Emergency Dentistry Services
How do I Know I’m Experiencing a Dental Emergency?
Many patients hesitate to contact us because they don’t feel sure their situation “counts” as an emergency. We encourage you to call anytime you think you may need urgent dental care because in most cases, you’re right! Additionally, it’s best if we begin the restoration process right away in order to prevent additional damage or discomfort. If you still feel hesitant about giving us a call, here are some of the many emergencies we can help with:
- Broken, cracked, worn teeth or dental restorations
- Knocked out teeth or dental restorations
- Facial trauma due to car, sports, or other accidental injuries
- Dental sensitivity that makes eating, drinking, and sometimes even speaking uncomfortable
- Severe toothache
- Foreign matter stuck between teeth
- Soft tissue lacerations or injuries
What Can I Do During a Dental Emergency?
Depending on the cause your urgent dental needs, there are numerous ways to care for your smile and relieve discomfort at home until you reach our office. The first thing you should do is contact our team, so we can help you assess your situation. Always remember that ice packs applied at twenty-minute intervals are great for slowing blood flow, reducing inflammation, and relieving pain. You can also take over the counter pain relievers as directed. Next, you can take a look at our first aid and pain management tips below (no need to memorize them we’ll be happy to help you through the situation over the phone):
- Avulsed (knocked out) teeth – this is a fairly common occurrence, but we know it can be frightening. The first thing you should do is find the tooth. If at all possible, replace the tooth into the socket it was avulsed from, and hold it in place by biting down on gauze or clean cloth. It’s important to leave any tissue attached to the tooth in place. You can run the tooth under water to remove foreign matter, but do your best not to dislodge the remaining soft tissue. If you’re not able to replace the tooth, store it in a container of milk or water. Then, bite down on gauze to stop any bleeding. You can also use ice or a cold compress to slow bleeding, minimize swelling, and relieve pain.
- Lost restoration – similar to a knocked out tooth, you may be able to replace a larger restoration with a little bit of denture adhesive available in your local pharmacy. First, track down your restoration. Then, rinse your mouth with warm water. If there is bleeding, you can apply pressure by biting down on gauze. If possible, put the restoration back in place with denture adhesive. If not possible, bring your restoration to our office with you. If there are sharp tooth edges that may damage your soft tissue or opposing teeth, you can use orthodontic wax to cover the sharp points until your appointment.
- Broken tooth or restoration – no one ever wants to experience an extra crunch when they bite into their favorite foods, but when it does happen, stay calm. If there are large pieces of the tooth or restoration, keep them to bring to our team. If your mouth is bleeding, try to apply pressure to stop the flow. Cover any sharp pieces of the tooth with orthodontic wax or by biting down on gauze or clean cloth to protect surrounding teeth and soft tissue.
- Loose tooth – try to prevent the tooth from falling out. You can bite on gauze or cloth to keep the tooth in place. Don’t wiggle the tooth or chew with that part of your mouth.
If you’re ever concerned that an emergency may be life threatening, please proceed to the nearest emergency medical facility or contact emergency services by phone. Our team will be happy to work in conjunction with these medical professionals to ensure your safety and plan for the complete restoration of your smile.
How Can I Prevent a Dental Emergency?
You can’t always plan for or avoid a dental emergency no matter how thoroughly you care for your smile, but there are some habits that put patients at an increased risk for potential dentistry emergencies. Some of the behavioral changes you can make to avoid unnecessary damage to your smile include:
- Remember the oral hygiene basics. Brush twice a day, floss at least once, and visit our team twice a year for checkups.
- Kick your nail, ice, or pencil eraser chewing habits to the curb! You will weaken the biting surfaces of your teeth and increase the risk for wear, cracks, and breaking.
- Don’t use your teeth to open packages. We’ve all been there, but try to avoid this method of opening bags or tearing off tags.
- Always wear an athletic mouthguard when participating in sports games or practices.
- Use a nightguard to protect teeth during sleep if you struggle with nighttime teeth grinding and clenching.
- We’re talking specifically to a certain few, do not open beer bottles with your teeth!