How Do I Address a Dental Emergency?

What is a dental emergency? Simply put, this refers to any damage and/or pain that develop in your teeth or gums. You may be wondering, “How do I address a dental emergency?” There are steps you can take to alleviate discomfort before you see a dentist or oral surgeon. However, if the issue is life threatening we urge you to call 911 or proceed to the nearest emergency room.

Try Our Dental Emergency Quiz

  1. True or False: You should bring a knocked out tooth to the office with you.
  2. True or False: There are steps to ease discomfort if you chip a tooth.
  3. True or False: Call the doctor if a restoration becomes loose.
  4. True or False: You should call us if you develop a toothache.

Answer Key

  1. True. If you have a tooth knocked out pick it up (by the crown, never touch the root) and rinse it under gently running water to remove foreign debris. Then, if possible place it back in the socket and gently bite down to hold it in place. If this is impossible, you can put it in a glass of milk and bring it to the office with you.
  2. True. If you merely chip a tooth, still try to recover the pieces and bring them with you. If the area around your teeth bleeds, then place a piece of gauze on it. You can also put a cold compress against the side of your face to stem any bleeding.
  3. True. If you have a loose crown or filling dental cement from a pharmacy can hold it in place until you see the doctor.
  4. True. If the pain is sudden and persistent then yes, contact the dentist.


Dr. Shawn Hofkes and the staff at Cerritos Dental Surgery are highly qualified to address complex issues, including those that require oral surgery to correct. To schedule an appointment or consultation with Dr. Hofkes, contact us today by calling 562-584-4082. We proudly welcome patients of all ages from Cerritos, CA, and all surrounding communities, such as Lakewood, Long Beach, Buena Park, and more.