Houston's Trusted Emergency Dentist: Immediate Dental Care in TX

Dental emergencies are quite frightening and often painful.  Prompt treatment is almost always required to alleviate pain and to ensure that the teeth have the best possible chance to return to normal. Dr. Ross Pickei is trained to manage your dental emergencies in an efficient and timely manner.

Sometimes, teeth become fractured by trauma, grinding, or biting on hard objects.  In other cases, fillings, crowns, and other restorations can be damaged or become damaged.  If there is severe pain, it is essential to contact West University Dentistry immediately.  The pain caused by dental emergencies almost always increases without treatment and ultimately can affect multiple teeth or jeopardize systemic health.



Types of dental emergencies and how to handle them

Avulsed tooth (tooth knocked out)

If a tooth has been knocked clean out of the mouth, it is essential to see Dr. Pickei immediately.  When a tooth exits the mouth, tissues, nerves, and blood vessels become damaged.  If the tooth can be placed back into its socket within an hour, there is a chance the tissues will grow to support the tooth once again.

Here are some steps to take:

1.    Call West University Dentistry ASAP.

2.    Pick up the tooth by the crown and rinse it under water or milk to remove any loose debris.  DO NOT touch the root or scrub or dry the tooth.

3.    If possible, place it back into its socket root side down – if not tuck it into the cheek pouch to keep it moist with your saliva.

4.    If the tooth cannot be placed in the mouth, put the tooth into a cup of milk, saliva, or Hank’s balanced salt solution (HBBS).  It is important to keep the tooth from drying out.

5.    Get to West University Dentistry quickly and safely.

Dr. Pickei will try to replace the tooth in its natural socket.  In some cases, the tooth will reattach, but if the inner mechanisms of the teeth are seriously damaged, root canal therapy might be necessary.

Lost filling or crown

Usually, a crown or filling comes loose while eating. Once it is out of the mouth, the affected tooth may be incredibly sensitive to temperature changes and pressure. Crowns generally become loose because of poor fit or the tooth beneath has a cavity. The cavity causes shape changes in the teeth – meaning that the crown no longer fits well, and the seal is broken.

If a crown has dropped out of the mouth, call West University Dentistry as soon as possible.  Keep the crown in a dry, safe place because there is a possibility that Dr. Pickei can reinsert it.  If the crown is out of the mouth for a long period of time, the teeth may shift or sustain further damage.

In a pinch, here are the steps to take:

1.    Apply clove oil to the tooth to alleviate pain.

2.    Clean the crown and affix it onto the tooth with temporary dental cement. This can be purchased at a local pharmacy.

3.    If the crown is lost, smear the top of the tooth with dental cement to alleviate discomfort.

4.    NEVER use any kind of glue to affix the crown.

Dr. Pickei will check the crown to see if it still fits and that the tooth is healthy. He will either re-attach the crown with fresh permanent cement or plan to remove the cavity from the tooth and prepare a new crown.

Cracked or broken teeth

The teeth are strong, but they are still prone to fractures, cracks, and breaks.  Sometimes fractures are painless, but if the crack extends down into the root, it is likely that the pain will be extreme.  Fractures, cracks, and breaks can take several different forms, but are generally caused by trauma, grinding, and biting.  If a tooth has been fractured or cracked, there is no alternative but to schedule an appointment as quickly as possible.

Where a segment of tooth has been broken off, here are some steps that can be taken at home:

1.    Call West University Dentistry.

2.    Rinse the tooth fragment and the mouth with lukewarm water.

3.    Control any bleeding with pressure using gauze for 5 minutes.

4.    Place an ice pack on the cheek to minimize swelling and pain if necessary.

5.    Cover the affected area with over-the-counter temporary dental cement if you cannot come in immediately.

6.    Use a topical pain reliever such as Orajel if needed for discomfort.

The nature of the break or fracture will determine what Dr. Pickei does.  If a fracture or crack extends into the root, root canal therapy is often the most effective way to retain the tooth. In the case of a complete break, Dr. Pickei will affix the fragment back onto the tooth as a temporary measure or plan for a new restoration such as a filling or crown as a permanent solution.


Swelling in the mouth and face can occur for a variety of reasons and can be very frightening depending on the severity and size. Localized swelling and redness of the gums may be the result of poor oral hygiene and periodontal disease. Larger, more acute swelling can be from a dental abscess or infection caused by an untreated cavity, injury to the tooth or delayed healing following treatment.

It is important to call West University Dentistry immediately if you experience swelling for an evaluation. Dr. Pickei specializes in treating these conditions and will often schedule you the same day you call. In the meantime, use a cold compress and over-the-counter medications to relieve pain. Additional medications may be necessary to control an infection.

If you have questions or concerns about dental emergencies, please contact West University Dentistry today.




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West University Dentistry is a general and cosmetic dentistry practice in Houston, Texas, specializing in porcelain crowns, veneers, implants, dentures, teeth whitening, laser gum therapy, sedation and more. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!

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