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Emergencies



 
We're here - when you need us.


We know that dental emergencies don't always happen between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. If you have a medical or dental emergency, give us a call. We're happy to help. Plus, our staff is thoroughly trained so they can answer most of your dental-related questions.


Here are the top 10 commonly occurring dental emergencies and some recommendations.

1. Knocked out teeth:

A knocked out tooth is a tooth that has completely fallen out of its socket usually due to a traumatic event.  A knocked out tooth can be successfully re-implanted if acted upon quickly.  You need to find the tooth, rinse is thoroughly with clean water (hold it by its crown, not root).  Take careful measure to not to scrub the root surface of the tooth or use any cleaning agents.  Do not let the tooth dry out either.  Next hold the tooth in a proper orientation and place it slowly in the socket.  You may have to bear with some pain and bleeding.  Stabilize the tooth with gentle biting pressure.  If you are unable to place the tooth back in the socket, store it in saliva, milk, water mixed with minute amount of salt or Hank's balanced salt solution available at pharmacies.  Do not let the tooth dry out or store it in tap water.  Whether you are able to place the tooth back in its place or not, try to reach your dentist immediately for definitive care and evaluation

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2. Tooth knocked loose:

A tooth knocked loose has a high chance of survival when stabilized early.  If the tooth has been displaced, gently move it back to its place.  Do not chew on that tooth by any means before seeing your dentist.  Depending on the severity of trauma, root canal therapy may be needed in future if tooth starts to darken in color, become sensitive to hot or cold or starts aching spontaneously.

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3. Fractured tooth:

Crown fracture not involving the root of the tooth, is the most common type of fracture and it has the best long term prognosis. In this type of fracture, a part of the tooth can completely break off and, occasionally, no pain is felt after the tooth fractures. Treatment for this type of fracture is to place a crown or a filling on the tooth. If the fracture extends into the middle part of the tooth, root canal therapy would be required in addition to a crown. In order to temporarily aid a fractured tooth, you may want to place a temporary filling (available at drug stores) in that tooth and see your dentist immediately. If fracture involves root portion (part under the gum line) of the tooth, that tooth may need to be extracted.

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4. Toothache with no swelling of the gums:

Possible cause is a large decay that is encroaching on the nerve of the tooth. Take pain medicine as needed and contact your dentist. You may need root canal therapy or extraction of the offending tooth. Sometimes inflammation of the sinuses and jaw joint (TMJ) can manifest as generalized toothache in most if not all teeth.

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5. Minor swelling of the gums or jaw:

There are numerous reasons for having a swelling or tenderness in the gums. The two most common offenders are infection of the tooth due to severe decay or infection of the surrounding gum tissue due to inflammatory disease of the gums. Pain killers and antibiotics are recommended until you can visit your dentist. If the culprit is the tooth, you may need root canal therapy or extraction. In case your swelling stems from the gum infection, depending on the severity of the infection, you may need deep cleaning (Scaling and root planing), gum surgery, antibiotic therapy or extraction of the infected tooth. At times it is possible for a piece of food to get trapped in the gums, and in less than 24 hours can cause a massive amount of pain and infection. Either way, you need to see your dentist for a thorough evaluation.

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6. Severe swelling of the jaw and face:

You need to see your dentist or go to emergency room immediately. The swelling can easily progress to shut down the airway, and will be life threatening. Massive doses of antibiotics and treatment of the offending teeth will be necessary.

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7. Lost dental filling:

If your tooth is sensitive, place a temporary filling (usually available over the counter in pharmacies) in the tooth. If not, wait until you see your dentist for a new filling to be placed on the tooth. If the reason, your filling fell out is a cavity underneath the old filling, you may also need root canal therapy.

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8. Dislodged dental crown:

You may put the crown back on the tooth with a small amount of tooth paste until you see your dentist for re-cementation. If you choose to put the crown back on the tooth, be care full not to accidentally swallow it. Aside from accidental loosening of the dental crowns, the number reason for their coming loose is the decay underneath. If this is the case you may need a new crown, root canal therapy or even extraction of the tooth if decay is very extensive and renders the tooth unrestorable.

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9. Bleeding gums:

This is one of the cardinal signs of gum disease. You need thorough gingival evaluation and cleaning. Depending on the severity of your gum disease, you may also need gum surgery, antibiotic treatment, or extraction of the infected tooth.

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10. Sudden lock jaw:

Lock jaw can happen for a variety of reasons. It can be as simple as opening your jaw too widely and dislocating it. Which in this case a simple maneuver can reposition the jaw back to its place. An ongoing untreated TMJ disorder can also result in internal derangement of the joint, causing stiff, painful jaw with occasional locking. TMJ disorders need thorough evaluation and long term treatments. Contact your dentist for consultation.

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