Dealing with Everyday Dental Concerns and Emergencies

Any dental problem can be potentially serious and should not be ignored. Ignoring a dental issue can increase the risk of permanent damage as well as the need for more extensive and expensive treatment later on.

Tips on what to do in the case of these common dental problems:

Lost Filling

As a temporary measure, stick a piece of sugarless gum into the cavity (sugar-filled gum will cause pain) or use an over-the-counter dental cement. See your dentist as soon as possible.

Lost Crown

If a crown falls off, make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible and bring the crown with you. If you can’t get to the dentist immediately and the tooth is hurting, use a cotton swab to apply a little clove oil to the sensitive area (clove oil can be purchased at your local drug store or in the spice aisle of your grocery store).

If possible, slip the crown back over the tooth. Before doing so, coat the inner surface with an over-the-counter dental cement, toothpaste, or denture adhesive, to help hold the crown in place temporarily. Do NOT use super glue!

Broken Braces and Wires

If a wire breaks or sticks out of a bracket or band and is poking your cheek, tongue or gum, try using the eraser end of a pencil to push the wire into a more comfortable position.

If you can’t reposition the wire, cover the end with orthodontic wax, a small cotton ball or piece of gauze until you can get to your orthodontist’s office. Never cut the wire, as you could accidentally swallow it or breath it into your lungs.

Loose Brackets and Bands

Temporarily reattach loose braces with a small piece of orthodontic wax. Alternatively, place the wax over the braces to provide a cushion. See your orthodontist as soon as possible.

If the problem is a loose band, save it and call your orthodontist for an appointment to have it recemented or replaced (and to have missing spacers replaced).


Abscesses are infections that occur around the root of a tooth or in the space between the teeth and gums. Abscesses are a serious condition that can damage tissue and surrounding teeth, with the infection possibly spreading to other parts of the body if left untreated.

Because of the serious oral and general health problems that can result from an abscess, see your dentist as soon as possible if you discover a pimple-like swelling on your gum (usually painful). In the meantime, to ease the pain and draw the pus toward the surface, try rinsing your mouth with a mild salt water solution (1/2 teaspoon of table salt in 8 ounces of water) several times a day.

Handling Dental Emergencies

We have prepared a Quick Tips reference sheet for Dental Emergencies that you can print out and keep with your emergency medical kit or hang on your refrigerator. This sheet gives easy instructions on what to do for broken & chipped teeth, knocked out or dislodged teeth, bitten tongue or lip, toothaches, and more.

Emergency Care

In the Fort Smith area? Dr. Staton’s office is always ready to help you with any of these common dental problems and emergencies.

If you experience a dental emergency during office hours, call our main office number 479-452-1738.

If the emergency occurs after hours, please call 479-353-3491 and leave a detailed message (your name, which doctor you see, the nature of your emergency, and the telephone number where you can be reached), and the doctor on call will respond quickly.

Our office shares emergency coverage with two other practices in our building, which means that even when Dr. McLaughlin is out of town, you have emergency coverage.

Contact Us

If you live in the Fort Smith area and would like to discuss the best interdental cleaner for your particular situation, please call our office at 479-452-1738 or use our Contact Form to schedule an appointment!

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