Toothache: A very persistent toothache is always a sign that you need to see a dentist as soon as possible. In the meantime, you should try to obtain relief by rinsing the mouth with water and clean out debris from any obvious cavities. Use dental floss to remove any food that might be trapped  between the teeth. If swelling is present, place a cold compress to the outside of the cheek (DO NOT USE HEAT). Take pain relief if necessary, using pain medicines that you know you are safe with. Remember, no pain relief tablets will work directly on the tooth. They must be swallowed as directed. If placed on the tooth, they can cause more trouble (especially aspirin).

Braces or retainers: If a wire is causing irritation, cover the end of the wire with soft wax, a small cotton ball or a piece of gauze. If a wire is embedded in the cheek, tongue or gum tissue, DO NOT attempt to remove it; only a dentist should do this. If there is a loose or broken appliance, GO TO THE DENTIST OR ORTHODONTIST.

Knocked out tooth: If dirty, rinse tooth in milk holding it by the crown (not root). Alternatively, use water (few seconds only) or have patient suck it clean, then put the tooth back in the socket. If the tooth cannot be replanted, wrap in saran wrap or place it in milk or in the patient’s mouth inside the cheek. Go to a dentist within 30 minutes if you can. Time is critical for successful replanting.

Broken tooth: Try to clean debris from the injured area with warm water. If caused by a blow, place a cold compress on the face next to the injured tooth to minimize swelling. Try to find all the broken bits and bring them to the dentist while keeping them moist. Some broken bits can be bonded back onto the teeth. Go to the dentist as soon as possible.

Bitten tongue or lip: Apply direct pressure to bleeding area with a clean cloth. If swelling is present, apply cold compress. If bleeding doesn’t stop readily or the bite is severe, go to the dentist or hospital.

Objects wedged between teeth: Try to remove the object with dental floss. Guide the floss in carefully so as not to cut the gums. If unsuccessful, go to a dentist.