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Emergency Dentist – Bloomington, IN

Get Help Fast For Unexpected Dental Emergencies

Model of a tooth next to a first-aid kit

At Barco Family Dentistry, we know how alarming it can be when you or a loved one experiences sudden dental pain. As an emergency dentist in Bloomington with years of experience and a compassionate chairside manner, Dr. Barco has helped patients of all ages get out pain quickly while also protecting their long-term oral health. We set aside time in our schedule each day to accommodate emergencies and we’re always just a phone call away. If you ever find yourself in a dental emergency, don’t hesitate to contact us!

How To Handle Common Dental Emergencies

Distressed man holding his jaw in pain

There are two main types of dental emergencies. Some, such as toothaches, develop over a longer period of time. Others are very sudden and often result from an accident or injury. Dr. Barco and our team have plenty of experience handling both. Your first step is to call us so we can schedule the first available appointment and give you tips for handling the situation until we can see you. Here are some guidelines for common emergencies:

Learn More About How to Handle Common Dental Emergencies


Toothache or Swelling

If you have a persistent toothache, facial swelling, or a pimple-like bump on your gums, you could have an abscess or infection. Start by swishing with lukewarm salt water and applying a cold compress to the area. You can take over-the-counter pain medication but even if the pain subsides, you still need treatment to prevent the infection from spreading.

Chipped or Broken Teeth

First, rinse and spit with lukewarm water. If you have pain or sensitivity, apply a cold compress and take over-the-counter pain medication as directed until your visit. if necessary, use dental wax from the store to cover any sharp edges.

Knocked-Out Tooth

It’s important to get treatment as soon as possible, preferably within an hour. If you can’t make it in to see Dr. Barco in that time, go to your nearest ER or urgent care center.

As for immediate care, making sure to handle your tooth only by the crown and not the root, gently rinse it off and try to put it back in its socket (facing the right way). If this isn’t possible, put it in a glass of cold milk or water or hold it in your cheek pouch to make sure it stays moist until your visit.

Lost Filling or Dental Crown

If a dental crown comes off, rinse it and gently dry it off before putting a small amount of dental cement from the drugstore in it. You can use toothpaste in a pinch, but don’t use any other kind of glue or adhesive because it can make our job more difficult when you arrive for treatment.

How To Prevent Dental Emergencies

Man getting emergency dental exam

As a dentist in Bloomington, we know that when it comes to emergencies, prevention is so much easier than treatment. One of the best tools for prevention is seeing us for regular checkups so we can catch and treat small problems before they turn into emergencies.

Good oral hygiene at home is also key for keeping everything healthy. If you participate in any contact sports or recreational activities, wear a mouthguard. Also, if you clench and grind at night, wear a nightguard to protect your teeth from potential chips and cracks. Finally, avoid chewing on ice, pens, or hard candies.

The Cost of Treating Dental Emergencies

Smiling woman in the dental chair

The cost of emergency treatment can vary widely. In some cases, treatment is relatively minor and may involve antibiotics and a dental filling. In other cases, we may need to plan treatment in phases, such as starting with an extraction and discussing a replacement option like an implant or bridge down the road.

After Dr. Barco has done an emergency exam, he’ll explain his recommendations and give you a cost estimate. When possible, he’ll give you multiple treatment options and answer any questions you have to help you make the best decision. Above all, he’ll relieve your pain and help you move forward with great oral health!

Root Canals

A female patient smiling at her dentist while they use special tools to check her mouth after having a root canal

When the innermost layer of a tooth becomes infected, this can result in immense pain and discomfort. To prevent the need for possible tooth extraction, a root canal is often suggested. This common and effective procedure not only save the natural tooth but also eliminates the pain by removing the decayed areas and using a customized dental crown to protect your tooth’s structural integrity, allowing it to strengthen over time.

Learn More About Root Canals

Tooth Extractions

Woman with blue shirt and brown hair resting in bed

At Barco Family Dentistry, we never want to extract teeth, however in some cases, it’s our only option. In order to offer all of the services that our patients need to get out of pain and back to feeling better, we may sometimes have to provide a tooth extraction. Dr. Barco is experienced in this procedure, and he will ensure that his patients remain calm and comfortable during the entire process. Read on to learn more about extractions and why they’re necessary.

Learn More About Tooth Extractions

Dental Emergency FAQs

woman with mouth pain

While you can’t always predict when a dental emergency is going to strike, it helps to be prepared with lots of information beforehand. That’s why we’ve compiled some frequently asked questions about dental emergencies and answered them for your convenience.

How Can I Remove an Object Stuck Between My Teeth?

First, dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of water and swish that solution around in your mouth. If that doesn’t dislodge the object, then use dental floss. NEVER use a sharp object like a toothpick, as that could actually do more harm than good by lacerating the soft tissues in your mouth, like your tongue or gums, or damaging your teeth. If the object still doesn’t come out, contact us as soon as you can.

Will I Need a Root Canal?

This question is difficult to answer without evaluating your individual case. A root canal is typically needed when decay or infection has reached the inner layer of the tooth, where the nerves and blood vessels are located. Usually, this results in a raging toothache. If you know that your toothache is due to a severe cavity, it’s very likely that you’ll need root canal therapy. Again, the best way to know for sure is to come see us about your dental pain as soon as possible, though, to know for sure.

What If My Child Knocks Out a Baby Tooth?

Just like if an adult knocks out a tooth, the best thing to do is keep the tooth moist and call us immediately. We can determine whether the entire tooth came out, or just a portion of it. We can also figure out whether it needs to be implanted again. If the whole tooth is out, and it will be a while before the adult tooth grows in its place, we may need to place a spacer in the gap to prevent the remaining baby teeth from shifting.

What If I Bite My Tongue or Lip?

Gently and carefully clean the area with water first. Then, apply a cold compress to cut down on swelling. If there is excessive bleeding or you are in a lot of pain, see us right away or go to the nearest emergency room.

Will My Toothache Get Better on Its Own?

Usually, no. While some medical problems eventually go away if you leave them alone, dental issues typically do not. A good rule of thumb to remember is that healthy teeth do not hurt. If you are going through a toothache, the best thing to do is see our office right away. You can take over-the-counter pain relievers in the meantime, but do not put off treatment. Your toothache might be caused by an infection that could worsen the longer you neglect to see us.