Dental emergencies

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We offer many treatments and services, including emergency dental care.

  • Preventative care
  • Restorative care (extractions, fillings, etc.) with nitrous oxide
  • Restorative care with general anesthesia
  • Habit treatment
  • Sports mouthguard fabrication
  • Complimentary evaluation by an orthodontic specialist for children ages 7 and older

Dental Emergencies

Accidents happen. Sports injuries, falls, and accidents sometimes result in dental emergencies. Other conditions can also require emergency intervention. Sometimes, a problem that can seem critical can actually wait for a day or two. Fortunately, many concerns can be handled at home. Sometimes, a problem that can seem urgent can actually wait for a day or two. Depending on the severity of the emergency, we may recommend coming to our office or going to the hospital. Generally, any dental problem that requires immediate treatment to stop bleeding, alleviate severe pain, or save a tooth is considered an emergency and usually requires a trip to the ER.

The American Dental Association (ADA) shares information on recognizing dental emergencies and offers first aid tips in this 60-second video:  (David, most of the videos are in the video library, but this one must appear here to introduce types of emergencies).

Toothache: A toothache is the body’s way of saying something is not right in the mouth. Rinse the mouth with warm salt water and give an over-the-counter pain reliever if needed. Try using dental floss to remove any material caught between teeth. If the pain has a sudden onset or when swelling, difficulty breathing, bumps on the gums, headache, or fever are present with the toothache, go to one of the area hospitals whose ER has an emergency dental team. These symptoms could indicate an infection or dental abscess. A serious infection in your mouth can be potentially life-threatening. If the mouth or jaw suddenly becomes swollen for no apparent reason, it could indicate an infection, an irritation of the lymph nodes, or some other factor that requires immediate medical intervention in the ER.

Tongue bitten or bleeding lip: Clean and apply a cold compress to the injured area until bleeding subsides. If bleeding is heavy, does not stop, or parts of the lip or tongue are missing, or sutures are needed to close a gap, proceed to the ER.

Broken Tooth: A chipped or broken tooth is not an emergency unless the fracture is very painful or has left sharp fragments causing trauma inside the mouth. Rinse your mouth with warm water and apply a cold compress. If the tooth is chipped and does not hurt, contact us on our next business day.

Dislodged Permanent Tooth (Knocked out): It is time to take immediate action! First, locate the tooth, if possible. Then, carefully pick it up by the top, being careful not to touch the roots. Do not rinse the tooth with water but place it in a cup of milk. If milk is not available or injury occurs in a sports field or away from home, take care not to rinse the naturally occurring enzymes on the tooth but clear any debris and place the tooth back into the socket and hold it in place. Response time is critical. Teeth can often be reinserted when the patient seeks medical or dental attention within an hour. Go to the closest ER with an emergency dental team.

Lost filling or dislodged crown: Fillings and crowns are meant to be permanent, but sometimes, they pop out due to wear and tear. If the dental crown is not broken, it could be salvageable, and this could save time and money when you have it fixed and replaced. Contact the general dentist who performed the procedure for your child.  While a lost filling is not a true dental emergency, it is vital to contact us on our next business day. Your tooth is going to be weakened and, likely, more sensitive. Bacteria and food particles can also stick into empty spaces. Remove the filling from the mouth, so it is not accidentally swallowed. Gently brush your teeth. Avoid chewing on the affected tooth. A pain reliever may help with any discomfort.



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