If you had an injury to your foot, and there was a chance you’d lose a toe, you’d see a doctor as soon as possible.
Your teeth deserve the same level of care. A dental emergency is a true emergency. Toughing it out is the worst thing you can do. If there’s any way to keep one of your natural teeth, that should always be your first option.
Dental problems almost always get worse without professional treatment. Dental emergencies need care as soon as possible. In many cases, lost time can equal lost teeth.
What Constitutes a Dental Emergency?
Dental emergencies fall into two basic types: injury and severe pain. They break down like this:
- A tooth has been knocked out of its socket or come out on its own
- A tooth has been broken or severely damaged.
- There are significant cuts to the lips, tongue, gums, or insides of the cheeks.
- You have severe dental pain.
Let’s take those one at a time.
If a tooth has come out of its socket for any reason, the first and most important thing is to never touch the root. The root is crucial for re-rooting the tooth, which is often possible.
Handle the tooth carefully and rinse it off in clear water. Then, try to reinsert it into the socket to protect the socket and the tooth. If you’re successful, leave it alone! There’s a good chance that the tooth will re-root and once again be firmly fixed in place.
If you can’t re-insert the tooth, wrap it carefully – again, without touching the root – and call our office at 574-208-5668. We’ll make every effort to see you the same day. If your emergency happens after normal business hours, call the after-hours number on the answering machine message.
If a tooth has broken or been severely damaged, the most important thing is to collect and keep all the pieces. It may be possible for Dr. Hurcomb to restore the tooth. Call our office for an emergency appointment. This is another of those don’t-wait situations. Depending on where the tooth has broken or taken damage, it could expose the tissues inside to infection. And, you’re likely to be in a significant amount of pain. We’ll take steps to get you out of pain as quickly as possible and deal with the emergency.
Cuts to the inside of the mouth tissues is almost always due to accident. The first thing you should do is try to stop the bleeding. If you can’t manage that in a reasonable amount of time, get to a hospital emergency room as quickly as you can. If you’re delayed getting there, don’t take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like aspirin or ibuprofen for pain. They can actually increase bleeding.
Dental pain can start small and increase rapidly, or come on all at once. The most common cause is infection that has reached the nerves of the tooth. If not treated, the infection can spread to the underlying bone. Again, this is a scenario where toughing it out will almost certainly cause more harm. If you have severe dental pain, call our office at once at 574-208-5668.
How We Can Help
Even if you’re unsuccessful at re-inserting a tooth that is out of its socket, Dr. Hurcomb very likely can get it back in place with the best chance of re-rooting. For a broken or severely damaged tooth, we’ll explore the possibility of bonding the tooth back together. If that’s not an option, a natural-looking dental crown will protect the tooth and restore your ability to chew.
If the tooth is too damaged for a crown, extraction is indicated. Dr. Hurcomb will discuss options for replacing the lost tooth, which include a dental bridge or a dental implant.
If you’re in pain because a tooth is infected, a root canal procedure is the treatment of choice. Dr. Hurcomb will open the tooth, remove the infected pulp together with the nerves (which stops the pain immediately), seal the tooth against infection, and cover it with a dental crown.
Dental emergencies are true emergencies, and lost time can equal lost teeth. If you have a dental emergency, or even think you do, call our office at once at 574-208-5668. We’ll see you as soon as possible.
For non-emergency appointments, you can use our online scheduling application which will collect all the information necessary to provide you with dental care. It also allows you to choose the date and time for your appointment that works well with your schedule.
Don’t take chances with a dental emergency. All of us at Tulip Tree Dental Care want you to keep your natural teeth for life.