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Are You Having a Holiday Dental Emergency?

Tooth pain can be a real...pain. But sometimes, it's hard to know whether your discomfort is a problem that requires immediate attention or whether it's something that can wait until your dentist has an opening. 

Being prepared for a dental emergency will have you feeling confident and proactive if a situation should arise and help minimize potential damage. 

Types of Holiday Dental Emergencies

Different types of dental emergencies require various levels of attention, and knowing which yours falls under will help you know what those next steps should be. The most frequent types of emergencies we see in our patients are:


Discomfort coming from a tooth, especially those that worsen when laying down or with time, is one of the most common forms of a dental emergency. A tooth that's causing you pain can mean many things and require an exam to find the cause and determine your treatment. 

Remedy: Rinse your mouth with saltwater to promote self-healing, and take over-the-counter pain medication to alleviate some of the discomforts you're experiencing until we can get you into the office to perform an exam. If you're experiencing swelling, a cold compress against the troubling area will help to reduce inflammation. 

Chipped Tooth

Chipping a tooth is more common than one might initially think, as it can happen to anyone, anywhere - whether drinking from a glass or hit something against your teeth.


  1. If possible, save any pieces of the tooth you still have, and apply gauze if you're experiencing any bleeding.
  2. Rinse your mouth with warm water and use a cold compress if there is any swelling.
  3. Contact your dentist to get you in as soon as possible. 

Knocked-out Tooth

A knocked-out tooth requires urgent attention if there are any chances of saving the tooth. If possible, try to place the tooth back in its socket, but do not force. If you can't replace the tooth, put it in a glass of milk or saltwater and take it to the dentist right away. 

Remedy: Make an emergency dental appointment, or visit an emergency room if the dentist is unavailable. Time is of the essence in this situation for the tooth to remain viable. 

Broken Dental Work

If you have lost a filling, crown, bridge, or other dental work that has come out of its cemented place.

Remedy: Save the pieces if possible and contact your dentist right away. Apply gauze over any areas that may be sharp to the tongue to prevent any cuts or further injury. 

Wisdom Teeth 

Experiencing severe pain or pressure on other teeth from a present wisdom tooth is your body's way of telling you that the tooth needs to be extracted. If you have recently had your wisdom teeth removed, you may also experience pain from dry sockets.

Remedy: Schedule an appointment with your dentist, who can discuss your extraction options with you to relieve your pain. If you're experiencing discomfort from an extraction, have your dentist examine the extraction site. 

Non-Dental Causes of Tooth Pain

Discomfort from tooth pain can sometimes fade on its own, while others will require professional help to relieve the discomfort you're experiencing. Sometimes pain that seems to be stemming from a tooth can be related to other health issues such as:

If You're In Pain, Call Your Dentist

Don't put up with discomfort because you don't feel like your injury or broken dental work is severe enough. Your health and your comfort matter. Give our office a call even if it's after hours.

In most cases, it's best to contact your dentist as soon as a dental emergency presents itself, and we do everything possible to see patients the same day the emergency occurs.

The cause of tooth pain is not always clear; however, Tompkins Dental is here to help you whether you're experiencing a dental emergency or if you're just simply uncomfortable. Our patients' comfort and good health are our top priority, so always contact us right away in an emergency dental situation.

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