Lakewood Dentists Tell You How to Handle a Dental Emergency

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A sign reading 'emergency' to convey urgent treatment for a dental emergency in Dallas, TX

Dental emergencies are often stressful, painful, and potentially dangerous if not treated promptly. Whether it’s a chipped tooth or a lost dental crown, knowing what to do in a dental emergency can help prevent pain and further damage. That’s why our general dentistry clinic in Dallas, TX, is here to help.

Are you experiencing a dental crisis? Don’t panic–call Lakewood Dental Group in Dallas, TX, now at (214) 827-1885. Dr. Shaun Sigurdson and Dr. Mihir Patel can help you assess the situation to get swift and proactive care.

Today’s blog is about what to do in certain dental emergencies. Knowing what to do before a crisis occurs can help you remain calm to avoid disastrous outcomes. So, keep reading to learn more about common dental emergencies and what steps you can take to address them until you can see a dentist.


Several things can cause a toothache, such as:

  • Cavities
  • Gum disease
  • A cracked tooth
  • An abscess 
  • Thinning tooth enamel
  • A missing or loose dental restoration

If you’re experiencing a toothache, the first thing you should do is inspect your mouth. You should look for any signs of:

  • Redness 
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding
  • New lumps or bumps
  • Black, brown, or white spots on the teeth
  • Dental damage, like chips or cracks

Whether you find the source of the toothache or not, it is important to keep the mouth clean. So, try swishing with warm salt water to keep the area clean and reduce swelling. Be sure to continue gently brushing and flossing, too.

You can also try taking over-the-counter pain medication (such as ibuprofen) to alleviate the pain. Additionally, cold compresses can help keep pain and swelling at bay. Simply apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel to the affected area for 20 minutes at a time. 

If the pain persists, contact your dentist to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. In the meantime, avoid eating hard or chewy foods, as they can aggravate the pain.

Broken or Chipped Tooth

A variety of factors can cause a broken or chipped tooth, including:

  • Trauma
  • Unexpectedly biting down on something hard
  • Tooth decay
  • Normal wear and tear

If you’ve broken or chipped a tooth, there are a few things you can do to minimize pain and prevent further damage

First, if you chip or break a tooth, try to save the broken pieces, if possible. Our skilled Dallas dentists may be able to reattach them. However, it is more likely that our team will use the broken pieces as a guide to building a custom-made restoration just for your smile.

If you are bleeding, apply gentle yet firm pressure to the area with a piece of clean gauze until the bleeding stops. If the bleeding does not stop after 24 hours, contact a medical professional as soon as possible. 

Next, it is important to keep the mouth and tooth clean. So, rinse your mouth with warm salt water to keep microbes at bay, and gently rinse the broken pieces of tooth with fresh water. Store the pieces of tooth somewhere safe until you can see a dentist.

A broken or chipped tooth can be a painful dental emergency. Therefore, we advise using a cold compress to mitigate pain and swelling. Again, simply wrap an ice pack in a soft towel, and apply it to the face as needed for up to 20 minutes at a time

Contact your dentist to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of the damage, your dentist may recommend a filling, crown, or root canal.

Knocked-Out Tooth

A knocked-out (or ‘avulsed’) tooth is a scary dental emergency. But, it is important to act quickly to increase the chances of saving the tooth. There are a few steps you should take to ensure the safety of the tooth and a successful replantation. 

First, pick up the tooth by the crown (that’s what dentists call the top part of a tooth) and avoid touching the root. The root is the bottom of a tooth, and it usually remains hidden under gum tissue. That’s because the roots of our teeth have sensitive nerves and blood vessels running through them, so they require the protection of our gums. 

But, it is because of the nerves and blood vessels found in tooth roots that touching them should be avoided. Otherwise, these delicate tissues may get damaged, making replantation less likely.

After picking the tooth up by its crown, be sure to rinse the tooth with fresh water. However, do not scrub, rub, or brush the tooth. There are tissue fragments on the tooth that must remain there for a successful reinsertion

If possible, try to reinsert the tooth into the socket. Keeping it in the socket can help keep the nerves and blood vessels alive while you are on the way to an emergency dentist in Dallas, TX. Just be careful not to push the tooth too far into the socket. That can damage the gum tissue, and it may prove very painful. 

If you can’t reinsert the tooth, place it in a container of milk or saline solution to keep it moist. One study finds that milk is, perhaps, the better medium in which to store an avulsed tooth. This is likely due to the minerals found in milk (like calcium, phosphorus, and potassium) that help preserve teeth better than saline or even saliva.

When it comes to knocked-out teeth, time is very much of the essence. So, be sure to contact your dentist immediately. If you cannot reach your dentist, do not wait–contact your family doctor or head to an emergency room. 

Here’s a general rule of thumb: if you can get to a dentist within 30 minutes of knocking a tooth out, there is a good chance that the tooth can be saved.

Have a dental emergency? We can help!

Nobody expects a dental emergency. That’s why the dentists at Lakewood Dental Group are on standby for you. Contact our emergency dentists in Dallas, TX, online here, or call our front desk at (214) 827-1885 for speedy assistance.