What to Do In Case of a Dental Emergency

Mar 15 • 3 minute read

Taking measures to prevent most dental emergencies means visiting the dentist regularly. Protecting your teeth while playing sports or other intense physical activities is another important part of avoiding damage to your smile.

If you do experience a dental emergency, there are steps you can take to alleviate pain and help your chances of a positive outcome. Dental emergencies require prompt attention and in some cases a trip to the emergency room.

Call our Watsonville dentist for your emergency at 831-722-4666 and follow these guidelines:

Dislodged/Avulsed Tooth

When trauma causes one or more of your teeth to be knocked out (avulsed), locate the tooth and rinse gently, being careful not to disturb the attached natural fibers. Reinsert the tooth into the socket quickly, as time is of the essence. Be sure to position the tooth as it was naturally. If this is impossible, or if the patient is a child who’s lost a permanent tooth, place the avulsed tooth in milk or lightly salted water. Follow your dentist’s instructions or go directly to an emergency room. The reattachment procedure must be started within an hour of the avulsion for any chance of success. If a tooth is partially dislodged there are different approaches. One is for the dental professional to extract the tooth and attempt reattachment. The other is to leave it in place and allow it to reattach by itself. Follow-up care is necessary to increase the odds of a successful outcome.

If you can’t locate the tooth, there is no need to rush to the hospital, and the dentist will probably schedule you to come in the same day or within 24 hours. Bleeding can be heavy and biting down on gauze, or a clean absorbent cloth will help the blood to clot. Over-the-counter pain medications are helpful as is an ice-pack held to the area intermittently.

Even though you’ve lost your tooth, there are solutions such as dental implants or traditional bridges to restore function and aesthetics as well as prevent complications.

Severe Tooth or Jaw Pain

The most common cause of extreme dental pain is decay that has spread to the inner portion of the tooth (pulp) where the nerves are housed. Deep decay leads to infection and intense pain. Call the dentists to be seen as soon as possible. If you have an established dental provider and it’s after business hours, your dentist may prescribe an effective pain reliever to help until your appointment time. Treatment will depend on the extent of damage done by the decay. Antibiotics and root canal therapy are commonly required.


Abscesses are infections typically at the root of the tooth and can lead to systemic illness when treatment is delayed. An abscess can only be diagnosed with imaging at the dentist’s office. However, you may notice a pimple-like bump on your gum. As in the case of infection caused by deep decay, antibiotics are prescribed and treatment may also include root canal therapy.

Broken Teeth and Restorations  

While inconvenient, if there is no pain associated with the break, chip, or crack, a prompt visit to the dentist within one or two days is necessary to make the repair and keep the tooth strong and functional.

When a crown has broken or become dislodged, call the dentist immediately as gum tissue can grow into that space. Soft-tissue overgrowth can cause complications when the restoration is being replaced.

If you are experiencing a dental emergency in Watsonville,

call the office of Dr. Terry Haskin and Dr. Gordon Goldstine right away!

We can help you get back to your life.


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Terry F. Haskin, D.D.S.
Gordon G. Goldstine D.D.S.
Creating Beautiful Smiles

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Terry F. Haskin, DDS 256 Green Valley Road Freedom, CA 95019
Phone: 831-722-4666 Map