Emergency info

Contact our Durham Dentistry in an Emergency

Dr. Thomas S Clifton has been a top family dentist in Durham, NC for over two decades. Since 1991, he has provided services to his patients with dental crowns, TMJ care, endodontics, and more. Above all, he believes that safety comes first. Below, Dr. Clifton discusses what to do in a dental emergency until you are able to visit our office.


Toothaches can be a minor or a major pain. You will want to see a dentist as soon as possible. To ease the discomfort in the meantime, clean around the sore tooth as diligently as possible. Use warm salt water to rinse the mouth to dislodge any food trapped between the teeth. If facial swelling occurs, use a cold compress on the area. You can also use acetaminophen to ease the pain. DO NOT use aspirin on the aching tooth or on the gum and contact our office as soon as possible.

Cut or Bitten Tongue, Lip, or Cheek

Use ice on any bruised areas. If there is bleeding, press firmly but gently with sterile gauze or cloth. If even after applying pressure for 15 minutes the bleeding does not stop, go to an emergency room.

Broken Braces or Wires

If you have a broken brace or wire(s), remove the broken appliance only if it comes out easily. If it does not come out easily, place wax over protruding or sharp edges. You can also use cotton balls, gauze, or chewing gum temporarily. If there is no discomfort, you should visit your orthodontist as soon as possible but you do not have to take any emergency action. If a broken appliance is caught in the tongue, cheek, or gum, visit our office immediately.

Broken Tooth

Rinse the area with warm water and put a cold compress on the facial area of injury. Make sure to collect any broken tooth parts. Immediately find a dentist for medical attention.

Knocked Out Permanent Tooth

Find the tooth and hold it by the top part, which is called the “crown.” Try not to hold it by the root. Carefully rinse the tooth but only briefly. Try not to handle the tooth too much. If possible, reinsert the tooth back into the socket and hold it in place using a clean cloth or gauze if available. If it is not possible to reinsert the tooth, place the tooth in a cup of milk (water if milk isn’t available). If too much time passes, the tooth cannot be successfully and permanently reinserted, so contact a dentist immediately.

Possible Broken Jaw

If you think you may have broken your jaw, place a towel, a tie, or whatever would work to tie around your head to keep the jaw shut. Go to an emergency room immediately.

Cold or Canker Sores

These types of sores are extremely common among all ages. Simple over-the-counter medications can provide temporary relief. If you are concerned about your sores because they don’t seem to be going away, make an appointment with Dr. Clifton.

Bleeding After a Baby Tooth Falls Out

Bleeding after a baby tooth falls out is very common after a baby tooth falls out. Place gauze firmly over the area, and if bleeding still occurs after 15 minutes, make sure to visit out office.

Further Questions

Dr. Clifton is dedicated to the health and safety of his patients. To do that, he gives each and every patient his individual attention and care. If you have any questions about what to do in an emergency or for any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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