What to Do in a Dental Emergency - Smiles on Queen - Family Dentistry in Bolton
Select Page

You use your mouth daily to talk, drink, eat and express emotions. At times accidents involving the mouth or teeth may occur due to misuse, blunt force or any other unavoidable mishap. When you have a dental emergency, you need to get treatment as quickly as possible. Delaying treatment can lead to permanent damages. Depending on the severity of the accident, you can handle it at home. However, if the accident was severe you may need to visit a dentist.


Lockjaw occurs when the jaw won’t open. This results from muscle spasms of the jaw. It can be caused by:

  • Medications
  • Cancer treatments
  • Infections
  • Teeth grinding
  • Cancer treatments

If not treated, lockjaw can cause a number of serious issues:

  • Tooth decay
  • Impaired speech
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Decreased saliva production

What to do at home

Wearing a mouth guard will prevent nighttime teeth grinding which can cause your jaw to be tight or tense. Using cold or hot compress can offer some relief. Some facial exercises can also help. You can try the following:

  • Open the mouth and rub the muscles located next to the ears.
  • Open and close your mouth repeatedly in small movements. This reduces muscle tightness in the jaw.
  • Smile widely then inhale and exhale. Smiling reduces stress in facial muscles.
  • If you are experiencing a lot of pain, you should not do any of these exercises. Forced movements can worsen the condition.

When to visit a dentist

If the lockjaw persists for several days, you should see a dentist. A dentist will:

  • Take X-rays to identify the source of the lockjaw
  • Prescribe medications
  • Perform corrective surgery
  • Adjust the jaw manually in the office
  • Recommend Botox injection to loosen the jaw

Mouth Burn

These are very common. They are caused by taking a beverage or food that is too hot. If not treated immediately you may experience slow healing and in the worst cases, you might get an infection or suffer permanent nerve damage.

What to do at home

  • Drink cold water to stop the damage
  • Drink milk to relieve itching as the wound heals
  • Apply Aloe Vera gel to reduce discomfort. Use Aloe Vera designed for oral use.
  • Allow the skin to heal on its own. Brush your teeth gently and don’t pick at the peeling skin
  • Rinse the mouth using saltwater to prevent any infection

When to visit a dentist

First-degree burns can be treated at home. If you, however, suspect you have 2nd or 3rd degree burn you should see your dentist immediately. Darkening, weeping skin, and clear blisters are a sign of 2nd or 3rd-degree burns. Infants and older adults should see a dentist immediately because they have a difficult recovery from these burns. You should also see your dentist if you experience prolonged burning after several days. Persistent burning may be burning mouth syndrome (BMS). Oral medication as well as cognitive behavioral therapy are needed to treat BMS.

Other common dental emergencies involve a cracked or broken tooth and an object stuck between the teeth. If you are not sure of how severe the incident is it is wise to see a dentist. It is also wise to have the contacts of a reliable emergency dentist long before an emergency arises.