We understand that sometimes the unexpected happens. If you have a dental emergency, we encourage you to contact our dental office immediately to get the care you need. We provide some easy steps to help you find relief as you prepare for your appointment with us. Your comfort and care are our highest priorities, and we will make the time to address your urgent dental needs as they arise.

We often see dental emergencies involving pain, swelling, complications with fillings or dental crowns, dental trauma, and fractured or broken teeth. If the discomfort is acute and becomes progressively worse, schedule an appointment with our dentist as soon as possible.

Types of Dental Emergencies and How to Deal With Them


Avulsed Tooth (Tooth Knocked Out)

Should a tooth become knocked completely out of the mouth, contact our dental office and see our dentist immediately. The structure, tissues and nerves of the tooth become damaged once removed from the mouth, and if it is repaired within an hour after the trauma, the possibility of restoring the tooth remains favorable.

To prevent further damage, take these steps:

  1. Schedule an appointment with us immediately.
  2. Gently pick up the tooth by its crown and avoid touching its root to prevent more damage or contamination. Rinse with warm water.
  3. If it can be placed back into its socket, do so. If not, carefully place it into the pouch of your cheek to keep it secure, being careful not to swallow it. This will help prevent the tooth from drying out and the root structure from dying.
  4. Another option if the tooth cannot be placed in the mouth is to put the tooth into a cup of saliva, milk or water to help keep it preserved.
  5. Get to our office quickly and safely.

We will try to put the tooth back in place. In some cases, the tooth will reattach, but if the supporting tissues of the tooth are seriously damaged, root canal therapy or additional treatments may be necessary.

Lost Filling or Crown

When a dental filling or crown becomes loose, it often happens because the supporting tooth structure becomes decayed or fractured. Decay can change the shape of the tooth, which causes the filling or crown to loosen and become displaced.

If this happens, you may experience sensitivity to pressure and temperature. Should the crown or filling come out, we recommend scheduling an appointment with us. It is important to keep dental crowns in a secure place (a bag or container) so that it can be brought in with you when you come into our office. We recommend taking these steps to prevent further damage while waiting for your dental appointment with us:

  1. Clean the crown and place it onto the tooth with a temporary dental cement, which can be found at your local pharmacy.
  2. DO NOT use any kind of material other than dental cement to put your dental crown back into place.

If the dental crown still fits and there is no dental decay, we will recement it to the tooth to restore function and cosmetics. However, if dental decay is present, our dentist will evaluate the prognosis of the tooth to determine if a new crown can be made.

Cracked or Broken Teeth

In some cases, our teeth may experience breaks or fractures due to trauma or wear and tear. Broken teeth can cause sharp edges that irritate the soft tissues, create temperature or biting sensitivity, and even lead to toothaches. When this happens, it is important to call our office as soon as possible to schedule an appointment.

If a portion of the tooth has broken off while at home, carefully follow these steps:

  1. Contact our office immediately.
  2. Use lukewarm water to gently wash your mouth and the tooth fragment.
  3. If there is bleeding, apply gauze until the bleeding stops.
  4. Reduce swelling or discomfort by placing a cold compress over the area.
  5. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as Tylenol or ibuprofen.

The nature of the break or fracture will determine what we are able to do. In the case of a complete break, our dentist will typically address it with a temporary restoration or possibly bond the fragment back onto the tooth as a temporary measure.


When a tooth is highly sensitive or aches, it is likely due to decay, a fracture or maybe even an infection. In some cases, if the tooth can be addressed early enough or if the problem is mild, there is often a good prognosis for keeping the tooth. However, if there is an infection or severe discomfort, root canal therapy may necessary.

If this happens, we encourage you to call our office immediately to make an appointment and recommend using a cold compress and over-the-counter pain medications to find relief during the interim. If an infection arises, our dentist may prescribe an antibiotic until the dental concern can be resolved.

For more serious cases, such as trauma to the head and neck, visit your local hospital or doctor before scheduling a visit with us.

If you have questions or concerns about dental emergencies, please contact our dental office in Spokane, Washington, at 509-327-8681 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Nicolas Gallegos.