAPPING on the tooth

What to do: May have an infected nerve or gum. Avoid biting hard on the area. If it does not settle down within a few weeks, call us.

How Urgent: Should be seen by a dentist if it doesn’t settle down in a few weeks, or is getting worse.

Pain to biting on new filling that feels “high” once the anaesthetic wears off

What to do: Avoid chewing hard foods. A minor bite adjustment may be needed.

How Urgent: Should be seen soon, within 1-2 days, or it could get worse.