Dental EmergenciesDental Emergencies

Dental emergencies occur in unlikely places and at unlikely times—and most would agree they are never convenient.  We want to make sure you receive the emergency dental care you need when you need it. When you have an emergency, we want to see you as quickly as we can get you into our office—so please call us at 253.525.5186 (or webchat with us) immediately.  When to call 9-1-1.

What is a dental emergency?

Dental emergencies involve one or more of the following:

  • Infection
  • Injury
  • Cracked, knocked out or broken teeth
  • Missing or broken dental work such as bridges, crowns, fillings or implants

This can result in bleeding, swelling, pain or even the inability to speak clearly or eat. 

What can you do to be more comfortable before your appointment?

Feeling miserable is usually part of any emergency and a dental emergency is no different. Here are some tips you can follow until you get to our office:

  • For pain and/or swelling, take over the counter pain relievers/and or anti-inflammatories according to package directions unless you have a medical reason not to take them or if Dr. Duffy has instructed you to do otherwise. Cold compresses are also  helpful to reduce swelling and discomfort
  • For knocked out teeth, keep the site moist and reposition tooth into the socket if able. If not, place tooth between your gums, or in a glass of milk to keep moist 
  • For cracked teeth, rinse mouth with warm water

How to avoid a dental emergency

  • Use good dental hygiene at home (brushing and flossing) and have regular dental check-ups 
  • Wear a mouth guard during sports or recreational activities
  • Avoid chewing ice cubes, nutshells and popcorn kernels and hard candies
  • Use scissors, pliers, and other tools to cut or pull things, not your teeth

When to call 9-1-1

If you feel you have a life-threatening emergency, including but not limited to difficulty breathing, excessive bleeding, difficulty swallowing, or swelling into the neck, please call 911 or visit your nearest hospital emergency department.

When to call us at 253.525.5186

If your emergency is not life threatening, call our office line so we can assess your situation and quickly find a solution for you. Our goal is to get you in to have your problem addressed the same day, if needed. If we are away from the office, leave a detailed voicemail and someone from our office will call you back shortly. In the event Dr. Duffy is out of town or unable to care for you, we have several other doctors we have a close working relationship with who are happy to take care of you during your emergency.