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Emergency Dentist – South Portland, ME

Get Out of Dental Pain Quickly

Gannett Drive Dental is here to help our patients in the case of a dental emergency. Our caring dentists and their team understand that unforeseen incidents can occur, whether it’s a long-term infection or a sudden physical injury. That’s why we strive to provide effective and accessible emergency dental visits in South Portland, Maine. Although our emergency services are primarily for existing patients, we will do our best to accommodate new patients and your dental emergency needs. To learn more about our emergency dentistry, we invite you to contact us at 207-613-2185 and set up your appointment with Dr. John Kivus and Dr. Jacob Fillebrown.

How to Handle Common Dental Emergencies

A young man with tooth pain.

A dental emergency is a situation that requires prompt attention from a dental professional. At our dental office, we understand that you cannot always plan when you will need our care. If you experience a dental emergency, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible.

Our team will schedule you to meet with our dentist as soon as we are able so you can receive the care you need. We are happy to care for several types of dental emergencies. For your convenience, we’ve included instructions on how to manage these dental emergencies before arriving at our office.


Start by flossing between the tooth in question and the adjacent tooth. If no food debris is loosened and discomfort continues, take an over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. If swelling is present, you can apply a cold compress to your cheek for 10 minutes, then remove for an additional 10 minutes. Call our office right away so we can get you scheduled for a detailed exam and X-ray.

Chipped/Broken Tooth

Locate any pieces of the tooth that you can find and bring them to our office. If your tooth appears to be jagged or sharp, cover it with dental cement to avoid accidentally cutting your gum tissue. If the tooth has a fracture that extends below the gum line, call our office right away to schedule a visit.

Knocked-Out Tooth

Do your best to stay calm and locate the tooth. Pick it up by the crown and gently wash any dirt or debris from it without touching the root or removing any tissue that may still be attached. Try to place the tooth back into your open socket and gently bite down to keep it in place. If this is not possible, keep the tooth in a container of milk or salt water and get to our office within the next hour. The sooner you arrive, the better chance you have to get the tooth reimplanted.

Lost Filling/Crown

A lost filling cannot typically be replaced, but you can use temporary filling material to keep the cavity sealed until you get to our office. If a crown has come off, you can use dental cement, denture adhesive or sugar-free chewing gum (as a last resort) to keep the crown temporarily adhered.

How to Prevent Dental Emergencies

 A child with a bleeding mouth.

While dental emergencies can be difficult to deal with, they can be easily avoided by:

  • Brushing twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste
  • Flossing daily
  • Visiting our office once every six months for exams and cleanings
  • Avoiding very hard foods (i.e. ice cubes, popcorn kernels, hard candy, toffee etc.)
  • Never using your teeth as a tool to open packages or cut tape
  • Wearing a mouthguard (if you play contact sports) or a nightguard (if you grind your teeth)
  • Never biting your fingernails

The Cost of Treating Dental Emergencies

A woman with dental pain.

Treating a dental emergency can vary in cost dramatically depending on the complexity of the issue you’re dealing with. For example, A simple cavity may only need a dental cleaning and a filling to treat, but a more advanced cavity could also mean an oral infection is present. This would require a root canal and antibiotics, which costs more to perform. No matter what the cost of your treatment is, we’ll work with you to create a plan that’s within your means. Our dental experts will be able to provide you with a more detailed price once they understand what needs to be done!

Emergency Dentistry FAQs

woman in purple shirt with toothache who needs emergency dentist

Dealing with oral pain and discomfort or a damaged tooth can be stressful and anxiety-inducing even under the best circumstances. To better deal with a dental emergency as soon as one occurs, you’ll want to be as prepared as possible ahead of time. Our dentists are more than happy to answer any questions you may have about emergency dentistry. In the meantime, here are the answers to some of the most common questions we get on the subject.

What Counts as a Dental Emergency?

Not all dental emergencies are created equal. For example, a toothache due to poor oral hygiene is quite different from a sudden injury that results in a broken or knocked-out tooth. Sometimes it can be difficult to know just which problems warrant calling your emergency dentist. The most common signs that you need emergency treatment are:

  • Intense pain and discomfort
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Teeth that are loose, broken, or missing entirely

Even if you’re not sure whether what you’re dealing with is a dental emergency, it’s best to err on the side of caution and give us a call anyway. Ignoring a minor issue like a toothache could result in significantly worse problems down the road.

Do I Still Need Treatment If My Toothache Goes Away?

At first, you might feel relieved that your tooth pain has subsides all of a sudden. If you didn’t know any better, you might be under the impression that whatever oral health problem you were experiencing has cured itself. Unfortunately, that is not usually the case. If the pain was due to an infection, your trouble is far from over. A sudden loss of pain could mean that the infection has spread to the nerve in the center of the tooth, rendering the tooth “dead.” Ignoring the problem any longer could cause the infection to spread to other teeth and even other parts of your body if it reaches your bloodstream. If you have a toothache that suddenly goes away, schedule an appointment with your emergency dentist right away.  

Will My Tooth Need to Be Removed?

If one tooth is seriously bothering you, you might think that the only way to get out of pain is to extract it. However, we generally only suggest removing a tooth as a last resort. This is because when a tooth is extracted, the surrounding teeth may drift out of place and you are at a higher risk for additional tooth loss. If you have a severe toothache, we may see if root canal therapy is the right choice to save your tooth from extraction. We generally only recommend extraction if the tooth cannot be saved.

Should I Go to the Emergency Room?

Sometimes, your first instinct during a dental emergency will be to call your local emergency room for treatment. You should only do this if you suspect your jaw might be broken or dislocated, you are bleeding profusely even after 15 minutes of applying pressure, or you are having trouble breathing; essentially, only visit your ER if your emergency is life-threatening.

For all other urgent dental problems, it’s best to see our dental team. Most hospitals don’t have the skills or equipment needed to address the root of a dental problem, at best being able to write you a prescription for painkillers or antibiotics. At Gannett Drive Dental, we can get to the bottom of your dental emergency and get you out of pain quickly.