Knowing what to do in a dental emergency is essential to saving teeth and preventing further complications. Caregivers and coaches especially should be aware of what to do in a dental emergency.

The most common dental emergencies are:

  • A knocked-out tooth
  • A cracked tooth
  • Bitten tongue or lip

Here’s what to do in each dental emergency:

Knocked-Out Tooth

For trauma such as a knocked-out tooth, immediately apply pressure to the area that is bleeding. If it was a baby tooth, call your doctor right away to take a look at the gums to ensure they are not damaged.

If it was a permanent tooth, it is possible to save it if you act fast. Locate the tooth and gently wash it, but not over clean it. Try to place it back into the socket with a gauze or clean cloth. If doing so is too painful, place the tooth in a clean cup of saliva, milk, or water. Call and go to your dentist immediately for treatment.

Cracked Tooth

In the case of a cracked, broken, or chipped tooth, again, acting fast is essential to saving the tooth and preventing infection. Rinse the mouth with warm water and put ice to the area to reduce swelling. Call your dentist for immediate treatment and bring the broken piece with you if you could find it.

Bitten Tongue or Lip

Rinse the area gently with water. Apply ice to the area to reduce swelling and apply pressure to help staunch the bleeding. Go to the nearest emergency room right away if the bleeding does not stop.

Precautions You Can Take to Avoid Dental Emergencies

Lowering the risk of dental emergencies is beneficial for dental and overall health. Here are some precautions you, your children or your athletes can take:

  • Wear a mouthguard when participating in sports activities
  • avoid food like popcorn and candy that can easily injure the teeth
  • never use your teeth to cut something
  • schedule regular dental appointments so that your dentist can catch any issue at the first sign


Oakwood Dental Arts NC reserves time in our daily schedule for dental emergencies. If you are suffering from a dental emergency in Hickory, North Carolina or surrounding areas, call our emergency number at 828-394-9318 right away.