When you have a dental emergency — whether it's caused by a sudden accident or chronic disease — your teeth and/or the tissues of the mouth that surround them need to receive proper care right away. As with any type of medical emergency, it's important to be aware, before you're actually in the situation, of what you can do to ensure the best outcome.

Traumatic Dental Injuries

Dental injury.A knocked-out permanent tooth requires quick thinking and immediate action. You'll increase the chances that the tooth can be saved if you pick it up without touching the root, gently clean it off with water, and put it back in its socket facing the correct way. Hold it in place with gentle pressure as you rush to the dental office or emergency room. If you can't replant it immediately, tuck it between the patient's cheek and gum, or carry it in a container of cold milk.

For a more traumatic injury such as a tooth that has been moved or loosened, treatment needs to occur within six hours. However, if there is uncontrollable bleeding, go immediately to the ER. Fortunately, other dental injuries that happen most frequently are less severe. The most common traumatic dental injuries are chipped teeth. If a tooth is chipped, try to find any pieces that have come off, as it might be possible to reattach them. Make an appointment for an office visit as soon as possible, and bring the pieces with you.

Learn more about Traumatic Dental Injuries.

Tooth Pain

Tooth Pain.Acute or persistent tooth pain always signals a need for an urgent visit to the dental office. The most common cause of dental pain is tooth decay, a bacterial infection that can spread through many parts of the tooth, and even into the gum tissue. Sometimes, tooth pain indicates that you may need a root canal treatment — a procedure that not only relieves the pain of an infection deep inside the tooth, but also can keep the tooth from having to be removed. Other times, pain may be caused by a loose filling or sensitive tooth. The only way to know for sure what's causing your tooth pain is to make an appointment at the dental office right away.

Learn more about Tooth Pain.

Gum Emergencies

Injuries and infections involving the soft tissues of the mouth may also require emergency treatment. The tissues of the gums, tongue, or cheek lining can be damaged by accidental bites, falls, sports injuries, and scalding liquids. They may also suffer injury from foreign bodies that become lodged below the gum line, and they can develop painful and potentially serious abscesses. A periodontal (gum) abscess is a pus-filled sac caused by an infection and is usually quite painful. Abscesses require immediate attention at the dental office.

Any injury to the soft tissues of the mouth should be rinsed with dilute salt water. If there is visible debris, it should be cleared. Bleeding can usually be controlled by pressing a clean, damp material to the area for 10-15 minutes. If this does not work, go to the emergency room immediately.

A foreign body lodged beneath the gum line can sometimes be gently worked out with dental floss or a toothpick. But if this can't be accomplished easily, make a dental appointment so the area does not become damaged and/or infected.

Learn more about Gum Emergencies.

Orthodontic Emergencies

Although there can be discomfort associated with orthodontic treatment, there are only a few true orthodontic emergencies. They include trauma or injury to the teeth, face or mouth. Infection or swelling of the gums, mouth or face, and severe, unmanageable discomfort or pain in these areas can also be orthodontic emergencies. In any of these situations, seek immediate care from the dental office or emergency room — whichever is your best option. For loose, broken or irritating pieces of orthodontic hardware, please call the dental office for advice.

Learn more about Orthodontic Emergencies.

Related Articles

Tooth Decay - Dear Doctor Magazine

Tooth Decay — A Preventable Disease Tooth decay is the number one reason children and adults lose teeth during their lifetime. Yet many people don't realize that it is a preventable infection. This article explores the causes of tooth decay, its prevention, and the relationship to bacteria, sugars, and acids... Read Article

Dental Injuries - Dear Doctor Magazine

The Field-Side Guide to Dental Injuries Accidents to the teeth, jaws and mouth can happen at any time during any sporting activity. Proper attention can save pain, alleviate anxiety and costly dental treatment. A little knowledge, as they say, can go along way. This field-side guide briefly explains some simple rules to follow when dealing with different dental injuries and when you need to see the dentist... Read Article

Tooth Pain - Dear Doctor Magazine

Tooth Pain? Don't Wait! Pain is a protective response that informs the body that something is wrong. Tooth pain, specifically, is caused by a reaction of the nerves inside a tooth's pulp chamber, with the severity dependent upon the type and degree of the stimulus. This article gives some examples of pain symptoms and their possible causes... Read Article

  • Traumatic Dental Injuries

    Traumatic dental injuries can occur in people of all ages and activity levels. The cause might be a car accident, a fall down the stairs, or an elbow to the face during a basketball game. As with most types of dental treatment, the primary goal when treating a traumatic dental injury is to save teeth

    Read more
  • Orthodontic Emergencies

    At first, having orthodontic treatment may take a little getting used to. It isn't uncommon to experience a bit of soreness when appliances are first put on, or some minor aches as teeth begin moving into new positions. Yet it's comforting to know that genuine orthodontic emergencies are rare. If you

    Read more
  • Gum Injuries

    When dental emergencies and pain occur, our attention is often focused on diseases and injuries related to the teeth. However, it's important to remember that the soft tissues of the mouth — the gums, tongue, lips and cheek lining — may also be affected. While they are tough enough to stand up to

    Read more
  • Tooth Pain

    At one time or another, almost everyone has probably experienced some degree of tooth pain, from minor aches and sensitivity to acute distress. In general, the sensation of pain is a protective response that tells the body something is wrong. But when it affects your teeth, the exact source of the pain

    Read more

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  • "Dr Steve Manson... Superb! Janese... Top notch manager

    Jan 14, 2016 5/5 stars"
    - Morison, Jacqueline
  • "best dentist in town, very modern.

    Dec 27, 2015 5/5 Stars"
    -Toure, Elhadji
  • "The stairs will become more difficult as I age.

    Nov 5, 2015"
    - Hogan, Debra
  • "great dentist great secretary most important his treatment is outstanding. special treatment who have fear!!

    Oct 22, 2015 5/5 Stars"
    - Scime, Rose
  • "There was time between appointments.. You don't feel that the doctor has no time for you. Dr Manson has time for your individual needs... What a great man!

    Aug 27, 2015 5/5 Stars"
    - Morison, Jacqueline
  • "The visit was with staff that was friendly and professional.
    June 27, 2015 5/5 Stars"
    - McEvoy, Joe
  • "Professional staff, make you feel comfortable as you can be in the dental chair. Any questions you have are always answered & explained to the fullest. Taken for your appt. on time.

    Jun 25, 2015 5/5 Stars"
    - Phelps, Ruth
  • "Dr Steve Manson exceeds the standards of excellence in dentistry. We need another ten more of Dr Steve around New York City.

    May 21, 2015 5/5 Stars"
    - Morison, Jacqueline
  • "The Staff is wonderful. Dr. Manson is the best Dentist I ever went to. Does excellent work, and NO PAIN... Hes mine forever. I tell everyone I know to only go to him...He is a professional in every way. 5 STARS ALL THE WAY!!!

    May 8, 2015 5/5 Stars"
    - scime, Rose
  • "I was treated by staff and colleagues very well.

    June 27, 2015 5/5 Stars"
    - Rywak, Tamara
  • "Always feel confident I am getting the best advice possible on any dental situation.

    Mar 24, 2015 4/5 Stars"
    - Phelps, Ruth
  • "You guys are awesome!!!
    Aug 5, 2014 5/5 Stars"
    - Antoian, Kerrianne
  • "Besides being a great dentist, Dr. Manson is kind and caring.

    Jul 2, 2014 5/5 Stars"
    - Immordino, Rosary
  • "Fantastic dentist; been going to him for 15 years. Very nice and professional receptionist/assistant. Dr. Manson is the best of all professionals: he is meticulous, extremely skilled and has a warm but focused manner. The best old school professionalism with state-of-the art dental care.

    Jun 20, 2014 5/5 stars"
    - DiLeo, Leslie
  • "the office is run in a very professional manner. No changes are really needed.

    Jun 17, 2014 5/5 Stars"
    - Daly, William
  • "As always Dr. Manson and his assistant Janice are excellent. I travel from eastern Long Island because they are excellent! I have been a patient for approximately 40 years.

    June 12, 2014 5/5 Stars"
    - Tavano, Claudia
  • "Fantastic office. Fantastic work.

    Jun 11, 2014 5/5 stars"
    - Rusin, Ruza
  • "Janice is excellent!!!!!!

    May 6, 2014 5/5 Stars"
    -Tavano, Lawrence
  • "ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL!

    Apr 24, 2014 5/5 stars"
    - Mushorn, William
  • "Janiece is a wonderful addition to Dr. Manson's practice. She is so helpful and wonderful with a calm demeanor. Perfect hire Dr. Steve!

    Apr 21, 2014 5/5 Stars"
    - Duffy, Robin
  • "No issues. Dr. Manson seemed very knowledgeable and I really appreciated his hands on approach.

    Apr 8, 2014 5/5 Stars"
    - Lodato, Anthony
  • "Dr. Manson was thorough, gentle and very understanding. Would absolutely recommend!"
    - Ikeguchi, Jennifer
  • "Don't change a thing...continue to do the excellent job and service I receive every three months.

    Mar 18, 2014 5/5 stars"
    - Morison, Jacqueline
  • "A fast thorough no nonsense cleaning procedure performed in a pleasant friendly manner.

    Mar 11, 2014 5/5 Stars"
    - Chu Mun, Donald
  • "No pain! Janice is great!

    1/19/2014"
    – K. Dicicco 5/5 Star
  • "PAINLESS....FOR ME....THAT SAYS IT ALL.!

    11/12/2013"
    - B. Mushorn 5/5 Stars
  • "Caring, efficient, meticulous, professional. What more do you want?

    11/6/2013"
    – D.Chu Mun 5/5 Star
  • "I have been going to Dr. Manson's office for 30 years. Starting with his Dad and then moving on to Dr. Steven Manson who is wonderful! I was someone who avoided dentists for many many years because i was fearful but if you do have that fear he will put you completely at ease. I know for a fact that had i not started when i did with him I would more than likely not have a tooth left in my head. I have very soft teeth with lots of decay from bad eating habits and he has fixed them all just perfectly. I do believe my fear came from having teeth pulled which didn't really have to be at a young age so just give him a try, just once, and your fears will be settled. You should also know I do not write reviews normally and that is how strongly i feel you will be happy with this choice. Good Luck and You're Welcome :)

    11/6/2013"
    – Anonymous 5/5 Star
  • "DR. Manson is highly skilled, caring and professional with an excellent staff that makes a trip to the dentist a pleasant experience. If you're looking for a great dentist in Long Island City- he's your man!

    10/13/2013"
    N. Ricci 5/5 Star
  • "Competent, caring, gentle, friendly. What more could you want?

    10/11/2013"
    – Immordino, R. 5/5 Sta
  • "I started going there with Dr. Roy Manson and when he retired I now see his son, Steven. They have been the most concerned about caring for you and not causing you any pain which other dentists did cause a great deal of pain in my youth. Very knowledgeable and always trying new and better methods of dentistry. I didn't have to wait long this time either which is a BIG plus.

    10/3/2013"
    - B. Trazino 5/5 Star
  • "Dr. Manson is a wonderful dentist that I have been going to for years and would highly recommend him…

    9/26/2013"
    – Costello, M. 5/5 Star
  • "Dr. Manson and his staff are extremely professional. I feel very confident at having my dental health in their care. Typically, my latest visit was a pleasant experience. My cleaning was performed successfully and efficiently.

    9/22/2013"
    – Daly, W. 5/5 Star
  • "Awesome

    8/23/2013"
    – Cheffolway, L. 5/5 Star
  • "The best dentist in all of the city, been going to Dr. Manson for 20+ years, he is kind, gentle and just an amazing dentist.

    8/23/2013"
    - R. Michele Marigliano 5/5 Star
  • "Dr. Manson is probably one of the BEST dentists in the area. Other then the fact that my entire family goes to him he really DOES care about his patients and his work (something that is hard to find these days.)

    8/21/2013"
    -– Anonymous 5/5 Stars
  • "As always the care was tops!

    7/27/2013"
    –Tavano, C. 5/5 Stars
  • "Every time I leave Dr. Manson's office (and it's been well over ten years since I first saw him), I think "what a fantastic dentist." He is skilled and meticulous in his work and senstitive to the patient's comfort. He makes smart use of the latest dental technology, and he is old-fashioned in the best sense of that description: focusing on quality care for the patient.

    7/5/2013"
    – Dileo, L. 5/5 Stars
  • "Another great and gentle dental experience with Dr. Manson!

    6/26/2013"
    – Anonymous 5/5 Stars
  • "Dr. Manson is the greatest. Puts you at ease and has hands of a surgeon.

    6/1/2013"
    – R. Motta 5/5 Stars
  • "Dr Manson is an excellent doctor.

    5/13/2013"
    – R. Tavano 5/5 Stars
  • "I have been a patient of Dr. Manson's for nearly thirty years, and would recommend him to anyone interested in receiving excellent dentistry without pain or stress.

    5/6/2013"
    – R. Owsley 5/5 Stars
  • "I always feel comfortable with Doctor Manson and i always get praise on my teeth and i said Thanks to Dr. Manson

    5/6/2013"
    – R. Cavaliere 5/5 Stars
  • "Dr. Manson is on my opinion the "Best Dentist" in New York. I have been a patient of Dr Manson fit over 25 years and would recommend him to everyone. As a Dentist he makes his patient feel at home and relaxed. Everyone in the office will make your visit as comfortable as you can be.

    5/1/2013"
    – R. Hidalgo 5/5 Stars