Have you suddenly broken a tooth and are in severe pain? Don’t fret, we have a few great options to consider so that you can escape this pain quickly.

What to Do When a Dental Emergency Occurs

One of the worst things anyone can experience in life is the excruciating pain caused by an exposed nerve or cracked tooth. This phenomenon can cause many major symptoms, including severe tooth pain, migraine headaches, and in some cases may be so severe that the pain radiates throughout the entire body, such as down an arm or even a leg. Luckily, there are some steps you can take before you get into the dentist that can lessen this pain to a tolerable level. Let’s read more about this.

What To Do In A Dental Emergency

Contact A Dentist

The first thing you should do when a dental emergency occurs is to contact your dentist. Your dentist may be able to get you in quickly to help you with this emergency. If your dentist cannot get you in quickly however, then contacting another dentist office, especially those that take walk-in patients, may be your best bet. If you think you are in immediate danger, such as a condition known as sepsis, which can be caused by a tooth abscess (although very rare) then you should immediately visit the emergency room or call 911. The emergency room may also prescribe a pain reliever and antibiotics to help alleviate this pain and infection, until you can see a dentist.


The most severe type of tooth pain commonly comes from a tooth abscess, which is a pocket of pus caused by an infection located near the infected tooth. This abscess creates pressure on the nerve, particularly within the pulp of the tooth, that results an excruciating pain. 


To reduce this swelling, you may want to consider taking a NSAID i.e (Ibuprofen, Advil) that will help reduce this swelling, which will result in reducing the pain caused by pressure build-up. 


If you are experiencing pain due to a non-infected dental emergency issue, such as a cracked tooth, then Tylenol would likely give better results, as ibuprofen is mainly best at reducing inflammation. Always talk to your doctor or dentist before taking any medication.

Topical Treatment

There are many products available over the counter that help reduce pain by placing the substance on or around the tooth. This helps by numbing the area, resulting in less pain. A very popular option is Orajel, which is best for mild pain. 


If you are experiencing severe pain, then any tooth numbing medication with the ingredient Eugenol would likely work best. Eugenol is known to instantly relieve throbbing pain caused by a multitude of things, such as infections, cracked teeth and more.

Ice Pack

If you do not want to take any medication, particularly an NSAID to reduce swelling in or around the infected tooth, then an Ice pack may work well for you. Not only does this help to reduce inflammation, but also acts as a distraction by forcing your brain to focus on the larger signal, which would likely be the ice pack. 


Do not use anything warm, as warmth tends to promote blood flow near the infected and could result in heightened inflammation, and could even draw the infection from the tooth out to the jaw and cheek. 

Final Thoughts 

Dental emergencies are exactly that; an emergency. This more often than not means that this person is experiencing excruciating pain, or may even have a painless abscess. Nonetheless, finding topical treatments and (OTC) medications is crucial, especially if your dentist appointment is a few days out, so we hope that we have guided you in the right direction and given you a few steps that you can take to relieve this pain.

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