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Expert Care for Effective Pain Relief

It’s a normal day when, suddenly, a dental emergency in Houston rears its head. In addition to being inconvenient, dental emergencies can be painful and leave your oral health compromised. At our dental office, whether you have a severe toothache, a broken tooth, or a lost restoration, we can provide comprehensive and effective care to restore your happy, healthy smile. To get relief for any type of urgent dental need, contact us to request a visit with your emergency dentist in Houston, TX, Dr. Gray or Dr. Newman, today!

Why Choose Mark Gray, DDS Cosmetic and Family Dentistry for Emergency Dental Care?


Team of Dentists with Decades of Emergency Experience
Same-Day Appointments Available for Dental Emergencies
Ready to Help Patients of All Ages
lady in dental chair

What to Do in a Dental Emergency

While dental emergencies are typically sudden and alarming, we encourage you to keep your cool! It’s important to stay calm and act quickly and correctly to keep the issue from getting worse. Take a deep breath and follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Call us for a same-day appointment. We do everything we can to see emergency patients the same day that they call us, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us right away!
  • Step 2: Follow our first-aid instructions. Over the phone, we’ll give you personalized first aid guidance for managing your situation until you can reach us.
  • Step 3: Get an emergency appointment with Dr. Gray or Dr. Newman. When you arrive, your Houston emergency dentist will see you right away for an examination and will work quickly to get you out of any immediate pain.
  • Step 4: Review the findings and make a plan. We’ll fully explain all your treatment options, including their estimated length and cost. Together, we’ll work with you to create a custom treatment plan that works best for you.
  • Step 5: Get expert care for effective pain relief: Our experienced team is well-equipped to handle all manner of dental emergencies and we’ll get to work as quickly as possible to alleviate pain, protect your teeth, and repair your smile.

The Most Common Dental Emergencies

Dental emergencies usually result from one of two things: prolonged, inadequate oral hygiene, which can cause infections and terrible toothaches. Or, the cause could be sudden trauma or injury, which can result in a broken or knocked-out tooth. While our dentists are capable of treating any type of dental emergency with Root Canal Therapy or Extractions, it’s essential that you know how to handle your situation until you can reach us. Here is some important information on the most common types of dental emergencies.

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Is my toothache a dental emergency?: Toothaches can develop due to infections, cavities, or physical injury, but the only way to confirm the cause is to have your mouth examined by our office. If you notice pain that does not go away or appears to be worsening, facial swelling, fever, or pimple-like bumps on your gum tissue near your tooth, call our office immediately.
How you should handle a toothache: Use dental floss to remove any food debris that may be stuck in between your teeth. Take ibuprofen if your discomfort does not get any better. Use a cold compress to bring down any swelling that may be present. Do not attempt to pop any pimple-like bumps on your gums as this can dramatically increase your risk for an infection.
How we treat toothaches: We’ll need to closely examine your mouth to understand what treatment would best address your symptoms. However, common treatments we’ve performed in the past include dental fillings, crowns, antibiotics/prescription oral rinses, gum disease treatment, root canal therapy, and extractions (which are only performed if all other options have been considered).

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Chipped Tooth

Is a chipped tooth a dental emergency?: Small chips in teeth are not typically a dental emergency. You’ll still want to give us a call to set up an appointment and allow our team to examine your tooth more closely as well as prevent the chip from getting worse. Even small chips can rapidly get larger, increasing your risk for developing decay. If you find any pieces of your tooth, bring them with you to your appointment.
How you should handle a chipped tooth: Hold on to any pieces of your tooth that you have and bring them to our office. Take painkillers as needed and apply a cold compress to your face to bring down any swelling. Avoid touching the damaged tooth or chewing any hard foods until you get seen by our team.
How we treat chipped teeth: Chipped teeth can be restored with tooth-colored composite resin if the chip is small enough. However, larger chips may require a dental crown or veneer if they are visible (and you care about maintaining the esthetics of your smile).

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Cracked Tooth

Is a cracked tooth a dental emergency?: Minor cracks to teeth are not necessarily a dental emergency. However, they do need to be seen by our office relatively soon (ideally the next day). If cracks are visible beneath the gum line, call our team right away as an infection could quickly develop. Pain while biting down is also a sign that microcracks are present, even if they aren’t visible.
How you should handle a cracked tooth: Avoid biting down on your tooth or touching it ahead of your appointment with us. Use a cold compress to bring down any swelling if present and take painkillers to manage discomfort.
How we treat cracked teeth: If the cracks in your tooth are relatively minor, we may be able to restore it using tooth-colored composite resin alone. In the event your tooth is moderately damaged, a dental crown could be necessary to prevent it from cracking further. Severe cracks could make the tooth inviable, meaning an extraction could be needed.

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Sensitivity to Hot & Cold

Are Very Sensitive Teeth a Dental Emergency?: Sensitive teeth can be caused by many different things, and not all of them are emergencies. Typically, tooth sensitivity qualifies as a dental emergency if it causes severe pain, lasts for multiple days, and/or only affects one or two teeth instead of all the teeth in your mouth.
How You Should Handle Very Sensitive Teeth: The steps you take to handle sensitive teeth vary depending on the situation; our team can help you figure out your next steps when you call our office. Try not to expose the teeth in question to anything that could trigger sensitivity, such as hot or cold foods. You may also want to avoid chewing with the tooth at all.
How We Treat Very Sensitive Teeth: Some tooth sensitivity is caused by weakened enamel, in which case a professional fluoride treatment or desensitizing toothpaste can help. In other cases, you might have gum disease or a tooth infection, in which case we’ll recommend the appropriate form of treatment.

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Knocked-Out Tooth

Is My Knocked-Out Tooth a Dental Emergency?: Permanent teeth can be knocked out by a strong enough blow to the mouth and/or face. It’s always an emergency when a permanent tooth comes out of its socket, and immediate attention is required if you want to try and save it. You need to make an emergency appointment right away and be at our office in no more than one or two hours; any longer than that, and reimplantation may no longer be possible.
How You Should Handle a Knocked-Out Tooth: Find the tooth right away. Very carefully pick it up by the crown, which is the portion that sticks out above your gums and is used to chew your food. Rinse off any dirt or debris that you see, but do not scrub or touch the root during the process. Until you can get to our office, your priority should be to keep the tooth alive for as long as possible. You can do this by either putting it back in its socket or storing it in a sealed container filled with saline solution.
How We Treat Knocked-Out Teeth: Our first choice will always be to save the tooth. Steps will be taken to reimplant it into its original socket so that it will eventually rejoin with the bone tissue. Sadly, there will be times where the tooth is already beyond saving or is too badly damaged to be placed back in the mouth. When that happens, we’ll go over your options for tooth replacement – bridges, dentures, and dental implants – and help you select the best one for your circumstances.

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Lost Filling or Crown

Is a Lost Filling or Crown a Dental Emergency?: You don’t need immediate treatment if a filling or crown falls off your tooth, but you still need to have the restoration replaced as soon as possible. Old restorations often fall out of place, and when that happens the tooth will be more likely to become infected or damaged. Repairs need to be made in a timely manner.
How You Should Handle a Lost Filling or Crown: Save the restoration if you can. We might be able to reuse it if it’s still mostly intact. Keep the exposed tooth clean, and don’t use it to bite or chew. Crowns can sometimes be reseated with dental cement or a dab of toothpaste, but this is only a solution for the short-term and is not a substitute for professional attention.
How We Treat Lost Fillings or Crowns: If you still have the restoration, we’ll examine to see if it’s in good enough shape to recement in place. Some restorations are too old or irreparably damaged to be used anymore, so we’re also prepared to place a new filling or dental crown if the situation calls for it.

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Broken Dentures

Is My Broken Denture a Dental Emergency?: A broken denture needs to be fixed or replaced as soon as possible. Attempting to use the prosthetic as you normally would can result in serious oral injuries. Since you need a full set of teeth to function normally in your daily life, it’s in your best interest to visit our office right away for damaged dentures.
How You Should Handle a Broken Denture: Do not wear the broken denture, and don’t attempt to fix it by yourself. Even with a “do it yourself” denture repair kit, the risk of damaging the denture to the point where it can no longer be used is too high.
How We Treat Broken Dentures: We’ll take a close look at the denture to see if the problem can be corrected with a relining or a quick repair job. If not, we’ll get you some new dentures. This may be a good chance for you to get implants for your dentures if you don’t have them already.

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Loose Tooth

Is a Loose Permanent Tooth a Dental Emergency?: It’s normal for baby teeth to come loose, of course, but permanent teeth are supposed to stay attached to the jaw for the rest of your life. Any time a permanent tooth feels loose, call our office right away for an appointment.
How You Should Handle Loose Permanent Teeth: Do not touch the tooth at all, even with a toothbrush. If you need to eat between now and your emergency appointment, chew with the opposite side of your mouth. Sticky and hard foods should be avoided altogether for the time being.
How We Treat Loose Permanent Teeth: We’ll take X-rays of your mouth to see what the underlying issue is so that it can be properly treated. Ideally, we can take care of the problem without taking out the tooth, but there are times when an extraction will be the only option.

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Gums, Lips or Tongue Injury

Is an Injury to the Gums, Lips, or Tongue a Dental Emergency?: In short, any time an injury to the soft tissues in or around your mouth results in bleeding, you should seek professional care as soon as you can, although your exact next steps depends on how serious the injury in question is.
How You Should Handle an Injury to the Gums, Lips, or Tongue: You should always keep a wound as clean as possible so that no debris gets caught in it. Rinse the area gently with water before anything else. Try to stop the bleeding by holding a piece of gauze or clean washcloth over the area for 10 minutes at a time.
How We Treat Injuries to the Gums, Lips, or Tongue: We can help treat minor oral wounds in some cases, but in situations where the bleeding has not stopped even after you’ve put pressure on the area, you should call the emergency room.

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Jaw Pain or Clenching

Is Jaw Pain a Dental Emergency?: It depends on what you mean by “jaw pain” If your jaw just hurts a bit for a little while, that’s not an emergency. Chronic or severe jaw pain, on the other hand, might be a symptom of a TMJ disorder or a serious oral health problem. Call us if you have any reason to think your jaw pain might be an emergency.
How You Should Handle Jaw Pain: Many kinds of jaw pain can be managed with over-the-counter pain medication or ice packs. You should visit an emergency room right away if you have a dislocated or broken jaw, as this can be a life-threatening problem.
How We Treat Jaw Pain: Our treatment for your jaw pain depends on what’s causing it in the first place. Sometimes we might give you a customized mouthguard to wear at night as part of TMJ therapy. In other cases, the pain might be a sign that it’s time for the wisdom teeth to be removed.

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Something Stuck Between Teeth

Food or other debris getting caught between your teeth can be painful, but it is usually only an emergency if you’re completely unable to remove it by yourself. To remove something that’s caught in your teeth, take some dental floss and try to gently push it out. Another method is to rinse with lukewarm water. Avoid using toothpicks or other sharp objects. They might seem like they’d be effective, but a misstep could result in a serious tissue injury. Don’t try to force out any particularly stubborn bits of debris; our team can gently and safely remove these foreign materials for you if needed.

Understanding the Cost of Emergency Dentistry

Because the scope of potential dental emergencies is so vast, there is no set price for treatment. When you visit, either Dr. Gray or Dr. Newman will carefully examine you, which may include capturing X-ray images and assessing the severity of your situation. Based on the treatment necessary to restore your oral health, we’ll generate an estimate for you from there.

An emergency visit to the dentist is not as expensive as you’d think. At your appointment, our team will closely examine your mouth in order to confirm your oral health needs and the best treatment to resolve your emergency symptoms. Without an exam from a professional like Dr. Gray or Dr. Newman, we cannot know for sure how much your emergency dentistry will cost. While some issues can be treated with relatively quick treatments, such as dental fillings, other services we may recommend include:

  • Dental crowns
  • Inlays and onlays
  • Root canal therapy
  • Tooth extractions
  • And other options!

In some cases, dental emergencies are unavoidable. For example, if you experience a bad fall or bite into food that contained something inedible, it can crack or damage a tooth. However, the majority of dental emergencies can be prevented when you keep some key habits in mind. This includes professional checkups at our office once every six months and consistent at-home brushing and flossing. These steps alone could save you hundreds of dollars in avoided oral healthcare costs every year.

Furthermore, you should never put off care for a dental issue once it makes itself apparent. Your costs are only likely to increase the longer you go without dedicated treatment. For example, a tooth that only needed a dental filling today could need a dental crown or root canal therapy six months from now.

In most cases, dental insurance plans will offer some level of coverage for a dental emergency situation. This includes one annual emergency exam depending on the plan you have. Additionally, most common emergency services like root canal therapy and tooth extractions receive partial coverage (or anywhere between 80% and 50%) depending on the insurance provider and plan. Keep in mind that annual maximums tend to come into effect as well, so always contact your insurance company directly before starting a treatment.

If you’d prefer to avoid dental insurance or you simply find it too expensive, there are other options available to you. One common option people utilize is third-party financing, such as CareCredit. When you sign up for CareCredit, you can pay for your emergency dentistry over the span of several months in smaller installments, rather than all in one lump sum. These payments generally come with little to no interest attached as well, making them perfect for those paying for dentistry on a budget. No matter how you intend to pay for care, our team will be ready to answer your questions and navigate costs.

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How to Prevent Dental Emergencies

Hands down, the best form of treatment for any type of dental emergency is prevention. A simple way to go about this is to practice excellent oral hygiene, which should include brushing and flossing your teeth at least two times a day. This, coupled with six-month preventive care appointments, helps to fortify your oral health. If you’re involved in any type of sport, we highly recommend you wear a mouthguard to protect you in the case of a sudden blow to the mouth.

Believe it or not, one of the easiest ways to protect your smile from a dental emergency is to visit your dentist. The American Dental Association recommends everyone sees their dentist at least twice a year for a cleaning and checkup, but many people feel these appointments are a waste of time and money, but this isn’t true.

Research shows every $1 spent on preventive dental care can reduce your restorative and emergency costs by as much as $50. Regular visits allow your dentist to remove harmful buildup while also benefiting from the power of early detection. This ensures hidden issues that can lead to bigger problems aren’t hiding below the surface, like an infection or cavity.

Besides care from your dentist, you can protect your smile at home with a good oral hygiene routine. It’s best to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to clean your teeth for 2-minutes twice a day. It’s also important to floss your teeth each night before going to bed to remove anything left behind by your toothbrush.

If you like to chew on ice or hard candies, you might want to reconsider your habit. You shouldn’t bite down on anything hard, including foods, pencils, or your nails. If you do, you significantly increase your risk a broken or fractured tooth.

Many dental emergencies could be prevented with 1 simple piece of protective gear. An athletic mouthguard is essential for anyone who plays sports, such as football, biking, or soccer. It provides protection to reduce trauma or injury to your mouth. Research also shows it can decrease your risk of concussion.

If you have a habit of grinding or clenching your teeth, it’s best to speak to your dentist about another form of protection. A nightguard provides a barrier between the upper and lower teeth to protect your smile and reduce unnecessary jaw pain.

We’ve all torn open a bag of chips or pulled off a bottle cap with our teeth. While it’s convenient when you can’t find the right tool for the job, it can damage your smile. It’s best to avoiding opening any packages or containers with your teeth to prevent an unexpected trip to your dentist.

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Dental Emergency FAQs

Finding an emergency dentist in Houston you can trust should not be a cumbersome task. Fortunately, Dr. Mark Gray and his team of professionals are ready to serve as your go-to expert should you face an untimely injury. Dental accidents may range in severity, but it’s essential that you have someone readily available who is committed to helping you when you need it most. We understand you probably have many questions about different scenarios or how we handle certain injuries. This is why we’ve provided answers to some commonly asked questions by our patients. Feel free to review the information below and contact us with any additional questions.

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely your toothache will simply “go away.” Unless you have a piece of food stuck between your teeth that you can dislodge with dental floss, there’s a good chance a more serious issue is the culprit. This is why it’s best to see a dentist as soon as possible to try and rule out any underlying problems. Because there are many reasons a toothache can form, a thorough examination can identify issues early on, allowing for more immediate treatment.

You may be surprised to learn that even in a hospital setting, it is illegal for anyone to extract a tooth who is not a licensed dentist. If you visit your local emergency room for a tooth that needs to be removed, the only thing they’ll be able to do is provide antibiotics and pain medication. While this is helpful, it will not effectively address the underlying problem. Seeing Dr. Gray for a full examination will determine if you need a tooth extraction or if a root canal or another form of treatment can address the problem.

While it would certainly be nice, chipped teeth will not heal on their own. No matter how the damage occurs, the only way to address this type of dental emergency in Houston is to seek the help of a professional dentist. Without necessary treatment, the chip, crack, break, or fracture will worsen. Depending on the severity of the damage, your dentist may only need to use composite resin to cover the imperfection. Or a dental crown may be required to better protect the tooth until it heals. One important thing to remember is if your tooth is sharp or jagged, you’ll need to get in sooner rather than later to avoid damaging your soft oral tissues.

No, you should never use superglue or any other adhesive to try and repair your broken dentures. There are many reasons why, some of which include:

  • Superglue is toxic and can cause you to have an allergic reaction.
  • Food will not taste the same.
  • It’s unlikely that superglue will hold up well in a damp environment like your mouth, which means it will not effectively hold your dentures together.

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