What to Do in a Dental Emergency: Tips From Emergency Dentists in Tampa

Posted by Dr. Michael Diez May 08, 2023

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Dental emergencies should not be something you take lightly. When left untreated, dental issues can worsen and turn into bigger health issues. If you are experiencing symptoms like broken teeth, extreme swelling, or severe tooth pain, you should immediately seek out emergency dental care in Tampa, FL.

Before a dental emergency happens to you, however, it is smart to be prepared and to learn what to do in such a scenario. Luckily, the expert dentists from General & Cosmetic Dentistry of Tampa have put together some helpful tips to remember so you’ll know what actions to take during a dental emergency. Keep reading to learn more!

What Is a Dental Emergency?

Most of the time, we make an appointment to see our dentist for routine dental care services like cleanings and check-ups. These are not time-sensitive matters and can be done whenever our schedules allow.

However, dental emergencies are not regular matters that can be set on the backburner – they are medical emergencies that need immediate attention. According to the Cleveland Clinic, a dental emergency is any injury to the mouth that causes severe pain, uncontrolled bleeding, and broken facial and oral bones. You might also need urgent dental care if you have had lingering issues that suddenly intensify and need to be treated right away, like an infected root canal or cracked tooth.

Dental emergencies can result in permanent oral health problems so they must be treated as soon as possible. If you don’t get the necessary emergency dental care, you might suffer painful complications and even tooth loss.

Common Dental Emergencies

While there are many types of dental emergencies, the following are the most common.

Broken or Cracked Teeth

A broken or cracked tooth is one of the most well-known types of dental emergencies. This problem happens when hard and blunt force is applied to the tooth, like while playing sports or in car accidents. Depending on the severity of the broken tooth, you can expect something as simple as a filling or a more complex dental crown placement.

Knocked-Out Teeth

A more severe consequence of blunt force to the mouth is knocked-out teeth. While it may seem as though there’s no point in going to the dental office if the tooth is no longer there, you still need to make an emergency appointment. Emergency dental services may be able to save and reattach your tooth. If not, dentists will at least take care of the wound to avoid infection and may even perform a dental implant procedure to replace the missing tooth.


Dental pain is a common dental emergency that can stem from various factors, such as an abscess, tooth decay, gum disease, injury, and so on. Whatever the cause, a toothache can be unbearable and severely affect your life. The issue might also indicate bigger problems, like an infection in the gums or pulp.

Visit a dentist office in Tampa, FL to discover what’s causing the problem and get some much-needed pain relief.

Lost Filling or Crown

Poor oral hygiene, tooth decay, and accidents can all result in lost crowns or fillings. When this issue happens, you need emergency dentistry services to replace the missing crown before you develop an infection or the issue becomes worse.

Object Stuck in Teeth or Gums

While a small piece of lettuce stuck between your teeth is hardly an emergency, some food items and byproducts can become dangerous. Seed kernels, fish scales, and other objects can get stuck and start to accumulate bacteria, which could result in infection. Fish bones and other sharp objects might also pierce the gums and cause excessive bleeding, which needs treatment immediately.

Contact General & Cosmetic Dentistry of Tampa if you have a dental issue that needs emergency treatment.

What to Do in a Dental Emergency

Now that you know the types of dental emergencies that need immediate treatment, here are some of the things you can do to prevent further complications and save your teeth.

Call an Emergency Dentist in Tampa

If you’re located in Tampa, Florida, the first thing you need to do is contact a reliable dental practice like General & Cosmetic Dentistry of Tampa. We can set up an emergency appointment so you can get treatment the same day or within the next few days, depending on the severity of the issue and the availability of our dentists.

Additionally, we can provide advice on how to care for your injury until you are able to get emergency services. This way, you can manage the pain and make it easier for the dentists to fix your teeth.

Try to Save Knocked Out Tooth

When a tooth falls out of its socket because of blunt impact, you may be able to still save it. If the tooth fell on the ground or the floor, clean it with warm water. Place the tooth in milk or try to put it back in the socket if you can manage the pain. Don’t touch the root! If you can, visit your dentist within 30 minutes to save your tooth. While the nerve endings can never be reconnected, the knocked-out tooth can still reattach with the surrounding tissue.

Apply First Aid and Manage Pain

You can relieve the symptoms of broken teeth, toothaches, and other dental emergencies with various over-the-counter pain medications and other pain management practices. First aid is also essential for dental emergencies. If there’s swelling, use an ice pack over the area. For bleeding, rinse your mouth with warm water to reduce the chances of infection.

Avoid Activities That Could Worsen the Situation

  • Don’t do strenuous exercises that could make the bleeding worse.
  • Avoid foods and drinks that cause sensitivity, like cold or hot beverages. You should also refrain from eating hard or tough foods like peanuts, seeds, meat, toffee, gummies, and so on.
  • Don’t talk or move your mouth too much.
  • Avoid stressful situations that can make tooth pain flare up or worsen.

Visit the Emergency Room for Severe Issues

While most dental emergencies can be treated by a dentist, there are some cases where it is necessary to seek immediate medical attention at an emergency room. Examples of dental emergencies that may require a trip to the emergency room include intense bleeding, difficulty breathing or swallowing, and severe facial trauma or injury.

If you are unsure whether your dental emergency requires a trip to the emergency room, it is always best to err on the side of caution and seek immediate medical attention.

How to Prevent Dental Emergencies

Preventing dental emergencies is the best course of action. To avoid experiencing severe pain and emergency dental issues, follow these tips:

  • Practice good oral hygiene habits. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day. And don’t forget to regularly floss and rinse with mouthwash. Moreover, avoid sticky, sweet, and sugary foods that can cause cavities.
  • Make sure to wear a mouthguard and other protective gear during sports and other physical activities. These items can dampen the blunt force from collisions and keep your teeth safe.
  • Visit your dentist at least once every six months for comprehensive exams or treatments.
  • When you visit your dentist, follow their advice about treating cavities and other minor oral problems so these can be treated before they can become dental emergencies.

General & Cosmetic Dentistry of Tampa Can Help With Emergency Dental Issues

General & Cosmetic Dentistry of Tampa has been helping patients improve and maintain their oral health for more than three decades! Aside from regular dentistry services and cosmetic dentistry services, we offer emergency dental care for our patients in order to treat injuries and save teeth.

If you or a loved one is experiencing a dental emergency, we can help. Contact us by calling or texting 813-370-1014 (North Tampa) or 813-331-0364 (South Tampa) to set up an emergency appointment.

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