5 Common Dental Emergencies — and How to Be Prepared

Dec 7, 2023 | Restorative Dentistry

With any emergency, it’s important to have a plan in place in case the unexpected happens. While dental emergencies may not be top of mind for your preparedness checklist, it’s just as important to know how to navigate them.

 At SMILE Advanced Dental Care, we commonly see five main types of dental emergencies. While each one requires professional and immediate care, it’s important to know what to look for and what actions you can take in the immediate short-term before seeing the dentist.

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Here is your cheat sheet:

  1. Tooth Pain

A toothache can be a seemingly small thing that quickly turns into a big problem — especially if the pain increases rapidly. While over-the-counter pain relievers can offer temporary relief, it’s in your best interest to see a dentist immediately. Waiting too long could possibly make the situation worse — and there’s no way to know the source of a toothache without having it examined by a dental professional.

  1. Infected Tooth

Tooth pain can sometimes be caused by an infection, which can progress into a dental abscess — which is serious and requires immediate attention. With an examination and X-rays, a dentist can evaluate the infection and your best treatment plan to prevent it from spreading and to cure the affected area.

  1. Knocked-Out Tooth

From playing sports to tripping and taking a fall, teeth can get knocked out. If this happens, rinse the tooth gently and try to reinsert it into the socket if you can. If that’s not possible, quickly place it in a glass of milk. It may sound unusual, but this increases the chance that your tooth will be able to be saved in transit to your emergency care.

  1. Broken or Chipped Tooth

While a broken or chipped tooth may not seem to be as much of an emergency, it still should be considered as such. Not only can it be painful — depending on where the breakage occurred — there could also be fragments of tooth or root tips remaining in your mouth that should be professionally removed to prevent infection and other complications. When teeth break or chip, make sure to save any fragments you can, and take them to your appointment.

  1. Lost Dental Restoration

Sometimes a crown, implant, or bridge can get damaged or fall out. If this happens, don’t attempt to reattach it yourself. Make sure to keep the restoration safe and visit the dentist to have it restored properly.


At SMILE Advanced Dental Care, we know smiles don’t take a day off — and sometimes there may be a need for emergency care. This is exactly why we prioritize same-day solutions — even on nights and weekends — at our Summerville, South Carolina, office.

Please note: If you have suffered trauma to your teeth because of a severe head injury, please call 911 instead — or head to your nearest hospital.

When you contact our office here or at 843.873.1261, we will work with you on the best steps to take to address your pain or discomfort and get you back to dental stability.