What to do in a dental emergency


Uh oh… one of your worst nightmares has come to life, and you’re in the middle of a dental emergency! It can be very overwhelming, but with these 10 easy tips from your McKinney dentist Dr. Do, you’ll be well on your way to dental relief.

1) Don’t panic!

Like any emergency (health or otherwise) it’s important to give yourself a moment to get your bearings. It seems simple, but counting from one to ten while focusing on your breathing can slow your heart rate and help you make good decisions.

2) Call 911

This is another ‘gimme’. If there is extensive bleeding or if you feel faint, call 911 immediately. It’s always better to overreact than underreact. If you are bleeding, try to control with sterile medical gauze.

3) Check your dental insurance

Nothing is worse than being surprised by a bill because you’re ‘out of network’ for your dental insurance. Dr. Do of Red Oak Family Dentistry is in-network with all major PPO plans and is adding more all the time. You can see our current list of dental insurance providers here or give us a call to check if you’re covered. No insurance? No problem! We mean it! We strive to be an affordable option for all your dental needs, emergency or general. That’s why we offer our Red Oak Premiere Dental Plan. Enroll and you can save 30-50% off typical dental fees in the McKinney, TX area.

4) Contact your dentist

The sooner you can get to the dentist, the quicker relief will come. Just give Dr. Do and his staff a call by 5pm CST and we’ll work to accommodate emergency appointments. And the best part? The emergency exam will only cost you $1! What other dentist can boast a dollar menu and top-rate service to boot?

5) Collect teeth/fragments

In some cases, it is possible to save a knocked-out tooth. But it is vital to avoid handling and only touch the crown of your tooth. Never touch the root! You can rinse your tooth gently, but make sure you do not use too much force or alcohol to remove any dirt or grit.

6) Insert teeth back in mouth or store fragments properly

If your tooth is intact and permanent, you can carefully insert it back in place and then hold teeth lightly together. For baby teeth or fragments, you can place them in whole milk (it’s not a myth!) to keep them from drying out.

7) Control the pain

Use a cold (but not too cold) compress and apply gently to reduce swelling. You can also suck on ice but you should avoid popsicles full of sugar. Anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen and pain relievers such as acetaminophen can be taken according to their packaging.

8) Lost a filling? Broken crown?

Use our pro tip and hold a broken filling in place with sugar-free gum while you’re on your way to your appointment. Dental cement also works. But make sure not to swallow either crown or gum!

9) Trouble with Braces?

No matter how much pain you are experiencing from a wire with traditional orthodontics, do NOT cut it. If your mouth is irritated, use sterile gauze to protect your tissue. Cotton pads or balls also work.

10) Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Don’t try to drive with severe pain. Whether you call a friend, cab, Lyft, or Uber, don’t take the risk of being too distracted by the tooth pain to arrive at our office safely.

If you have any additional questions for Dr. Do, don’t hesitate to contact Red Oak Family Dentistry today or leave them in the comments below.

Until next time!  Have a nice day!


Dr. Anthony Do

Check out the rest of Dr. Do’s blog here!