Dr. Erik Harrington was ready to call it a day. Closing time quickly approached at Highland Park Dental, the dentistry practice Dr. Harrington owns in the Park Cities.

But before he could get out the door—and to his own child’s soccer game—a staffer interrupted him. A pair of distraught parents and their scared 3-year-old daughter had just entered the office. Could he help? 

It took him just one look at the girl to know that he wouldn't be making that soccer game. 

“That little girl was so brave,” Dr. Harrington said. “She had this long curly hair and these big brown eyes. She looked like a princess, except for her mouth.” 

Earlier, she had pulled a glass tabletop on top of her, fracturing her two front teeth. Now, she needed help. 

Many dentists promise top service—but Dr. Harrington practices it. He didn’t hesitate; when faced with that scared girl, he went to work. 

One of the fractures was minor and didn’t require medical attention. The second, though, was serious. That tooth was split down its middle and its nerve was exposed. It had to come out immediately. 

Unfortunately, the patient was only three. 

“How are we going to do this with such a young child?” Dr. Harrington asked himself. “I could hold her down, give her an injection, get the forceps out and pull the tooth. Sometimes you need one of the parents to help hold down the child. That’s really not a great option for a toddler.”

There was another option, though. Dr. Harrington has medical privileges at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas. Many pediatric dentists send their after-hours emergencies to the emergency room, letting the residents there handle the issues. 

He didn’t like that choice. For Dr. Harrington, emergency work is all part of providing comfort to his patients. In addition to the split tooth, his young patient faced a second challenge: No one could find the rest of her fractured tooth. She might have inhaled it into her lungs. To find out for sure, she would need X-rays.

“When something like this happens, the parents are naturally concerned,” he said. “Even non-life-threatening emergencies are scary for the children and parents. I want to help them every way I can.” 

Dr. Harrington met the family at Children’s Medical Center where he learned that the family maid had found the missing piece of tooth. He gave the girl a mild sedative, which caused her to fall asleep for about 10 minutes, during which he removed the fractured tooth. The girl’s father remained in the treatment room the entire time. 

“Now, that girl has a really cute smile,” Harrington said. “Her adult tooth will grow in the gap later.” 

If you want to learn more about dental health and about the special care that Dr. Harrington provides to his patients, call Highland Park Dental at 214-521-3730. The office is located at 6725 Hillcrest Ave. in Dallas.

Highland Park Dental
6725 Hillcrest Avenue
(next to Starbucks in Snider Plaza)
Dallas, Texas 75205

214 521-3730



Standing in the toothpaste aisle is a bigger decision than it used to be. Tarter control? Halitosis control? Whitening? Baking soda? Sparkly gel? What really matters when it comes to brushing your teeth?

“While most toothpaste claims are helpful or at least fairly harmless to your teeth, some can be downright dangerous,” said Dr. Aaron Jones, DDS of Highland Park Dental in Snider Plaza. “You used to be able to say ‘just make sure it has fluoride,’ but now there are more factors to consider.”

Here’s Dr. Jones’ “Toothpaste Hype or Help” List:


  • Whitening – “No toothpaste can match the results of a professional teeth whitening at your dentist’s office,” notes Dr. Jones. “It can’t hurt for coffee and red wine drinkers to have extra help in between cleanings and whitening sessions, but it won’t be as dramatic as the claims.”
  • Tarter Control – “This one surprises people,” say Dr. Jones. “Tarter control formulas contain an ingredient called sodium pyrophosphate, which can lead to hypersensitivity for normal teeth and already sensitive teeth. Such toothpaste only protects teeth above the gum line, not below, which can cause even bigger dental health problems, such as periodontal (gum) disease.”
  • Sparkly Gels, Fun Colors, Snappy Flavors – These are generally designed for visual appeal or for mouth feel. They won’t hurt you, but they don’t do anything special no matter what the box says.
  • Big Wads of Toothpaste – “All those boxes and TV commercials always show someone putting a huge amount of toothpaste on their brush. This is just to sell more toothpaste. In fact, you only need a pea-sized amount,” says Dr. Jones.


  • Fluoride – Your toothpaste absolutely needs this ingredient. It makes the tooth structure stronger and more resistant to tooth decay and cavities. Some “natural” toothpastes don’t have it so read the ingredients carefully if you’re not sure.
  • ADA Seal – Not a marketing ploy, this seal assures you that the toothpaste has been tested in controlled and clinical trials to ensure safety and efficacy. “If your toothpaste doesn’t have this seal, put it back on the shelf,” adds Dr. Jones.
  • Sensitive Formulas – Toothpastes like Sensodyne help the sensitivity that comes from gradual gum tissue recession very effectively. “Be sure to talk to your dentist first,” says Dr. Jones. “Sometimes sensitivity is an indication of a cavity or greater problem which can be masked by Sensodyne and go untreated.”
  • Triclosan – Found in Colgate Total, this ingredient has been clinically proven by the ADA to fight germs and bacteria for up to 12 hours after brushing. Colgate Total is the first toothpaste that actually prevents and reduces bad breath. “This is a tremendous breakthrough in the field of oral hygiene,” says Dr. Jones.

Once you have the right toothpaste for you, don’t forget to floss. No toothpaste or fancy toothbrush replaces the need to floss. Mouthwash can help kill germs and keep your breath fresh longer.

Dr. Jones practices at Highland Park Dental in Snider Plaza. Make an appointment at 214-521-3730 today for your best oral health.

Highland Park Dental
6725 Hillcrest Avenue
(next to Starbucks in Snider Plaza)
Dallas, Texas 75205

214 521-3730