No matter how well you take care of our teeth, there are always going to be things out of your control that might damage our bright, white smiles. Sports injuries, traffic accidents, falls, and other unfortunate unforeseen events can require emergency dental care in order to preserve our teeth. Teeth tend to be pretty tough, but if the worst should happen to your teeth, here’s what to do.


First of all, don’t panic. Each kind of dental emergency has a solution that your emergency dentist, can carry out in order to return your smile to its unblemished state. Chances are that your dentist has dealt with something similar before and will know how to treat it. However, apart from immediately calling your dental office, there are a few initial steps you can take to take control of the situation. Stay calm. Keeping your head during a time of stress, such as experiencing a dental emergency, can allow you to clearly envision what you need to do to begin recovering. Do your part. There are a number of ways you can help preserve your smile and expedite the healing process even before you visit the dental office. Below is a list of common injuries that may require an emergency dentist, as well as what you can do:

  • Knocked out tooth. Be careful not to touch the roots. Rinse the tooth to remove any dirt or debris, then try to set the tooth back in. You may gently bite down on a tea bag or piece of gauze, or, if the tooth will not set, you may keep the tooth in a bag of milk until you see your dentist.
  • Broken tooth/chipped tooth. Depending on the severity of the chip, you may need medical attention. However, for minor chips, you should cover the area with a damp paper towel or washcloth to avoid cutting the inside of your mouth.
  • Objects caught between teeth. Use floss to try and remove the object. Do not use other sharp implements that may damage your gums; contact your emergency dentist if the object does not dislodge.
  • Abscessed Tooth. This usually occurs when bacteria penetrates the outer layers of a tooth and spreads to the pulp. The abscess may cause swelling in the sides of the face or in the neck, serve pain, difficulty opening the mouth and fever.

Again, these are the most common cases when you would need an emergency dentist. More rare or severe emergencies may require immediate emergency assistance. The dental emergency may also occur after hours, in which case you may also have to seek medical attention. Be prepared. Avoid having to Google the phrase “emergency dentist near me” after you are already in need or in pain. Have your emergency dentist’s phone number someplace visible such as on the refrigerator, or keep a business card in your wallet or purse for easy access. That way, you will have it on hand if your teeth are in any way injured while away from home. Accidents happen. And when yours do, be sure to know where you can find emergency dental care to stop the problem before it gets worse. Dr. Jim Snow, in Encinitas, has been practicing general and cosmetic dentistry since 1994. He and his team are available for any 760-436-7222.