Dental emergencies can strike at any time, often without warning. Whether it’s a severe toothache, a broken tooth, or a knocked-out tooth, knowing how to prepare for an emergency dental visit can make the experience less stressful and more effective. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps to take before, during, and after an emergency dental visit in Burlington to ensure the best possible outcome for your oral health.


A dental emergency is any situation involving your teeth or gums that requires immediate attention. Common dental emergencies include:

  • Severe toothaches that cannot be alleviated with over-the-counter pain relievers.
  • Swollen jaws or gums which could indicate infection.
  • Broken or cracked teeth especially if there is pain or sharp edges.
  • Knocked-out teeth, which require quick action to re-implant successfully.
  • Lost fillings or crowns, leaving teeth vulnerable to damage and decay.

Recognizing these issues as emergencies is crucial in deciding when to seek urgent dental care.


Preparation is key to handling a dental emergency effectively. Here are some steps you can take to prepare before an emergency occurs:

  1. Know Your Dentist’s Emergency Policy: Familiarize yourself with your dental office’s emergency procedures. Know how to contact your dentist outside regular office hours. Some practices have a dedicated emergency number or provide instructions for after-hours situations.
  2. Keep a Dental First Aid Kit: Assemble a dental first aid kit that includes items such as gauze, a small container with a lid (for storing a knocked-out tooth), saline solution, and over-the-counter pain relievers. This kit can be invaluable in managing a dental emergency until you can see a dentist.
  3. Maintain Regular Dental Checkups: Regular visits can help your dentist spot and treat issues before they become emergencies. During these checkups, discuss how to handle potential emergencies, especially if you have ongoing dental concerns.


When a dental emergency strikes, the steps you take before reaching the dentist can significantly affect the outcome. Here’s what to do during common dental emergencies:

  1. For Severe Toothaches: Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss to remove any food caught between your teeth. Do not put aspirin on your aching tooth or gums.
  2. For a Knocked-out Tooth: Retrieve the tooth by the crown (the part that is not usually visible in the mouth). Rinse the tooth with water if it’s dirty but do not scrub it. If possible, gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket. If that isn’t possible, put the tooth in a container of milk or saline solution and head to the dentist immediately.
  3. For Cracked Teeth: Immediately rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area. Put cold compresses on your face to keep any swelling down.
  4. For Bites on Lips or Tongue: Clean the area gently with water and apply a cold compress.
  5. For Objects Stuck in the Mouth: Try to gently remove the object with floss but do not try to remove it with sharp or pointed instruments.


Once you get to the dental office, here’s how to manage the visit effectively:

  1. Communicate Clearly: Explain the situation thoroughly and clearly to your dentist. If you have managed to do any first aid (like saving a knocked-out tooth), let the dentist know immediately.
  2. Follow Instructions: Your dentist might give you specific instructions before starting treatment—be sure to follow these carefully.
  3. Discuss Follow-Up Care: Ask about the steps you should take following the emergency treatment. This may include taking prescribed medications, scheduling a follow-up appointment, or temporary diet changes.


Post-emergency care is crucial to ensure recovery and prevent future issues. Here’s how to manage after an emergency dental visit:

  1. Follow Your Dentist’s Advice: Adhere strictly to any guidelines or medication schedules your dentist provides to ensure proper healing.
  2. Rest and Recover: Depending on the emergency and treatment, you might need to rest and limit your activities, particularly anything strenuous that could affect your mouth.
  3. Eat Soft Foods: Stick to soft, easy-to-chew foods that won’t irritate your mouth. Avoid extremely hot or cold foods if your mouth is sensitive after the emergency.
  4. Monitor for Changes: Keep an eye on the affected area for any changes or worsening symptoms. If something doesn’t seem right, contact your dentist immediately.

Being prepared for a dental emergency can greatly reduce stress and lead to a better resolution. Remember, swift action and knowledgeable preparation are your best tools when facing a dental crisis. At Alton Dental, we are committed to providing prompt, compassionate emergency care when you need it most. Don’t hesitate to contact us in an emergency – your dental health is our top priority.