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How to handle dental emergency during holidays

Your teeth are probably the last thing you want to worry about during the holiday seasons and nobody wants to make a trip to the dental office while others are enjoying their holiday feasts. However, things sometimes just go wrong, at the worst possible time. If any dental emergency happens, the best thing to do is to call your dentist and let him/her know what's going on and listen to his/her advice. But it's no guarantee that you'll be able to reach your dentist during the holidays. In this post, we will give you some practical and easy tips on how to handle the most common types of dental emergencies before you can reach your dentist.


Toothache can totally ruin your holiday mood and it could be excruciating. Usually, toothache won't resolve by itself without any definitive dental treatment like root canal or extraction. The best thing to do is to make an appointment with your dental office ASAP. But there're many things you can do to ease the pain before your appointment.

  • Call your dentist ASAP! He/she can prescribe you antibiotics and pain medication that can effectively control your pain.

  • Take OTC pain medication such as Advil or Tylenol

  • Avoid drinking hot/cold beverage

  • Chew on the other side

If you Google online, you're likely to see many other recommendations. I personally don't recommend many of the them. Here're some of the examples:

  • DO NOT use topical numbing gels. They wash away very quickly and has very little effect on toothache since the pain is usually deeper.

  • Do NOT rinse with peroxide or alcohol. Again, toothache usually comes within the tooth or bone and those rinse won't have much effect. You can also get chemical burn on your gum or tongue if you use very concentrated solutions.

  • DO NOT put Aspirin over the tooth. Putting harsh chemicals over your tooth & gum can cause chemical burn and won't be effective against toothache.


Swelling is usually an indication of infection and can turn into very serious condition. If you're experiencing any kind of swelling, do make sure you call your dentist ASAP.

  • If your swelling is localized and small, you can follow the same protocol as for a toothache.

  • If you have very large facial swelling or diffuse swelling, you need to go to the nearest ER or Urgent care ASAP as this is a medical emergency! Untreated diffuse facial swelling can be a life-threatening situation and you'll definitely want to see a doctor ASAP.

A crown or a filling has come loose

Your tooth will likely be sensitive to hot/cold because the tooth is now exposed. You can go to the pharmacy and get temporary filling or temporary dental cement to temporarily put the crown back on. If you don't have access to a pharmacy, toothpaste can also act as temporary cement.

Fractured or knocked out tooth due to trauma

If you experience any injury that fractured your tooth or even knocked your tooth out of place, you may want to go to urgent care to make sure you don't have any fracture in your jaw or any concussion or other injuries.

If your tooth is loose, please avoid chewing or touching the tooth and go see your dentist as soon as you can

At Carlmont Dental Care, we try our best to be there for our patients, even during holidays. If you do experience any emergency during the holiday, please feel free to call Dr. Nancy Jiang at 650-591-1984 or email her at

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