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Emergency Dentistry – Corpus Christi, TX

Get Your Urgent Dental Issue Handled

At the Corpus Christi dental office of Sarah Pitarra, DDS, our dedicated dentist and dentistry team members are here to help patients whenever they need us most. That includes offering emergency dental care. For patients in need of urgent treatment, we can often provide same day appointment for emergency dentistry in Corpus Christi, TX. If you’ve experienced tooth pain, facial trauma, or other dentistry emergencies that require immediate attention, call our Corpus Christi dental office right away. We’ll walk you through how to care for your smile and relieve pain until you reach our dental office. In most cases, we’ll see you on the same day you call, but if we can’t fit you in immediately, we’ll still want to schedule an appointment for you to visit us as soon as possible.

Why Choose Sarah Pitarra, DDS for Emergency Dentistry?

  • Works Hard to See You the Same Day
  • Sedation Dentistry Available for Nervous Patients
  • Caring Dentist That Treats You Like Family

How to Handle Common Dental Emergencies

When a dental emergency occurs, the first thing you should do is call our dental office so you can get scheduled for an emergency appointment. This allows us to not only see you sooner, but provide guidance and tips on improving your situation before you arrive. Until you do, there are ways for you to make the best of your circumstances. Below, you’ll find steps on how to handle a series of dental emergencies, whether it’s tooth pain, a completely knocked-out tooth, or something else.

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Woman with toothache holding jaw joints


Use dental floss to remove food debris as it can easily get caught in between teeth and cause discomfort. If pain continues, take an over-the-counter painkiller such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Both work to reduce inflammation and alleviate discomfort. Get to our dental office as soon as you can, especially if the pain does not go away.

Learn About Root Canals

Smile with chipped front tooth

Chipped/Broken Tooth

Keep any pieces of your tooth that you can and bring them to our dental office. If your tooth is sharp or jagged in any way, do not chew any foods on the side of your mouth where the damaged tooth sits. You can also cover the tooth with dental wax in order to avoid accidentally cutting your mouth. Place a cold compress to your cheek if swelling is present. Apply it to your cheek for 10 minutes, then remove it for an additional 10 minutes to avoid damaging your skin.

Learn About Tooth Extractions

Woman with knocked out tooth covering mouth

Knocked-Out Tooth

Locate the tooth and pick it up by the crown portion only. Do not touch the root and do not remove any tissue from the tooth that may still be attached. After gently rinsing the tooth (not scrubbing) of any dirt or debris, place it back into your open socket for preservation. If this is not possible, place it in milk or salt water to keep it preserved for up to one hour. Get to our dental office as soon as possible.

Man with lost dental crown holding cheek

Lost Filling/Crown

If you still have the restoration, use either dental cement, denture adhesive, or sugar-free chewing gum if nothing else is available to temporarily secure it in place. This is not considered a permanent solution for a loose filling or crown. If you do not have the restoration, avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the tooth is exposed.

Man sticking finger in his mouth to loosen food.

Something Stuck Between The Teeth

If something is stuck in between your teeth, we do not recommend using your fingers or a toothpick to try and remove it. Instead, start by rinsing your mouth out with cool water first to try loosening it, then use dental floss to gently push it out. Brushing your teeth can also work to dislodge the foreign material. If the object is really stuck in there, give us a call and our team will be able to get it out and prevent the risk of an infection developing later.

Person applying pressure to a loosened tooth.

Partially Dislodged Tooth

Even if a tooth is not fully removed following a sudden injury, it’s still considered a dental emergency if it’s loose in any way. After giving us a call to schedule an appointment, you can very gently reposition the tooth so that it’s properly sitting inside the tooth’s socket. You can also rinse your mouth out with saltwater to draw out any hidden bacteria from around the tooth. Avoid applying too much pressure to the tooth as this could cause it to fall out completely.

Patient with a toothache in Corpus Christi at the dentist.


Whether you have a bacterial infection in your teeth or gums, there are few things you can do to treat it outside of visiting the dentist. However, you can manage your condition until you arrive by rinsing your mouth with saltwater to soothe discomfort and wash away bacteria. Clove oil can also be applied as it contains eugenol, a natural anesthetic that can temporarily numb the area. Anti-inflammatories can also be taken to reduce discomfort ahead of your emergency visit.

Woman holding her face in pain.

Gum/Soft Tissue Injury

Rinse your mouth out with a mild saltwater mixture, then apply a damp piece of gauze to the bleeding area. Hold it in place for 15 to 20 minutes at a time to control and potentially stop the bleeding. You can also apply a cold compress to the cheek or outside of the mouth for 5 to 10 minutes at a time. If bleeding does not stop, get to our office or the emergency room if no other options are available. Maintain pressure for as long as possible.

An older man with dental pain holding his face.

Jaw Pain

If you believe your jaw is broken, go to the emergency room before visiting our office. If you believe you have jaw pain alone, apply a cold compress to the area for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, then remove for an additional 10 minutes to prevent damaging your facial tissue. Avoid opening your mouth too wide or chewing foods that require a lot of force to prevent stressing the joints.

How to Prevent Dental Emergencies

young woman flossing in front of a mirror

Not every dental emergency can be prevented. For example, accidents are bound to happen. However, the majority of dental emergencies are actually avoidable if you take the right precautions. Read on to learn five simple tips that will help you prevent dental emergencies in Corpus Christi and keep your smile in great shape!

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woman talking to her dentist

Visit Our Dental Office Regularly

Far too often, many patients put off scheduling a dental checkup if their teeth feel fine. But the truth is that these appointments give our team ample opportunity to stop dental emergencies in their tracks by warding off cavities, detecting gum disease in its early stages, and removing built-up plaque and tartar from the hard-to-reach parts of your mouth. Seeing us for routine visits now can save you from having to make a panic-filled, urgent appointment later on.

woman in a white bathrobe brushing her teeth

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene at Home

In the tired haze of the early morning and late evening, it can be all too easy to forget about your oral hygiene. However, skipping even just one brushing and flossing routine gives leftover food particles and bacteria in your mouth the chance to cause painful infections. To prevent this, make sure to brush your teeth twice a day, floss at least once daily, and consider adding an antibacterial mouthwash to your dental hygiene regiment.

woman rejecting donuts and eating fruits instead

Stick to a Nutritious Diet

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a sugary snack every now and then, but overindulgence can contribute to tooth decay. Harmful bacteria in your mouth use the sugar particles on your teeth as fuel to erode enamel, creating cavities. To reduce your risk, consume sweets in moderation and include mouth-healthy fruits and vegetables in most of your meals and snacks.

two mouthguards, one green and one gold

Wear a Mouthguard

If you play contact sports, you already know the importance of wearing a helmet to protect your head from injury. The same principle applies to your teeth – you should always wear a mouthguard, particularly a custom-made one from our dental office. Personalized mouthguards fit more comfortably and provide greater protection than the store-bought variety.

In the same vein, you should also wear a custom nightguard if you suffer from nighttime teeth grinding as a result of bruxism or TMJ disorder. This comfortable appliance creates cushioning between your top and bottom teeth to prevent enamel wear, sensitivity, and cracking that can occur as a result of chronic grinding and clenching.

bearded man opening a bottle with his teeth

Don’t Use Your Teeth as Tools

Sometimes, it can seem much more convenient to tear open a package or a bottle with your sharp canines instead of a pair of scissors or a bottle opener. While this can often get the job done quickly, one wrong move could spell disaster for your smile by fracturing a tooth. Then you would have to drop everything to visit our emergency dental office in Corpus Christi, which certainly doesn’t sound convenient! To avoid the temptation to use your teeth as tools, keep the appropriate tools within arm’s reach whenever you can.

The Cost of Treating Dental Emergencies

Man sharing healthy smile after emergency dentistry

Determining a cost for your dental emergency can be difficult until we’ve had a chance to confirm exactly what treatments need to be done to get you out of discomfort and protect your oral health moving forward. If pain is present, we may need to remove decay and place a filling or perform detailed root canal therapy to stop an infection, both of which have their own costs. Regardless of the complexity of your dental emergency, we’ll work with you to build a treatment plan that’s reasonable. We’re also happy to offer financing options if you do not currently have insurance.

Learn More About the Cost of Dental Emergencies

Emergency Dentistry FAQs

Do you still have some questions about how to deal with dental emergencies? Knowing the right information can make you feel safer and more comfortable if one occurs. That’s why your dentist has included the answers to some frequently asked questions about emergency dentistry in the section below. Read on to learn more about these issues so that you and your loved ones can be better prepared.

Will I Need a Root Canal?

Root canal therapy is actually a fairly common treatment for a severe toothache that is caused by an infection. While root canals have an intimidating reputation, the procedure actually shouldn’t be painful in the slightest. Thanks to advancements in dental techniques, it should be about as comfortable as getting a filling. In fact, root canals are actually designed to relieve pain instead of causing it. During a root canal, your emergency dentist removes the infected nerve, preventing the infection from spreading and saving the tooth from having to be extracted.

Why Does Putting a Knocked-Out Tooth in Milk Help?

If you can’t place a dislodged tooth back into its socket, storing it in a container of milk is the next best thing. Why? The tooth must be kept wet in order to stay viable for reattachment. While saltwater helps, milk contains proteins that promote growth of tooth root cells and prevent the roots from swelling.

Should I Go to the Emergency Room?

Emergency room doctors are often not qualified to perform dental procedures. At best, they may prescribe antibiotics or painkillers and refer you to a dentist anyway. You can save time and money by coming to our office straight away. After all, Dr. Pitarra has the training necessary to get to the root of your dental problem.

The only time you should go to the ER for a dental emergency is if your situation involves deep facial cuts, uncontrollable bleeding, jaw dislocations or fractures, and swelling that gives you difficulty swallowing or breathing.

How Can I Be Prepared for a Dental Emergency?

While you can’t always prevent an emergency, you can be prepared for one by making a dental emergency kit and storing it in places such as your bathroom, your car, or your desk at work. Include the following items:

  • Our contact information
  • Small container with a secure lid
  • Latex-free gloves
  • Bottle of acetaminophen
  • Individually wrapped gauze pads
  • Dental mirror

Are Dental Emergencies Covered by Insurance?

Because there are countless varieties of dental emergencies, it’s difficult to say for sure whether your insurance plan will cover treatment without first having Dr. Pitarra examine your mouth. In most cases, dental insurance companies will at least partially cover the cost of emergency treatment, but that depends on the details of your policy as well as the type of emergency that occurred. The only way to know for sure whether you’re eligible for coverage is to visit us. We can develop a personalized treatment plan and then maximize your available benefits to help you heal your smile without breaking the bank.