Ryan M. Buckwalter, DDS, FICOI, FAGD

1420 Greenbrier Place
Charlottesville, VA 22901


How to Handle Dental Emergencies

Dental emergencies present a significant risk for everyone. Indeed, in 2018, over 2 million emergency room visits were dental-related. For that reason, you should know how to handle a dental emergency if one arises. From toothaches to knocked-out teeth, learn the proper steps to manage any emergency dental situation. Most important of all, should an accident cause dental trauma to occur, visit an emergency dentistry specialist as soon as possible.

Hillcrest Dental offers dentistry and oral surgeries to residents of Charlottesville, VA. Whether you require routine dental care or complex oral rehabilitation, our professional team can take care of it. Moreover, we’ll deliver top-quality dental work, professionalism, and smiling faces. To schedule an appointment, contact us at (434) 973-2224.

Below, we review several types of dental emergencies and how to handle them:


Treat toothaches and sensitive teeth by giving your mouth a thorough rinse with warm water. Remove food particles lodged between teeth with dental floss. Use a cold compress on the cheek or outside of your mouth to reduce any swelling. Feel free to take an over-the-counter pain reliever, and visit your dentist as soon as possible.

Chipped, Broken, or Dislodged Teeth

If a tooth breaks or chips, save any loose fragments and rinse them—as well as your mouth—with warm water. Apply gauze to the affected area for about 10 minutes or until bleeding stops. To reduce swelling and ease discomfort, place a cool compress on the exterior of the mouth near the chipped or broken tooth. Visit the dentist right away.

If a tooth partially dislodges, apply a cold compress to the cheek and take an over-the-counter painkiller if necessary. Visit the dentist immediately. They can take a digital x-ray to determine whether your tooth can be bonded or extraction and dental implants are needed.

Knocked-Out Teeth

Locate the tooth, hold it by the crown, and rinse off any dirt. Don’t scrub it or take off any connected tissue pieces. Try to reposition the tooth in the mouth if possible. Ensure it’s positioned correctly, though you should not force it into the socket.

If you cannot replace the tooth in the socket, place it in a container with a cell growth medium, such as milk or Save-a-Tooth. If necessary, you can even hold the tooth in your mouth. Try to reach a dentist within an hour of dislodging the tooth to give it the best chance of survival.

Lost Fillings or Crowns

If you’ve lost a tooth filling, place a piece of sugarless gum or over-the-counter dental cement into the cavity and then visit the dentist as soon as you can.

If your tooth’s crown falls off, take it to the dentist immediately for reapplication. If you can’t get there right away, apply some clove oil to any painful areas with a cotton swab. Coat the inner surface of the crown with toothpaste, denture adhesive, or over-the-counter dental cement—not glue! Then, put the crown back over the tooth, if you can.

Soft-Tissue Injuries or Abscesses

Bleeding may occur if you injure your tongue, cheeks, gums, or lips. To treat such injuries, rinse your mouth with a gentle saltwater solution. Then, apply pressure to the bleeding area with a tea bag or wet gauze.

For 15 to 20 minutes, apply a cold compress to the cheek or outside of the mouth. Visit the dentist or emergency room right away if the bleeding doesn’t stop. Keep applying pressure to the area with gauze until you can receive treatment.

Tooth abscesses are infections that develop between the gums and teeth. If left untreated, they may harm or infect nearby teeth and surrounding tissue. If you have an abscess, you should rinse your mouth with salt water several times a day to ease discomfort and draw the pus to the surface.

Emergency Dentistry Service in Charlottesville, VA

Hillcrest Dental’s emergency dentistry specialists are equipped to handle your oral emergency. Since 1953, we’ve provided dental services to our Charlottesville, VA, clients when they needed it most. With almost 70 years of experience offering personalized, patient-centered care, our team is equipped to treat any emergency dental situation. Call (434) 973-2224 to schedule a general or emergency appointment.

  • "I am very pleased with how my appointment went yesterday. Everyone was really friendly. They explained everything to me about the procedure and stayed late to assure I was comfortable with the work I had done. Dr Ryan Buckwalter and his assistants were awesome. I highly recommend them for any dental work. Thank you."

    Donnette M.

  • "I was having toothache pain in my lower jaw. I called the next day to make an appointment and was given an appointment time for the very next day. I saw Dr. Ryan, who is knowledgeable, caring and has great people skills with his patients. I made another appointment to come back and have the work done."

    Denise K.

  • “Dr. Buckwalter and his assistant did a wonderful job with our 8 year old today. While they were busy talking teeth, my 3 year old was enjoying his new lip balm and balloon! Finished up with a treat from Starbucks with our gift card. So glad our kiddos don’t fear the dentist. More like they want to keep stopping in."

    Logan D.

  • “Unbelievable experience with Dr. Ryan Buckwalter. Night and Day difference from my last dental experience with another dentist. I no longer fear the dentist!”

    David S.