Dental Emergency

Dental emergencies can be scary, and especially as they tend to happen at times that are often inconvenient. If you or a loved one has a dental emergency, don’t panic as Dr. Eric Yao’s office is here to help you.

How We Can Assist You

Contact our dental office immediately as we can usually offer you lots of helpful advice on how to care for the emergency until you can come to our dental office. Our dentist, Dr. Eric Yao, makes every effort to see patients on the same day as the emergency, and we can provide expert care to diagnose the problem and to provide pain relief. You will most likely need to return to our dental office for a follow-up appointment and further restorative care.

What Is a Dental Emergency?

The most frequent dental emergencies include toothache, dental abscesses, lost fillings or crowns, and partially or entirely knocking out a tooth. Teeth can become broken or fractured in accidents. If you or a family member wear fixed braces, these can get broken. It’s also possible to get something stuck in between your teeth. Another common trauma problem is an injury to the soft tissues such as the inside of your cheeks and lips or gums. Listed below are a few things you can do when you have a dental emergency.


First, try rinsing your mouth with water to remove any debris. Gently floss around the affected tooth just in case there is any food lodged in between the tooth. Sometimes a piece of badly impacted food can be enough to dislodge a tooth slightly, causing discomfort or pain. If this doesn’t help, contact us immediately to arrange an appointment.

Dental Abscess

It is especially important to come and see us if you have a severe toothache that is accompanied by other signs such as facial swelling, fever, or a general sense of feeling unwell. Sometimes a severe toothache can be a sign of a dental abscess that requires immediate emergency care. A dental abscess can cause swelling around the gum, and you may notice a pimple has developed on the surface. With a dental abscess, there is the risk that the bacteria causing the infection could spread, severely affecting your overall health.

Lost Filling

If you lose a filling, you must get it replaced as soon as possible. Losing a filling leaves the cavity exposed to bacteria in your mouth, which can then enter the tooth, potentially causing more infection and decay. Also, the tooth may feel quite sensitive. As a temporary solution, you can stick a small piece of sugar-free gum into the cavity or use an over-the-counter temporary dental cement.

Lost Crown

A lost crown needs replacing as soon as possible, so make an appointment to come and see Dr. Yao. Bring the crown with you as if it is in good condition, we may be able to clean it and recement it. In the meantime, if the tooth feels painful or sensitive, you can apply a little clove oil directly to the sensitive area with a cotton swab. You can also try placing the crown back over the tooth, using temporary dental cement which is available over the counter to hold it in place. Please do not use super glue as it will destroy the crown and will damage your tooth.

Partly Knocked-out Tooth

If you partly knock out a tooth, you must come and see us straight away. To help relieve the pain, you can apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth and take an over-the-counter pain reliever like Advil or Tylenol.

Knocked-out Tooth

If you knock out a tooth entirely, there is only a very small window of opportunity where we may be able to replace it. First, pick up the tooth, making sure you hold it by the crown which is the part of the tooth you can normally see in the mouth. Use clean water to rinse the tooth root but leave any tissue is attached. If you feel able, gently reinsert the tooth but make sure it’s facing the right way around. Don’t try to force it back into place. Otherwise, store the tooth in a small container with milk, or with water containing a pinch of table salt. You can also buy products such as Save-a-Tooth and which contain a special growth medium in a storage container that helps to preserve the tooth until you can come and see us. The chances of saving a tooth are highest when you can receive emergency dental care within an hour of the accident.

Broken or Chipped Tooth

Rinse your mouth with warm water to remove any debris. Make an appointment to have the tooth mended as soon as you can. Even a tiny chip or crack in a tooth will let in infection-causing bacteria.

Broken Braces

If you break a brace, it’s important to get it mended as soon as you can to continue your treatment plan successfully. Broken wires that stick into the cheeks or gums can be pushed into a more comfortable position using a pencil eraser. Otherwise, cover the end of the work with a small piece of orthodontic wax or cotton ball. Save any loose bands or brackets so they can be re-cemented.

Objects Stuck in between Teeth

If you have something stuck in between your teeth, try flossing around the tooth to remove the object. If this doesn’t work, come and see us. Please don’t use sharp objects to try to remove the object as these could scratch or damage your tooth or cut your gums.

Some dental emergencies aren’t preventable, but there are some things you can do to reduce your risk. For example, ensuring you have regular checkups and professional cleanings reduces your risk of toothache caused by untreated tooth decay. Also, we can check the condition of your fillings, crowns, and any other restorations to make sure they aren’t failing as all restorations must be replaced periodically. If you or another family member love playing sports, a custom sports mouthguard is a great purchase! It will cushion your teeth against unexpected blows and is a far more cost-effective solution compared to replacing or restoring a tooth.

Consider Dr. Eric Yao for your emergency dentist – contact us today!