A Dental Emergency Is No Reason to Panic!


You’ve decided to join the local Skateboarding for Dads club and have discovered, painfully, that you don’t have the same skills you did as a teenager. Your child got a ball to the mouth at her soccer game. The fuzzy dice you ordered for your car has arrived — there’s no harm in ripping the package open with your teeth, right? Or maybe you’ve been hit with tooth pain, no obvious explanation.

Dental emergencies are, by definition, sudden and traumatic. You may not be sure what to do or whom to call. If you live in or around Lancaster, CA, call Tab Boyle, DDS at(661) 524-8457. We are ready and equipped to handle your dental emergency and will make sure you are seen promptly.

If your emergency is potentially life threatening or happens outside of our regular business hours, go to the nearest emergency room instead.


Knocked-Out Tooth

If your or your child’s tooth is knocked cleanly out of its socket, it may be reattached under the right conditions. First, you must get in to see Dr. Boyle as soon as you can — call us immediately. Secondly, you must be careful to not touch the root. Thirdly, the tooth must be kept moist. If you can, place it back into its socket (making sure it’s facing the right direction) or store it between your cheek and gums. We don’t recommend these techniques for kids, or if you think there is any risk of swallowing the tooth. If you can’t or don’t want to hold the tooth in your mouth, keep it in a small cup of milk, saliva, or water as a last resort. There are also commercial tooth-preservation products available at your local drugstore.


Cracked Tooth

A very minor crack or fracture may not have to be seen immediately, but a severely cracked tooth is a dental emergency. A deep crack irritates the pulp inside the tooth, causing pain and sensitivity, especially when biting down. It may also give bacteria access to the pulp, leading to infection. If you do get a crack in your tooth, call us to discuss whether you need to come in right away.

In the meantime, rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it. If swelling is present, you can help keep it down with an ice pack. You may take over-the-counter pain relievers if necessary.

Depending on the severity of the crack, treatment may include tooth bonding (repair with a filling-like material), a crown, a root canal if the pulp is compromised or, if the tooth is badly damaged, extraction.


Broken Tooth

If a tooth breaks, save any loose pieces. Rinse your mouth with warm water, and if bleeding is present, apply pressure to the spot with gauze or a damp teabag. A cold compress applied to the cheeks or lips can help relieve swelling and pain, and you may also use over-the-counter pain relievers.

Treatment will depend on the type and severity of the break. Very small chips may just need a little filling material applied to them. More serious fractures may require a root canal, crown, or even removal of the tooth.


Abscessed Tooth

A tooth abscess is an infection at the root of the tooth. It is painful and requires immediate treatment. Otherwise, you may lose the tooth and the infection may spread. Sometimes, a pimple may form on the gums, due to the pressure of pus trying to escape. Rinsing your mouth several times per day with a mild salt-water solution can help draw the pus out.

Dr. Boyle will drain the abscess, then you will need a root canal. Finally, Dr. Boyle will give you a filling or a crown. In very severe cases, the tooth may need to be removed altogether.


Other situations, such as a loose filling or restoration, may not be emergencies, but they do need to be seen sooner rather than later. If you are not sure, call our office and we will be happy to advise you.

Dental emergencies are never fun. But we can assure you that when you call Tab Boyle DDS, you will be in good hands and we will make the experience as trauma- and stress-free as possible.

If you live in or around Lancaster, CA, call our office at (661) 524-8457, and we will determine the nature of your emergency and have you come in for fast, expert treatment. We also have an online contact form (best for scheduling non-emergency dental services).

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44950 Valley Central Way #1-107
Lancaster, California 93536