Minahan Dental
(206) 365-5454



Tooth Is Knocked Out

If the tooth is a baby (primary) tooth don't place the tooth back in the socket. Contact our office.

If the tooth is an adult (permanent) tooth immediately place the tooth back in the socket if it is still intact. If you are unable to replace the tooth, immediately place the tooth in a container with milk, saliva or water. If you don't have access to any of those items place the tooth under your tongue. Don't scrape or remove anything on the tooth. Don't wrap the tooth in tissue or cloth and never allow the tooth to dry. Contact our office. We will evaluate the area and determine the next course of action.

Tooth Is Fractured

Examine the area that was fractured and, if needed, use acetaminophen for pain (not aspirin). Contact our office. We will determine the severity of the fracture and evaluate the condition of the tooth and surrounding bone. Some minor fractures may only cause an esthetic concern and have no pain and a filling material can be used to replace the fractured tooth structure. Larger tooth fractures may require a crown

Don't replace the fractured tooth segment yourself. If you feel extreme pain while breathing air or if you see any pink fibers or blood within the fractured tooth you may have exposed the nerve of the tooth. In this case you may need more extensive treatment, depending on the extent of the fracture.

Toothache Situations

Dental Cavity (decay) or Infection

Dental decay or infection can cause a toothache. Regular dental check-ups can prevent decay from spreading or progressing to the nerve. An infection sometimes can be seen as a bump (similar to a pimple) on the gums near the infected tooth. A bad taste can also be present near the infection site. If you notice a bump on the gums contact our dental office.


Trauma can come in many different forms, but a blow to the face or teeth can cause a toothache. Check to make sure the tooth is still intact and not loose or chipped. Also check the surrounding area for fractures or bruising. You may also notice a change in the color of the tooth/teeth. A tooth will usually present with a darker appearance after trauma. Contact our dental office if you notice any changes or if you have pain.


Excessive pressure on your teeth can cause irritation/inflammation to the nerve inside the tooth that can cause a toothache. This clenching and grinding is most common during the nighttime or during stressful periods of one's life. Your sleeping partner may notice you doing this while you sleep. It is often hard for us know if we actually clench/grind at night unless someone tells us or we have tight/sore jaws when we wake up.

A dental night guard can protect the teeth and lessen the pressure that clenching/grinding can cause. Not only can you have a toothache; your jaw can hurt and you can even fracture your own teeth. Children often grind their teeth as they are erupting and this is normal and not a concern. This will not affect their permanent teeth.

Cracked Tooth or Restoration

This can follow trauma or constant clenching. If you notice that when you put your teeth together and then open them they hurt or if you have a sharp pain on biting you may have a cracked tooth. The tooth may not hurt when you have them closed, but when you release that pressure the crack releases and causes discomfort. If you notice a crack or split tooth contact the office immediately to avoid having the crack getting bigger and going deeper into the tooth.

Receded Gums (exposed tooth root)

If your gums have receded away from your tooth you could have root sensitivity. The more exposed the root of the tooth is the better the chance for sensitivity (especially with cold liquid or air). The dentist can provide relief with a product that is placed directly on the tooth that is causing the sensitivity.

For patients with adult periodontitis (gum disease), supportive periodontal maintenance is not an option, but a requirement for success. Dr. Minahan and his hygienists will inform you of the re-care interval that best fits your needs.

Loose Teeth

When children are about to lose their baby teeth they can complain of a toothache. As the baby (primary) tooth loosens, sharp areas of the remaining tooth can dig into the gums and cause discomfort. If adult (permanent) teeth are excessively loose they can cause discomfort as the tooth pulls against the gum tissue and irritates the dental nerve. Contact the dental office if you notice any loose teeth.


Gums Hurt

Sore gums are predominately caused by periodontal (gum) disease. Other reasons for gingival pain could be an infection or abscess. An infection often creates a bump (similar to a pimple) near the infected tooth or a localized swollen and puffy area near the infected tooth. If you see any bumps or swollen areas contact our office.

Trauma such as a burn or cut can also cause pain to the gums. Monitor the traumatized area to make sure the tissue returns to normal. A particle of food, fingernail, floss or anything else that goes into your mouth can get stuck between your gums and teeth and cause irritation and sore gums. If you can't remove it, contact the office so we can remove it safely for you.



Temporary Crown Came Off

Occasionally, temporary crowns dislodge. If your temporary crown is still intact try to place it back on the tooth and gently press it back into place. If you are unable to place it back on the tooth, place the temporary in a small container and contact our office. We will be able to cement it back into place for you.

When the temporary is out you may feel some discomfort to cold temperature, this is normal due to the exposed tooth structure. Avoid hard and sticky food in the area of the tooth as you don't want to fracture any part of the prepared tooth structure. It is important that a temporary crown is not out of the mouth for a prolonged time as teeth can shift, compromising the fit of the permanent crown.

Temporary Crown Fractured or Broken

If your temporary crown was fractured or broken don't attempt to place it back on the tooth. Save the pieces of the temporary (if you can) and bring them into the office. We will determine the damage that was done and if he needs to make a new temporary for your prepared tooth.

Permanent Crown Came Off

Make sure to save the permanent crown that has come off. Contact our office and bring it with you so we so can re-cement the crown back on the tooth, if possible.