Dental problems are among the most common of medical conditions. Although rarely serious in nature, they can be very painful and if not treated properly, may lead to major complications. What follows are first aid tips for some common problems. Note that these are only ways to immediately respond to problems and do not replace the need to see a dentist who should be contacted as soon as possible.


A Chipped Tooth

  • Rinse out your mouth with warm water to remove any fragments of the tooth that may be lodged there.
  • Spit the water onto a clean piece of cloth and collect any pieces of the tooth that may be found on the cloth.
  • Take the pieces of the tooth to the dentist so he can more accurately evaluate the extent of the damage and decide on what action to take.
  • If there is any bleeding on the gums, lips or cheeks, use gauze to stop it.
  • Apply a cold compress directly over the area of the pain to bring it down and to reduce swelling.

A Knocked Out Tooth

  • Pick up the tooth gently with the fingers.
  • Hold it by the crown and rinse it off.
  • If possible try and re-insert the tooth into the gum, making sure that it is facing the correct way. Contact a dentist as soon as possible.
  • If it is not possible to reinsert the tooth, place it in a clean container of salt water or milk until you are able to reach the dentist.

Particles Stuck Between The Teeth

  • Use dental floss to try and remove the particle or matter lodged between the teeth.
  • If floss does not dislodge it, do not try to use any hard and sharp implements to remove it as these could damage the enamel of the teeth or injure the gums or other delicate tissue.
  • Even if the discomfort caused by the particle is not great, do not delay visiting a dentist to have it removed.

A Lost Crown

  • If a crown becomes loose and falls off, retrieve it gently with your fingers.
  • Only a dentist will be able to put it back, if possible, or alternatively make a new one.
  • If the loss of the crown causes any tooth pain, you can try to temporarily reinsert the crown.
  • Toothpaste can be used as a temporary adhesive to hold the crown in place for a short while.

An Abscess

  • An abscess in the mouth is a sign of an infection and must be treated as soon as possible.
  • If treatment is delayed the infection could spread to other parts of the body and result in serious complications.
  • A small painful pimple-like swelling on the gums is often the sign of an abscess.
  • Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water will help to relieve the pain and reduce swelling until the dentist can be visited.

Article by Dr.S.Preethi, BDS, MBA (Health Care Management)
Lead Executive – Medical Services, Kauvery Hospital