Things that need emergency dental and/or first aid care include:
- Broken tooth
- Knocked-out tooth
- Fractured jaw
- Abscess tooth (inflammation and/or infection in the bone and/or the tooth’s canals)
To protect your teeth:
- Brush with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day.
- Floss daily.
- See your dentist for regular dental cleanings and check-ups.
- Don’t chew ice, pens, or pencils.
- Don’t use your teeth to open paper clips or function as tools.
- If you smoke a pipe, don’t bite down on the stem.
- If you grind your teeth at night, ask your dentist if you should be fitted for a bite plate to
prevent tooth grinding.
- If you play contact sorts like football or hockey, wear a protective mouth guard.
- Always wear a seat belt when riding in a car.
- Avoid sucking on lemons or chewing aspirin or vitamin C tablets. The acid wears away tooth
Even when these preventive measures are taken, you may encounter toothaches and other dental
First Aid for a toothache (until you get professional help):
- To reduce pain, take aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen sodium. (Note: Do not give
aspirin or any medication that has salicylates to anyone under age 19, unless a doctor tells you
to.) Hold an ice pack on the jaw.
- Never place a crushed aspirin on the tooth. Aspirin burns the gum and destroys tooth enamel.
- Do not drink very hot or cold liquids.
- Do not chew gum.
- Avoid sweets, soft drinks and hot and spicy foods. (These can irritate cavities and increase
pain.) It may be best not to eat at all until your see your dentist.
- Gargle with warm salt water every hour.
- For a cavity, pack it with a piece of sterile cotton soaked in oil of cloves (available at
- See a dentist even if the pain subsides.