In the case of a medical emergency dial 911.

emergency-dental-careIn the case of a dental emergency, current patients should contact the Timberlane Dental Group office they typically use. If it is after our normal business hours, our answering service will reach the on-call dentist who will return your call promptly.

Below you will find some tips provided by our dentists for dealing with common dental and orthodontic emergencies.

Dental Emergencies

Orthodontic Emergencies

Bitten Lip or Tongue Discomfort
Chipped or Broken Teeth Irritation of Lips or Cheeks
Extruded (Partially Dislodged) Tooth Lose or Missing Ligature
Knocked Out Tooth Loose Brackets or Wires
Lost Crown Loose Palate Expander or Upper Palatal Arch
Lost Filling Protruding or Pokey Wire
Objects Caught Between Teeth
Sort-Tissue Injuries


Tips for Dealing with Dental Emergencies


Abscesses are pimple-like swellings on your gums that are painful. They are infections that occur around the root of a tooth or in the space between the teeth and gums. If you discover an abscess, call us as soon as possible. In the meantime, to ease the pain and draw the pus toward the surface, try rinsing your mouth with a mild saltwater solution (1/2 teaspoon of table salt in 8 ounces of water) several times a day.

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Bitten Lip or Tongue

Clean the area gently with a cloth and apply cold compresses to reduce any swelling. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, go to a hospital emergency room immediately.

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Chipped or Broken Tooth

Save any pieces. Rinse your mouth with warm water; rinse any broken pieces with warm water as well. If there is bleeding, put a clean piece of gauze on the area for about 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops. Use cold compresses on the mouth, cheek or lip near the broken tooth to keep any swelling down. Call us immediately.

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Extruded (partially dislodged) Tooth.

Call us right away. To relieve pain, apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth or cheek in the affected area. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever (such as Tylenol or Advil) if needed.

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Knocked Out Tooth

Hold the tooth by the crown and rinse off the root of the tooth with water if it’s dirty. Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket. If that isn’t possible, put the tooth in a cup of milk (if milk is not available use water with a pinch of salt) and call us as quickly as possible. (Call the emergency number if it’s after hours.) The faster you act, the better your chances of saving the tooth. Remember to bring the tooth with you!

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Lost Crown

If the crown falls off, make an appointment to see us as soon as possible and bring the crown with you. If you can’t come in right away and the tooth is causing pain, use a cotton swab to apply a little clove oil to the sensitive area (clove oil can be purchased at your local drug store or in the spice aisle of your grocery store). If possible, slip the crown back over the tooth. Before doing so, coat the inner surface with an over-the-counter dental cement, toothpaste, or denture adhesive, to help hold the crown in place. Do not use super glue!

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Lost Filling

As a temporary measure, stick a piece of sugarless gum into the cavity (sugar-filled gum will cause pain) or use an over-the-counter dental cement. Call us as soon as possible.

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Objects Caught Between Teeth

Try to gently remove the object with dental floss; avoid cutting the gums. Never use a sharp instrument to remove any object that is stuck between your teeth. If you can’t dislodge the object using dental floss, call us.

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Soft-tissue Injuries

Injuries to the soft tissues, which include the tongue, cheeks, gums and lips, can result in bleeding. To control the bleeding, here’s what to do:

    • 1. Rinse your mouth with a mild salt-water solution.
    • 2. Use a moistened piece of gauze or tea bag to apply pressure to the bleeding site. Hold in place for 15 to 20 minutes.
    • 3. To both control bleeding and relieve pain, hold a cold compress to the outside of the mouth or cheek in the affected area for 5 to 10 minutes.
    • 4. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, call us right away or go to a hospital emergency room. Continue to apply pressure on the bleeding site with the gauze until you can be seen and treated.

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First, rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss to remove any food or other debris caught between the teeth. If your mouth is swollen, apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth or cheek. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth because it may burn the gum tissue. If the pain persists, call us.

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Tips for Dealing with Orthodontic Emergencies


It is normal for the teeth to be uncomfortable after braces or retainers are adjusted. That discomfort will gradually lessen and usually disappear within a week of the appointment. Tylenol or Advil can be given for pain relief. Maintain excellent hygiene and consume soft foods.

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Irritation of Lips or Cheeks.

Often braces can irritate the soft tissues of the mouth, especially shortly after the braces are put on the teeth. Take a small piece of the wax you were given and press it against the part of the braces that is causing the irritation. If an ulcer has formed on the soft tissue, a topical anesthetic such as Orabase or Ora-gel may be used for pain relief. Over time the mouth will usually get used to the braces and irritations will cease.

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Loose or Missing Ligature.

Tiny rubber bands or fine wires hold the main orthodontic wire to the brackets. Occasionally these come loose or break. These should be replaced by your orthodontist within a week of coming off the braces. Please call the office on the next business day for an appointment.

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Loose Brackets or Wires.

Occasionally a bracket or band comes loose from the tooth. Often loose braces are annoying, but rarely painful. We should see you during our regular business hours to reattach them. Please call for an appointment.

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Loose Palate Expander or Upper Palatal Arch.

Sometimes a palate expander or a stabilizing wire that spans the palate comes loose. If it is loose, but still in place, we should recement the device as soon as possible during our regular office hours. If it is loose and hanging down on one side, then it should be removed at once. Many patients or parents can remove these buy simply pulling down on the side that is hanging loose and wiggling the whole thing free. If it cannot be easily removed, please call our office and the doctor “on call” will remove it for you.

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Protruding or Pokey Wire.

Occasionally a wire comes loose or slides around and pokes the patient. Sometimes this can be fixed at home by clipping the wire with a fine scissors or nail clippers. Sometimes a wire can be tucked in or slid around to the other side with tweezers. If the patient is in pain and home remedies don’t seem to work, please call our office and you will be seen promptly to have the wire clipped by one of our doctors.

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