Emergency Dental Treatment in Fort Collins, CO

Your teeth undergo a lot of stress. Unfortunately, sometimes the stress gets to be too much and — ouch! You’ve cracked your tooth or restoration. When this happens, you need treatment as quickly as possible to relieve your discomfort and preserve the tooth.

Left untreated, a cracked tooth or filling can allow bacteria to enter the tender inner part of the tooth where the nerve resides. Once an infection exists, we may have no choice but to perform a root canal or extract the tooth.

At our Ft. Collins dental office, we make it easy for patients who are in an emergency situation to see Dr. Gray quickly – usually the same day.

What to Do in an Emergency

First, give us a call. We keep open slots in our schedule throughout the day for exactly this type of situation. We don’t believe you should have to suffer for days on end waiting to be seen.

Jennifer, our friendly and helpful front office coordinator, will ask you some questions about how your tooth feels, when the pain started, and where the tooth is in your mouth. There may be some steps you can take to be more comfortable until you are seen by Dr. Gray. Ice packs held against the cheek on the affected side of the mouth and over-the-counter analgesics may reduce pain and swelling.

If your tooth has cracked or you’ve lost or broken a restoration, try to find any broken pieces. In some cases, we can bond the broken part of your tooth or restoration back into place.

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Prompt and caring dental service

What Happens During an Emergency Dental Appointment?

Your emergency appointment will focus on the immediate problem. We will make sure that you are comfortable and if at all possible, perform any immediately needed treatment. Sometimes this involves placing a filling. Depending on the extent of the damage and the cause of the injury, a root canal or an extraction may be necessary.

If we cannot complete your treatment the same day, we will schedule another appointment to finish the necessary treatment. We also feel strongly that it is important to schedule a full exam to look at other areas of the mouth. This allows us to find problems that could become emergencies and address them before you experience pain or a broken tooth.

Of course, not every emergency can be prevented, but routine cleanings reduce your risk of gum disease and decay, and regular check-ups help us catch problems when they are small and manageable – before they turn into a painful emergency situation. Infections and decay can weaken your tooth, but if we can stop these issues in their tracks, we may avoid the need for a root canal or extraction.

If You Are Experiencing a Dental Emergency, Call Us Today

Don’t waste another minute in pain! We are here to help. We’ll get you in promptly, determine the best course of action, and help you feel like yourself again. Call our Ft. Collins dental office today so Jennifer can schedule you an emergency dental appointment with Dr. Richard Gray.

Meet our team

Dr. Gray is fortunate to work with an exceptional team. Every person at the office really cares about the well-being of our patients and is dedicated to treating each person with the respect and compassion they deserve.

Dental Education

Dr. Gray graduated from the University of Michigan Dental School. Before pursuing a career in dentistry, he completed a PhD in biochemistry and worked as a staff scientist at Vanderbilt University.

Dental Care Philosophy 

Dr. Gray is sincerely dedicated to providing comprehensive, high-quality dental care with compassion and personal attention for every patient. He believes each patient is an individual and enjoys getting to know everyone who visits the office. He has participated in over 400 hours of continuing education since he came to Colorado. These courses include participation in the Dawson Academy, the Spear Institute, live patient courses, TMJ treatment, smile design, and many other topics that keep him at the forefront of advances in dental treatment.

Dr. Richard Gray, DDS | Poudre Valley Family Dental

Dr. Richard Gray, DDS

Jennifer | Poudre Valley Family Dental


Office Manager/Front Office Coordinator

Valentine | Poudre Valley Family Dental


Dental Assistant

Claire | Poudre Valley Family Dental


Dental Hygienist

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“A caring and professional dentist”

“Dr. Gray has been our family dentist ever since he opened his business in Ft.Collins. I have always found him to be a caring and professional dentist. Recently, one of family had a weekend dental emergency and Dr. Gray called me personally on a Saturday to assist with this emergency. That was a huge help.” 

– Curt S.

Frequently Asked Questions about Emergency Dental Visits

Emergency Dental Treatment

Dark spots can be caused by many things, some of which include developmental enamel defects, deep grooves, stain, erosion of the enamel, a chip in the tooth, and decay.

Dental Exam

Dr. Gray can take a close look at your tooth and determine what is causing the dark spot and discuss options for how to address it. By the time a cavity is visible as a dark spot on your tooth, it is already quite advanced, and has been growing for a long time (even though it may not hurt or cause sensitivity).

Contact Our Office

Any time you are concerned about a dark spot, call and make an appointment for an evaluation. If we catch a cavity soon enough, we may be able to repair the tooth with a filling. If it continues to grow larger, a root canal treatment and crown may be needed to save the tooth. Bear in mind that there is always the possibility that our exam will reveal that the dark spot is not a cavity and you can stop worrying about the tooth!

We will treat you the same way we treat patients who have been coming to see us every six months year-after-year.

Sometimes life plays out in ways that prevent us from doing certain things we ought to do–we understand. Our point of view is that we’re happy you made the decision to have your oral health evaluated. We’re here to understand your priorities, present our findings by telling you what we see during our exam, and provide you with the information you need to make decisions about how you want to move forward with your dental care.

It’s difficult to know without examining the tooth. Sometimes front teeth that have been bumped or subjected to trauma can darken in shade. It is important to have these teeth evaluated because root canal treatment may be needed to prevent further damage to the tooth. This damage is called root resorption, and If left unchecked, the tooth may be lost.

Address Dental Decay

Front teeth can also start to turn black due to decay. This is a serious situation which needs to be addressed immediately. Although the decay is extensive and has caused severe destruction of the tooth by the time the tooth starts turning black, these teeth can often still be saved if they are treated right away.

If a tooth is lost due to trauma, there are a few guidelines to follow, which will depend on whether or not the tooth is a baby tooth or permanent tooth:

  • If a child’s tooth is knocked out, it is important to determine whether the tooth is an adult/permanent tooth, or a baby/primary tooth. If the tooth is a baby tooth, do NOT try to place it back in the socket (if it is an adult tooth, see below). Placing a baby tooth back in its socket can damage the permanent tooth that is still forming behind the baby tooth. Call your dentist for an evaluation of the bone around the site and to determine if a space maintainer is necessary to prevent the other teeth from drifting into the empty space. If teeth drift into the space, they can cause serious problems with the eruption of the permanent tooth. One of the important functions of baby teeth is to hold space for the permanent teeth.
  • If an adult’s tooth is knocked out, do not touch the root of the tooth. Rinse the tooth with Hanks Balanced Salt Solution (such as from a first aid kit), sterile saline, or whole milk, or saliva–not water. Gently replace the tooth in the socket, have the person close gently on gauze or a paper towel to hold the tooth in place. Call a dentist immediately–timing is crucial to saving the tooth.  If the tooth is coated with dirt or sand and rinsing does not clean it, place the tooth in Hanks Solution, saline, milk, or saliva–not water, keep it cool, and get to a dentist’s office immediately.  The root of the tooth has cells that can allow it to re-integrate into the socket. Touching the root or cleaning it with anything abrasive can destroy these cells and decrease the chance of integration.
  • The dentist will take multiple radiographs and evaluate the tooth and the surrounding bone for fractures and numb the area. If the tooth is not in the socket, they will clean the tooth, reinsert it into the socket, and place a splint made from wire or filling material. If the tooth is already in the socket, they will place a splint. In either case, the dentist will take additional radiographs to confirm the tooth is properly seated.
  • The dentist may place you on antibiotics and advise a tetanus booster.
  • The tooth will remain splinted for 1-2 weeks and the dentist will have to re-evaluate the condition of the tooth periodically. The tooth may eventually need root canal treatment even if it does successfully re-integrate into its socket.

When a tooth breaks, it is important to call your dentist right away. Sometimes broken teeth do not hurt, but they are still at risk for additional fractures, new decay, and other problems.

Dental Emergency Care

A short emergency visit to your dentist will allow him or her to assess the condition of the tooth, discuss risks, benefits, and options for treatment or leaving the tooth as-is, and help you make an informed decision about how to proceed. If you choose not to have the tooth evaluated by your dentist, anything can happen. The tooth may be fine for many years. However, you may develop decay or additional fractures which result in the necessity for multiple costly procedures to save the tooth. You could even lose the tooth due to excessive destruction that could have been prevented if a filling or crown had been placed at the time of the original break.