We understand that it's necessary to handle emergencies even at times when we are fully scheduled. We realize that you can have an emergency situation arise, and we will do our best to respond to your problem promptly. If you do have such a problem, please call us as early in the day as possible. If a dental emergency occurs on a weekend or holiday, our answering service will direct you to the doctor on call at that time.
FRACTURED TOOTH OR FILLING
When you break or fracture a tooth or filling, this can be very painful and any sharp edge could cut your cheek or tongue. If you were hit in the mouth and your lips, cheek or tongue are cut, check if any fragments are stuck in the wound. You should contact us as soon as possible because the fractured tooth may become sensitive and if the nerve is exposed it can become very painful and infected. Please do not try to smooth the tooth by yourself. This can cause additional damage to the tooth.
Call our office as soon as possible to schedule an appointment to have the tooth evaluated.
In the event that a crown (cap) or bridge comes off your tooth, please call our office right away. It is important that the crown/bridge is replaced as soon as possible to give us the best chance at replacing it. If a crown/bridge is left off for too long, there is a chance that it will not be able to be re-cemented.
If the crown/bridge can be placed back on your tooth, please leave it in place as often as possible during waking hours. This will help hold the space between the teeth, giving the replacement a better chance at success. If you do wear the crown/bridge, remove it while you eat and when you sleep. You may also use a tiny amount of Vaseline or toothpaste inside the crown to help hold it in place until you can see the dentist.
PAIN/BLEEDING AFTER EXTRACTION
Slight bleeding after an extraction is normal. A clot will usually form within one hour. If bleeding continues, place a thick gauze pad over the extraction site. Apply pressure to the area for at least 30 minutes to control the bleeding. Do not suck, spit, or rinse for the first 24 hours. This includes smoking, using a straw, and spitting after brushing. Doing so may cause a dry socket to form. A dry socket is an infection in your tooth socket after a tooth is extracted. The condition usually develops when the blood clot fails to form in the socket , or if the blood clot comes loose. Dry socket occurs in approximately five percent of all tooth extractions.
Normally, the blood clot that forms after a tooth is removed promotes healing, laying the foundation for the growth of new bone tissue. When dry socket occurs, this blood clot is lost and the infected, inflamed socket appears empty - hence the name. Nerves are exposed, and sometimes the bone is visible in the empty socket.
You may not have symptoms until three to five days after the extraction. Then, the condition will manifest itself as severe pain that doesn't subside, often accompanied by what feels like an earache. You may also have bad breath and an unpleasant taste in your mouth.
Call the office right away if you notice any symptoms of dry socket. Treatment for dry socket typically includes a gentle rinsing of the socket. We then pack it with topical anestetic and a sterile gauze dressing that will dissolve on its own.
Cold sores are small sores that form most commonly on or near the lips. Cold sores usually follow a predictable pattern of four stages lasting about 10 to 14 days. The first symptom is a painful, itchy tingling. A day or so later, small red blisters appear. Then, in a few days, the blisters form into oozing sores with yellowish crusts. Finally, in a week to ten days, the sores scab over and heal.
Sometimes, outbreaks are accompanied by low fever, headaches, body aches, and fatigue.
Certain triggers seem to set off outbreaks of cold sores. Some triggers include exposure to ultraviolet light, physical and emotional stress, fatigue, hormone fluctuations, a woman's menstrual cycle, and illnesses like cold and flu.
There is no cure for cold sores, but you can ease the pain by applying over-the-counter remedies that contain numbing agents, like benzocaine or phenol, washing the infected area gently with water and an antiseptic soap, applying either a warm compress or ice, or avoiding spicy or acidic foods during an outbreak.
If this is the first time that you have had cold sores, or if fever, swollen glands, or bleeding gums accompany your cold sores, let us know right away, so we can zero in on the correct diagnosis. In some cases, we may prescribe an anti-viral medication.
Cold sores are very contagious. You can work to prevent cold sores from spreading by:
If you have had an injury and find that you have extreme pain in your jaw when it is moved or if you cannot close your mouth in a normal fashion, it is possible that you have fractured your jaw. Seek professional medical help at a hospital emergency room. The hospital will be able to treat your injury as well as advise you whether you need to make an appointment to see the dentist.
BITTEN TONGUE OR LIP
Biting or lacerating your tongue or lip may cause inflammation and possible bleeding. Use ice or pressure to control the swelling or bleeding. Any swelling should subside within twenty-four hours. Contact your Dentist if the pain persists or the laceration is deep.