Is My Toothache an Emergency?

If you diligently brush and floss your teeth twice a day and visit your dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning, then chances are your oral health is in pretty good shape. Unfortunately, the unexpected is almost always imminent, and even the healthiest set of teeth can fall victim to circumstance.

A dental emergency can encompass a number of different situations, from a cracked or broken tooth to devastating trauma that knocks your tooth out of its socket. Sometimes, however, you might receive no other warning of a dental emergency than a sudden, overwhelming toothache. In either case, your best chance of finding relief and possibly saving the tooth lies in visiting your dentist as soon as possible.

Emergency Toothaches

Most people experience some level of tooth discomfort at some point in their lifetimes. In some cases, however, the aching can be so severe and debilitating that it can legitimately be considered an emergency. In fact, many working adults in America have had to take time off work to deal with one or more aching teeth.

If your tooth screams for immediate attention, rinse your mouth with warm water to wash debris away from the tooth. Dental floss will help you remove food or other debris trapped between your teeth. If swelling occurs, press something cold (i.e., ice pack, cold compress, bag of frozen peas, etc.) to the appropriate side of your mouth. Ingesting aspirin may help reduce pain, but do not rub aspirin on the tooth, as this can damage your gum tissue and further erode your tooth.

What About a Knocked-Out Tooth?

A toothache can be disconcerting, but perhaps even more serious is the sudden and complete loss of a tooth. Contact sports, an accident, or just an old-fashioned disagreement can sometimes result in an impact strong enough to totally dislodge your tooth from its secure seat in your jaw.

If you lose a tooth, don’t fret, it may not be lost to you for good. Find the tooth immediately (if possible) and rinse off any dirt or debris that it may have picked up. Rinse the tooth under running water; never scrub the tooth or remove any tissue fragments, as these may be critical to saving the tooth. Place the tooth in a cup of milk, and bring it to your dentist’s office. If you cannot find the tooth, check its previous spot in your mouth thoroughly to ensure that no part of it was driven into the soft gum tissue.


Our team offers our patients and their family access to comprehensive dental care, including general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry. To schedule an appointment with the Potach and Mitchell Dental Cliniccontact our Austin, MN dental office today by calling 507-437-6312. Our office welcomes patients from Austin, MN and surrounding communities.