How to Deal with Dental Emergencies

tmj_treatment_3 South Bend, IN Dentist | Tulip Tree Dental Care

As the saying goes, life happens, and it’s rarely predictable. Dental emergencies fall into the unpredictable category. What you can predict is how you’ll react if you know what yo do.

Generally, dental emergencies are due to three occurrences:

  1. You have significant damage to a permanent tooth, it’s loose in its socket, or it’s come out of its socket.
  2. You have significant damage to the soft tissues of your mouth: gums, the insides of the cheeks, your tongue, or your lips. This usually occurs due to an accident of some kind, but there can be other causes.
  3. You’re in significant pain from a dental problem.

When you have a dental emergency, taking quick action is essential. Let’s look at the three causes of dental emergencies, one at at time.

Permanent Teeth Problems

If a permanent tooth has come out of its socket, the first thing to do is to try to gently put it back into place. Be careful not to touch the root of the tooth for any reason.

If you can’t re-insert the tooth, wrap it carefully and keep it safe until you can see Dr. Hurcomb.

If the tooth has been broken, gather all the fragments and keep them safe. We may be able to restore the tooth by bonding the pieces back together.

Soft Tissue Damage

The soft tissues of your mouth have a rich blood supply. Any damage to those tissues can cause quite a bit of bleeding. Unfortunately, the mouth is an awkward place to try to stop that bleeding.

Direct pressure is usually the best way to slow or stop bleeding in the mouth. Another option is to apply ice to the site of the injury. This can cause the blood vessels to narrow and give the wound a better chance to clot. Both techniques can be used in sequence – if direct pressure doesn’t work immediately, apply ice for a brief time to slow the bleeding, and then apply pressure again.

Most of the time, bleeding from the soft tissue of the mouth can be stopped relatively easily. But if you have significant bleeding that you can’t control, your next stop should be the emergency room.


Pain can be due to injury or, more likely, to infection. Dental infections shouldn’t be taken lightly. Left untreated, infections can progress deeper into the gums and even into the jaw. This can cost you one or more teeth. Dental infections have also been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

Put it this way – your teeth and your jaw are not supposed to hurt. A brief, slight twinge is probably nothing to worry about. But if you have constant pain that worsens rapidly, or gets slowly worse over time, the last thing you should do is wait.

Dental infections can happen when a tooth is broken and the tissue inside is exposed to the bacteria in the mouth. If you have dental work, a cracked filling can open the tooth to infection. Infection can also be due to tooth decay.

Call Us.

For all dental emergencies, call Tulip Tree Dental Care as soon as possible at 574-208-5668. We make every effort to see dental emergencies the same day. If you call after hours, you’ll hear an emergency number to call.

Don’t be put off by the fact that it’s after hours. If it’s a dental emergency, you need to be seen as quickly as can be managed.

Also, don’t assume there’s nothing to be done.

If you have a damaged tooth, we can repair it via a dental crown. This is a very common procedure that gives excellent results. And, it’s often the best (or even only) way to save your tooth.

When a tooth can’t be saved, a dental implant is a great option. Implants restore the appearance and function of missing teeth and are just as comfortable To learn about dental implants, visit this page.

For pain due to a dental infection, root canals offer complete elimination of the infection and permanent pain relief. Root canals get a lot of bad press, but they’re actually not all that scary. We make every effort to make you comfortable the procedure and to minimize any pain.

Tulip Tree Dental Care in South Bend is ready to handle any dental emergency. And, we’re happy to care of your entire family’s dental needs and to help you realize your brightest smile and healthiest mouth. You can schedule a non-emergency appointment online, or call our office at 574-208-5668.

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