How to Handle a Dental Emergency

woman with toothache sitting in the dental chair

How you react when an emergency occurs often determines how likely it will be that treatment is either successful or unsuccessful. Dental emergencies are no different. Knowing what constitutes as a dental emergency and what to do should one occur is the best method for saving your smile.

Dental emergencies are actually much more common than people realize. When most people think of a dental emergency, they think only of a knocked out tooth. However, there are many more types of dental emergencies, and it is important that you know what determines an emergency situation.

  • Cracked or broken tooth
  • Damaged dental bridge or crown
  • Dental bleeding
  • Extreme tooth sensitivity
  • Infection or abscess in the mouth
  • Injured jaw
  • Knocked out tooth
  • Lost filling
  • Swelling in the mouth
  • Tooth pain

Many of these situations listed above are often not viewed as dental emergencies – and that is what causes people to get into a great deal of trouble with their oral health. What you need to understand is that because the mouth is home to millions of bacteria on any given day, the mouth is unable to promote self-healing. Ignoring a “lesser” dental emergency because you think that it will pass or that it can wait until your next dental visit can lead to the need for extensive and expensive dental intervention. While a knocked out tooth needs to be addressed within an hour or two, the other dental emergencies should wait no longer than two or three days to be addressed.

Should a knocked out tooth occur, there are four specific steps that you must follow for the best chance of saving and restoring your tooth. Once a tooth has been knocked out of, or knocked loose from, its socket, time if of the essence.

  1. Find the tooth quickly.
  2. Rinse it off without scrubbing it, and try to gently place it back into its socket.
  3. If unsuccessful at placing the tooth, keep it moist in a small amount of milk or your own saliva.
  4. Get to your dentist immediately.

At Peninsula Dentistry, we are here to provide the care that you need. If a dental emergency occurs, please contact our practice right away.

Posted on behalf of Peninsula Cosmetic & Family Dentistry

538 Savannah Hwy
Charleston, SC 29407

Phone: (843) 507-5481

FAX: (843) 577-4653


Monday - Thursday 8am - 5pm
Lunch break: 1pm - 2pm

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Our Patients Reviews

Absolutely phenomenal dental office. Not only are the dentists outstanding at their craft but, like every person in the office, they are incredibly friendly and genuine. And that is so important. I earnestly recommend Peninsula if you are looking for the highest quality care, expertise and, equally important, quality people. I would give them 10 stars if I could.
Matthew W. L.
The BEST dentist. Megan the hygienist is always so professional and thorough! Every time I have a visit here the staff from the front desk to back are always so efficient and courteous. Dr. McPherson is an amazing dentist and always takes time to explain everything in a way that makes sense. I will only go to Peninsula for all my dental needs!
Dana M.
Excellent staff and excellent experience from entering until leaving. Dr. McPherson is terrific!! Her assistant Kate is very knowledgeable and caring. I felt like I had two dentist attending to me. This was my first visit to this practice. I’ll always remain a patient due to my experience
John C.

Meet Our Doctors

Dr. James B. Wisner

Dr. James B. Wisner was raised in Charleston and attended Porter-Gaud High School. He graduated from The Honors College at The University of South Carolina in 1996 and received his D.M.D. degree in 2002 from the Medical University of South Carolina’s College of Dental Medicine.

Dr. Wisner served in Las Vegas, Nevada and Spangdahlem, Germany as a Captain in the United States Air Force for three years where he completed an AEGD residency and was certified in Intravenous Conscious Sedation.

Dr. Caitlin McPherson

Dr. Caitlin McPherson was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina. A graduate of Porter Gaud High School, she went on to receive her Bachelors of Science from Clemson University’s Calhoun Honors College. Dr. McPherson earned her Doctorate of Dental Medicine from the Medical University of South Carolina’s College of Dental Medicine. She is an active member of The American Dental Association and The Academy of General Dentistry.

Dr. McPherson performs all aspects of general dentistry and is Invisalign certified. Dr. McPherson especially enjoys treating pediatric patients.


538 Savannah Hwy
Charleston, SC 29407

Phone (843) 507-5481
Fax (843) 577-4653

Opening Hours

Monday - Thursday 8am - 5pm
Lunch break: 1pm - 2pm

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