Dental Emergencies

Dental Emergencies

Dental emergencies can happen to anyone, anywhere.  If you are experiencing a dental emergency NOW please call us immediately at (208) 337-4383

If your call is after regular office hours please call this same number. You will be instructed how to get hold of the doctor.

Everyday Dental Emergencies
Regardless of the nature of the emergency – from an athletic injury to an object lodged under the gum – dental injuries can be painful.

To help you deal with common dental emergencies we have prepared this outline of what you can do until you get to see us.  Just click on any of the topics below to learn how to treat that emergency.  It’s always best to know beforehand what to do when a dental emergency strikes.


The most common dental concern, and the most frequent reason why patients call their dentist, is toothache. A toothache is any dental pain in or around a tooth. The cause can be anything from a cavity that has reached a nerve, an abscess or infection, sensitivity to hot or cold or something lodged between teeth or under the gums.

A toothache tells you that something is wrong and needs to be fixed. Even though the following information may help reduce or even eliminate toothache pain, this is only temporary. You need to call our office (208) 337-4383 as soon as possible so we can correct the cause of the pain.

First, try rinsing your mouth out with warm water, swishing it around the sore tooth. Then, carefully floss around the tooth to see if there is anything that could be lodged under the gumline or between teeth.

You may also rinse your mouth with warm salt water. Mix about ½ teaspoon of salt in one cup of warm (not hot) water. Vigorously swish it around in your mouth for about a minute then spit it out.

You can then dab, using a cotton swab, clove oil directly on the painful tooth. Clove oil helps kill bacteria plus it is a remarkable and natural numbing anesthetic. You can also take aspirin, ibuprophen (such as Advil®, Motrin®) or acetametaphen (such as Tylenol®) according to directions to help further ease the pain.

Call us at (208) 337-4383 for an appointment and we’ll see you as soon as possible. You can reapply the clove oil every hour until you are able to see us.

Chipped Tooth

If you should have a tooth that is chipped (usually due to a blow) check, first, to see if it is causing actual tooth pain as opposed to pain associated with the blow. Rinse your mouth and, specifically, the tooth with warm water. If there is no sensitivity to pressure, if it’s not bleeding, or if cold air doesn’t increase the pain, then the chip is probably not very deep.

At your earliest convenient time call us at (208) 337-4383 to schedule an appointment. Dr. Jeppe will check the extent of the damage and can smooth the jagged edges of the tooth, apply a composite material to build the tooth back up or use another of our many dental options to restore the appearance and function of your bite and smile.

If the tooth is painful, especially if it is very sensitive to heat or cold, the tooth nerve may be affected. Call our office at (208) 337-4383 immediately and we’ll see you right away. Try to avoid hot or cold drinks, food or even cold air. You can use clove oil to reduce the pain and protect against bacteria and take your preferred over-the-counter pain medication (aspirin, ibuprophen [such as Advil®, Motrin®] or acetametaphen [such as Tylenol®]).

Call us at (208) 337-4383 for an appointment and we’ll see you as soon as possible.

Cracked or Broken Tooth

A cracked or broken tooth should be repaired as soon as possible to prevent increased damage.  A broken tooth is generally caused by a strike or blow to the tooth.  A crack may be caused by a strike, but it could also be caused by pressure from biting or grinding, specially on a tooth that may be compromised from other dental weakness, such as a cavity.

If you have a cracked or broken tooth, call our office right away for an appointment.  In the meantime, rinse the mouth and tooth with warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon salt to 1 cup of water).  You can then apply a drop of clove oil using a cotton swab directly on the break or crack to help numb the pain.

You can also take your preferred over-the-counter pain medication (aspirin, ibuprophen (such as Advil® or Motrin®) or acetametaphen (such as Tylenol®)).  Try to avoid hot or cold air or liquids as the tooth will be very sensitive to temperature.

Call us at (208) 337-4383 for an appointment and we’ll see you as soon as possible.

Knocked-Out Tooth

If you or a child has a tooth knocked out hold the tooth by the crown (the part you bite and chew with).  Gently rinse the tooth in water (don’t scrub it or remove any tissue) and first try to reimplant it into the socket. If a tooth is left out of the socket for more than an hour its ability to grow back is greatly diminished.

If you are unable to put the tooth back in, put it in a cup with siliva or milk or just put it in your mouth to keep it from drying out.

Then call our office immediately (208) 337-4383 and we’ll see you as soon as possible.

Lost Filling or Crown

Fillings and crowns may sometimes loosen and fall out. This is rarely a dental emergency but it can be painful because the soft, exposed surface of the tooth is more sensitive to pressure, air and hot or cold temperatures.

If you discover you have a filling or crown that has come out (usually while you are eating) don’t panic. You can discard the filling as it won’t be of any use in repairing the tooth, but if it’s a crown, keep it in a safe place to bring with you when you come to see us.

Call our office so we can see you at your earliest convenience. Please don’t wait too long as the exposed tooth is weak and could become damaged.

If the tooth is sensitive take a cotton swab and dab a drop of clove oil on the exposed part of the tooth. You can purchase clove oil in pharmacies or in the spice aisle of most supermarkets.

If you have the crown, carefully clean it out as best you can. There are temporary dental cements available in the dental section of your pharmacy that you can use to cement your crown back into place until you can come in. Or, you can use petroleum jelly as a temporary adhesive. Please do not use household cements on crowns (such as “superglue”) as they are not safe to put in your mouth and can damage the tooth and the crown. You can also use dental cement to cover the tooth or fill the exposed part of the tooth to help seal out bacteria and food particles. But remember, these are all just temporary solutions.

Then call our office immediately (208) 337-4383 and we’ll see you as soon as possible.

Something Stuck Between your Teeth

A common cause of tooth pain or discomfort is hard food or other foreign objects stuck between your teeth or below your gums. One of the most common stuck objects is popcorn kernels or skins. If not removed a foreign object can cause pain or irritation and could even lead to infection.

If you have something caught between your teeth or below the gums gently floss your teeth to try to remove the object. You may even tie a simple knot in the floss and use it to dislodge the object.

Please, never poke a sharp object such as a pin or something similar to that as it may cut your gums or scratch the enamel surface of your tooth. If you are unable to get the object out give us a call at (208) 337-4383.

Injury to Lips, Cheeks or Gums

We’ve all done it. We’ve been merrily enjoying a meal or snack when we’ve bitten the inside of our cheek or lip. And it seems that only minutes later we bite the same place again, which is now even more sensitive.

Injury to the soft tissues of your mouth are often self-inflicted or caused by an outside force. When you have injured the soft tissues of the mouth there is generally little bleeding, but if there is it will usually stop in just a few minutes.

If you have an injury to the soft tissue of your mouth do the following:

  1. Rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon to one cup of water).
  2. If there is bleeding or swelling place a small rolled piece of damp gauze to soak up the blood or to hold the cheek away from being bitten again.
  3. To slow bleeding or reduce swelling hold ice to the area for five or 10 minutes.
  4. If the bleeding doesn’t stop within a few minutes the injury may be serious. Call us at (208) 337-4383 for instructions and so we can see you right away. If it appears more serious go to the emergency room of your hospital.

Jaw Injury or Possible Fracture

In the event of a severe accident or facial trauma there is the possibility of a broken jaw. If you think your jaw might be broken or seriously injured, apply a cold compress to the area to minimize swelling.

Call us immediately at (208) 337-4383 or go to the emergency room of the hospital.

Sports Injuries

Dentists estimate that anywhere from 13% to 39% of dental injuries occur while playing sports. Of that it is estimated that nearly 80% of all dental injures affect one or more of the front teeth. Further, reports that 60% of organized sports-related injuries occur during practiceNOT during the game. Sports injuries can cause any of the previous emergency situations already outlined. If you or a family member participates in sports or active recreational pursuits we recommend two types of safety precautions to minimize injury and dental emergencies:

Helmets – If you participate in any activity involving speed or impact (football, skateboarding, biking, downhill skiing, etc.) wear an appropriate helmet. Please make sure it fits correctly and is worn properly.

Mouth Guards – Wearing a properly fitted mouth guard is one of the best ways to prevent a sudden trip to our office. Replacing a knocked-out tooth can cost as much as 20 times the cost of a custom-made mouth guard. Learn more about the types of mouth guards available by clicking here

Remember, the best emergency treatment is prevention.