If you are an existing patient or someone looking for information on a dental emergency, please read the following information on some of the common emergencies that we see.
Dental emergencies are very common. Listed below you will find the some of the more common emergencies that we see at our office listed in alphabetical order. Whether listed below or not, if you are experiencing any dental emergency it is important to let us know right away so that we may address the issue at hand.
Avulsed tooth: An avulsed tooth means a tooth that has ‘popped out’ of its socket. This is most common in active children playing sports or just playing at home or in the yard. If this happens, call your dentist right away to get in to see him. Place the tooth in milk or water and bring it to the dentist. The longer it is out of the mouth the odds of success for treatment go down. At the office we usually place the tooth back in the socket and splint it to the surrounding teeth. It may be necessary to perform a root canal in the future.
Chipped/cracked tooth: Teeth can have varying degrees of damage that may alter treatment with chipped teeth. If the chip is just in the enamel, the outermost layer of the tooth, there is usually no sensitivity. A lot of times we just smooth the tooth down or a tooth colored filling is placed. If the fracture progresses further into the tooth or you have sensitivity, we will need to determine the best treatment for you by performing an exam.
Cold sensitivity that goes away: If you are experiencing pain or sensitivity to cold that lasts until the cold is removed from the tooth, this is a good sign. It tells us that it is a reversible cause and can usually be corrected easily within one visit.
Cold sensitivity that does not go away: Pain that lingers for minutes to hours, or occurs spontaneously, usually indicates that the tooth has irreversible damage and a root canal will be needed.
Cold sore: The most common place for a cold sore is on the edge of your lip. It usually occurs at times of stress when the immune system is slightly depressed. You can also experience this on your gum tissue inside of your mouth. We usually prescribe antiviral medications, and OTC products such as acyclovir are great alternatives.
Heat sensitivity: If you are experiencing pain or altered sensation to heat, the chances of having an infection at the end of the root of the tooth are very high. A root canal is usually needed.
Infection: While the majority of infections associated with teeth are minor, it is possible for very serious, even life-threatening infections to develop. In any case, the source of the infection must be resolved so either a root canal or an extraction may be necessary. Antibiotics will also be helpful in helping your body take care of the infection.
Lock Jaw: This is a common term for when the temporomandibular joint becomes deranged. The mandibular (lower jaw) portion of the joint becomes displaced forward and will not go back to the normal position. This is not a common condition. We treat this by manipulating the joint back into the correct position.
Loose tooth: Teeth can be loose for a variety of reasons. We will determine the cause and propose treatment tailored to your needs. Some common causes are a traumatic bite, trauma, and periodontal disease.
Lost filling: If there is no sensitivity, it usually is not an emergency. However, if there is sensitivity the tooth in question will need to be evaluated to determine the cause of the failure of the filling and if possible, we will replace the filling.
Toothache: Toothaches are usually caused by an irreversible process of the cavity affecting the pulp of the tooth or an infection that has set in. While there can be reversible causes, meaning a simple fix or it may go away on its own, it is quite possible that the tooth may require a root canal.
Trauma: Trauma can have varying effects on the dentition and supporting structures. Call us right away so we can address the problem.