Hello! My name is Dr. Paige Woods, and I’ve dedicated my whole career to helping people who have dental issues or concerns – and nothing is more concerning than when you have a dental emergency. I am here to help you. You can contact me directly, but I would recommend reading the below first so that you can be confident you are doing absolutely all you can to look after your teeth. I look forward to meeting you.

I think I’m having a dental emergency, what do I do?

Emergency Dental PainThe most important thing is to remain calm; you will not be able to think straight if you are panicking, and you may end up actually doing yourself more damage in the process. Stop whatever it was that you were doing, and try to think clearly. Do you need to see a dentist? If you are in any doubt, then it is better to be safe than sorry.

I have a really bad toothache and I’ve had it for a while – but that isn’t an emergency, right?
Strange as it may sound, sometimes a toothache that lingers and doesn’t go away can be a small symptom of a much bigger problem. Do not ignore a toothache for too long, and if it continues for more than three days, then I would highly recommend that you come and see me about it. I could tell you it’s nothing, but wouldn’t you rather know?
I’ve chipped my tooth, but it doesn’t hurt.

Even if you are not experiencing any pain from the tooth, it is always best to come and see me when you chip your tooth. It could be that there is more internal damage to the tooth that you are not aware of, and that could lead to bacteria getting into your tooth and damaging it much more permanently. You may also want to discuss cosmetic options for your tooth as well.

When the chipping actually happens, you should immediately rinse out your mouth with slightly warm water, and then get a cold compress. By applying the cold compress to your face, you can greatly diminish the chances of swelling and discomfort. If you actually have the chip that came off your tooth, then you should definitely bring that to me as well! Make sure that you keep it in a wet towel or damp bit of gauze, so that it does not dry out.

My tooth is broken or cracked, is that an emergency?
I would always recommend someone who has a cracked or broken tooth to come and see me, as it could be very painful. We are often told as children to ignore toothache, but this is not always the best option, and I would much rather that you came to see me or another professional so that they could examine it for you.

As soon as you realize that your tooth has been broken or cracked, you should get some warm water and rinse out your mouth with it, making sure that there are no fragments in your mouth that could hurt your gums. Then you should immediately get a cold compress – anything frozen from your freezer would do – and apply it to your mouth on the side where the tooth was cracked or broken. This will lessen the swelling that develops, which will greatly affect the amount of discomfort that you will feel. If any parts of your tooth have come away, make sure that you keep them in a damp towel or a wet piece of gauze, and ensure that you bring them to me when you have your emergency appointment.

I think my tooth is becoming loose/it’s fallen out!
Don’t panic: immediately call me, my contact details are at the bottom of this screen. If your tooth has completely come out, you will need to gently put it back into the socket where it came from, holding it by the crown which is the thickest part nearest the gum. Use a fresh washcloth to hold it so that you do not get any germs in your gums. If the tooth has fallen onto the ground or is dirty, then before you insert it back into your mouth then you should gently rinse it under cold water, but you should not scrub at it or remove any of the tissue that may still be attached to it. Then come to see me as soon as you can get to my dental practice.

In some cases, it will not be possible for the tooth to be popped back in the socket by you at home before you come and see me. If this is the case for you, then the best way to keep the tooth at body temperature and clean is to pop it under your tongue. This may seem very strange, but it is actually the best way of transporting it to me!

Remember: you do not need to have exactly experienced any of the above to come and see me in an emergency. If you are concerned about your teeth, then I want to remove those fears.

If you need of an emergency dentist we are here to help, call (610) 640-5100.

san diego staff