Part of the UT Health Science Center

Emergency Dental Care

Also Called: 
abscessed tooth, emergency filling

Injuries to the gums and teeth should not be ignored, especially if they are causing serious pain that can not be managed with over-the-counter pain medication. Infections that are left untreated can lead to serious dental problems. Chips or fractures to teeth should be treated immediately so that the pulp of the tooth can be protected. Lost fillings or crowns also should receive immediate attention.

If a tooth has been knocked out, it must be re-implanted in the tooth socket quickly. Cells on the tooth’s root die every second the tooth is dislodged. You have fewer than two hours to have a tooth successfully reimplanted. Rinse the tooth with water. Do not dry or scrub the tooth. Reposition the knocked-out tooth in the tooth’s socket, and carefully and gently push it into place with your clean fingers. If the tooth will not stay in place, put it in water or milk, or tuck it next to your cheek. See an endodontist or dentist within 30 minutes.

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