A dental emergency is a problem that requires immediate treatment. To determine whether what you’re experiencing is an emergency, ask yourself the following questions:

Some common dental emergencies:

A knocked-out tooth

If your tooth is knocked out, pick it up by the crown (top). Try not to touch the root. Rinse it very gently, careful not to remove any attached tissue. If you can, place the tooth gently back into its socket. Hold it gently in place and try to bite down. If you can’t place it back in the socket, put the tooth in a cup of milk, if possible. If not, find a small container to keep it safe. Call the dentist immediately! The longer you wait, the less likely it is that we can save your tooth.

A loose permanent tooth

If your tooth is loose but not knocked out, gently try to push it back into place. Don’t force it! Call the dentist immediately.

A chipped, cracked, or fractured tooth

If your tooth is chipped but doesn’t hurt, this is probably not an emergency. Be careful while chewing to avoid chipping it more, and call the dentist during regular hours.

A cracked or fractured tooth is another story. If your tooth is cracked and painful, you should gently rinse with warm water, take acetaminophen (not aspirin) for pain, and call the dentist immediately.

Tissue injury inside the mouth

Any kind of injury inside the mouth, including puncture wounds, cuts, and tears to the lips, cheeks, mouth, and tongue, are dental emergencies. If your mouth is bleeding, you should go to a hospital emergency room.