What to Do If a Friend or Family Member Has a Dental Emergency

Can you imagine yourself at the dinner table of a get-together with friends, and one of your friends accidentally bites down on a bone and breaks off a piece of their tooth, exposing the nerve? Or what about when you find your spouse has just had a crown fall off?

We all have a natural urge to help in such situations, so it would be quite beneficial to know what you can do in such circumstances.

First, let’s separate out the “urgent” emergencies from the “non-urgent” emergencies. Urgent emergencies would be situations where the person is experiencing unbearable pain or has bleeding that won’t stop after a short period of time. Unless you can find a dentist immediately who can see them, take them to the nearest medical emergency room for immediate short-term treatment.

The staff in the emergency room can at least alleviate the pain and/or stop the bleeding until a dentist can be found to handle the underlying problem. Emergency room personnel cannot perform extractions. Only a dentist can.

In any case, get them to the dentist AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Not knowing what is at the root of the problem, you cannot tell how much time you have before the condition starts to affect the rest of the body. There is no intention to be unduly alarming here, but some heavy infections, such as abscesses, can migrate into the bloodstream and cause serious trouble, and fast.

Non-urgent emergencies are still genuine emergencies, but the condition can be managed somewhat until your dentist is able to be contacted for your friend or family member. This includes such things as the following:

  • A cracked or broken tooth (providing it isn’t causing severe pain)
  • A filling that comes out
  • A crown or bridge that comes loose
  • A broken or damaged retainer or night guard
  • Food lodged between the teeth
  • A dull toothache

If you happen to have someone right in front of you as you read this article and they have a non-urgent emergency, just go to our Emergency Dental Treatment page and read what it says you can do.

Further information is available by clicking these links:


Of course, if you are reading this now and you are not yet in front of a person who has such an emergency, you can always come back to our website if you have online access. But to be totally prepared, do the following:

Print the pages from the above links and put them in your car’s glove box. You are usually not very far away from your car no matter what else is going on. If you want to be so prepared that it would not matter where you are, make a copy of the pages and put them in a small pocket in your purse (if that is what you are carrying), or make a small card with the weblinks and instruction and put it in your wallet.

Dr. Padolsky is an Atlanta Dentist who gladly accepts emergencies. He is even open for full services on Saturday so you have the most convenient times available to get what you need. He is very experienced and skilled in all major dental procedures, and can competently take care of emergencies of almost any nature in the comfort of our office.

We work diligently to get you or anyone you know taken care of immediately when there is an emergency. Give us a call no matter what time of day or night. We’ll get you in for treatment as soon as possible.