Dental emergencies can happen at the most unexpected time. When they happen, it is important to know what to do right away and when to go to see an emergency dentist. Dentists that handle emergencies may be hard to find after hours. Emergency dentistry can be obtained at various dental offices, including Champion Dental. Our dentists are available and can be reached during off-hours via phone.
Some dental situations need to be treated by a dentist as soon as possible – oftentimes within an hour or less. This is why they are called same-day emergencies. If you wait longer than an hour or so, such as for a tooth that has been completely knocked out (avulsed), it may not be able to be saved.
Many dental situations are not considered emergencies. The following dental or oral issues may be considered an emergency:
While dentist offices are open, you can usually come as a walk-in – without an appointment. The dentists at Champion Dental know that emergencies can occur at any time and they will provide emergency dental services when you come in. They have experience in many types of dental situations and are trained and experienced in providing emergency dental care.
Dr. Vadivel has been practicing for over 25 years. As a Board-certified periodontist, he knows much more than a general dentist. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm. It is closed on Saturday and Sunday – except for appointments.
When the office is closed, you can still reach a dentist in our office through our emergency number. You will need to leave a message and we will get back to you. It is recommended that you carry this phone number with you if you (or a family member) are engaged in activities that could result in a dental emergency – such as sports.
Here are some of the more common dental emergencies:
Knocked Out Tooth
When a permanent tooth is completely knocked out, you need to find it. Be careful to pick it up by the crown of the tooth and not by the roots. If it has become dirty, rinse it off gently with water. If possible, try and replace it in the socket but make sure you do not try and put it in backward.
If it will not go back into the socket, you can have the person place it between their gums and cheek. Do not do this with a young child because they may swallow it. If this is not possible, place it in milk, in the person’s saliva, or in water that is slightly salty. You can also place it in a product at the drug store made for this purpose.
Placing the tooth back in the socket quickly increases the likelihood that reimplantation will be successful. If it takes much longer than that it is doubtful. A knocked out tooth should be treated by a dentist within an hour. Contact the dentist immediately and let the office know that you are on the way.
When you arrive at the dentist office in time, the dentist will likely try and splint it to the neighboring teeth. An x-ray will probably be taken to ensure it is seated correctly and that no other teeth have been damaged. Two weeks later, the dentist will check it to see if it was successful.
When a child knocks out a primary or baby tooth, do not try and replace it. The dentist will not try. Other measures may be taken but trying to replace it may damage the tooth under it.
A Displaced Tooth
When a tooth is displaced, it has moved further into the bone or partially out of the socket, it is a dental emergency. This is similar to when a tooth is knocked out. You do not want to wiggle it with your fingers or tongue. Leave it alone. Get to a dentist as soon as you can (within 30 minutes if possible) and the tooth may be able to be saved.
At the dentist’s office, the dentist will perform a scan of the jaw and tooth to ensure that there is no other damage. Afterward, the tooth will be splinted to the neighboring tooth to stabilize it.
The tooth may also need to have a root canal. This may be necessary to save it and it will probably be given a crown. If it is necessary, it will enable the tooth to see many more years of use.
People often debate whether they should go to a hospital or a dentist when they have a dental emergency. Most hospitals do not have a dentist on staff. This means that when you go you are going to pay for the emergency room visit and not get the treatment you need. You will still have to wait until you can see a dentist – and pay for the dentist’s fees when you finally get there.
Medical doctors are not allowed to handle dental situations, but they can do things like help with pain, fix a broken jaw, and help with an infection. If you can find a dentist that can treat your dental emergency, you are better off either waiting or perhaps traveling a little further to see one. It will also save you a lot of money. The dentists at Champion Dental can be reached 24/7.
Toothaches can come on suddenly and they can produce a lot of pain. When you have a toothache, the first thing you need to do is to rinse your mouth out with water. The pain is often caused by food lodged between your teeth. Gently try to remove any food particles that may be lodged there. This will often stop the pain temporarily.
Toothaches are not always considered dental emergencies. Contacting the dentist’s office and talking to them will help you to know whether you should come in right away or schedule an appointment. You will need to describe the tooth and how much damage there is before you can be given a good answer. They may tell you to come in for an examination and schedule an appointment for treatment at another time.
A more serious problem is a toothache that is caused by a tooth abscess. This problem is much more serious and it can be very painful. It is caused by an infection in the tooth that has spread to the gums. The gums near the tooth will be inflamed and you may see pus oozing out around the tooth.
Symptoms that this problem has become severe include having trouble breathing, a fever, and swollen lymph nodes in your neck or under your jaw. Your cheek may also be swollen. This is a dental emergency and you need to see a dentist right away. The infection can spread in your gums and jawbone and reach your brain – where it could be fatal.
A broken tooth is another dental emergency. This could mean that a chip of the tooth has broken off, or that the whole top of the tooth (the crown) has broken off. When a piece of your tooth is broken off, you want to find the piece or pieces and bring them to the dentist.
Contact the dentist right away and find out what they advise. If there is not a lot of pain – and most of the time there will not be any – you may be scheduled at another date for treatment. When you get treatment for it, the dentist may give you a filling, a crown, or may have to extract the tooth.
A cracked tooth can be a problem depending on the depth of the crack and where it is in relation to the tooth. If the crack is wide and the interior is visible, it can quickly become infected and will likely be painful – especially when you eat or drink. Small cracks only need a filling.
If the crack is lengthy and extends into the root of the tooth, the dentist will likely extract it. If it is extracted, it can be replaced with a dental implant or a bridge.
Another problem is that you have pain when you bite. This could be caused by several things and the dentist can discover them. If there is no visible infection near the tooth it is probably not a dental emergency. Just make an appointment soon. It could be caused by a cracked tooth, which needs treatment soon to prevent the crack from becoming larger.
When you need emergency dental care – even if it is in the middle of the night – you can still get the exam and treatment you need. At Champion Dental, a dentist is available who can offer expert emergency dental treatment, or provide advice over the phone if the office is closed.
Dental care is available on a 24-hour basis, but you need to know what to do when an emergency happens to help ensure that the tooth will survive. The longer it takes to get treatment, the less likely a tooth will survive.
When you call Champion Dental after hours, you can expect to be asked about the nature of the problem. Many things are not real emergencies and can often wait until the office opens. If our dentist believes it is an emergency, you will be able to be seen by a dentist.
Even if a tooth is replanted, there is still the possibility that it may not survive. It will take about two weeks to find out. A root canal, if conducted, may not always be able to save a damaged tooth. This will leave the injured person with the need to either get a dental implant and crown installed or a dental bridge.
Prevention Is the Goal
It is important to realize that prevention is the best medicine and it is cheaper, too. Most dental emergencies can be prevented by getting treatment at the first sign of a dental problem. A simple cavity can eventually lead to bigger problems such as a need for a root canal or an extraction. If it was treated early, the cost would be much less. Regular dental care given about every six months can help prevent problems from getting bigger.
Some lifestyle changes can also help with prevention. Eating a healthy diet will make your teeth stronger – and your immune system. This will make it more difficult for a tooth to crack or break and having a healthy immune system in your gums will help fight gum disease. Smoking reduces the flow of blood to your jaw and gums, which also reduces the nutrients. Wearing a mouthguard can often prevent sports injuries, dental problems if you grind your teeth in your sleep and it will help preserve your smile.
Champion Dental can help you with dental emergencies. Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS, a Board Certified Periodontist, provides emergency dentist services. He is a walk in dentist that cares for his patients. Most dental insurance plans are accepted.