Emergency Dental Treatment
Accidents happen, and we are here to help.
Accidents happen, and we are here to help. If you experience a dental emergency like a broken or knocked out adult tooth, please contact the office and we will do everything in our power to evaluate and if possible, treat you condition the same day. We handle most surgery, root canals, and other emergency needs right here in our office, so there is a good chance we can resolve your problem. After hours, if you have an urgent dental emergency that requires immediate attention, you can call the office at (330) 875-1688 and your call will be directed to Dr. Thomas.
In addition, knowing what to do when an accident occurs can mean the difference between saving and losing a tooth.
Here are some tips for common dental emergencies:
- Dental Pain
- Abscess (swelling/infection)
- Temporary crown or bridge is lost/broken/swallowed
- Permanent crown or bridge is lost/broken/swallowed
- Broken tooth/lost filling
- Avulsed (completely dislodged) tooth and root
- Sensitivity to cold/hot
If you are having mild to moderate tooth pain and it is after office hours, most adults can take up to 800 mg ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) every 6 hours (maximum 3,200 mg/day) or up to 1,000mg of Extra Strength Tylenol every 6 hours (maximum 3,000 mg/day) to mitigate the pain until we can see you. Do not take ibuprofen if you are allergic to it, if you are allergic to aspirin, or if you are allergic to other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines. Avoid ibuprofen if you have a history of asthma with aspirin sensitivity and nasal polyps. Use ibuprofen with caution if you have a history of ulcers or GI bleeding. If you are pregnant, talk to your OB/GYN before taking any medicine.
You may alternate the two medicines for moderate to severe pain by taking ibuprofen, then taking Tylenol three hours later, then the ibuprofen again three hours after that if needed. Keep that rotation going as needed or until you can receive treatment. If that does not help or if the pain is severe, you may call our office at (330) 875-1688. If you are having trouble reaching us after hours, or if you are not a regular patient of our office, you may want to go to one of the urgent dental centers in the area or to the nearest hospital ER for pain relief.
If there is a blister or boil on your gum near the infected tooth and that blister is draining (usually you’ll see pus or notice a bad taste in your mouth), this is not an emergency and can be handled on the next business day. A draining abscess is better than one that is not draining, as it is a sign that the body is attempting to rid itself of the infection. If there is facial swelling or the abscess is not draining, contact us, or go to the nearest hospital ER. If swelling involves the eye or neck or limits mouth opening, go to the emergency room immediately! This severe infection may require IV antibiotics and/or the establishment of drainage.
Temporary Crown is lost/broken/swallowed
If your temporary came off and it is still in good condition, save the temporary and call our office to schedule an appointment to re-cement it as soon as possible. Ideally, the temporary should be reattached within 2-3 days to prevent tooth shifting.
If you cannot make an appointment to have the temporary re-cemented within 2-3 days or if the tooth is very sensitive, clean any excess cement out of the inside of the temporary with a toothpick and then use some Fixodent or temporary crown cement (available at most drug stores) to reattach the temporary. It is best to fit your temporary on your tooth a few times before adding the cement, so that you know which way to properly orient it. Also, if denture adhesive or temporary cement are unavailable, regular toothpaste (not whitening or tarter control) can hold it temporarily.
If the temporary is swallowed, don’t panic, it will not hurt you. If the temporary is missing or broken and the tooth is sensitive, get some orthodontic wax at the drug store and cover the sensitive tooth the best you can. Try to avoid chewing in that area and eat lukewarm food and drink until we can replace the temporary.
Broken tooth/lost filling
If the break is small and not sensitive, it is not an emergency. Please call during office hours to schedule an appointment for us to fix the tooth. If it is sharp to the tongue or cheek, try filling the void with some orthodontic wax or temporary filling material, available at most drug stores. If that doesn’t help, call us and we can smooth it for you. If the tooth has moderate to severe pain because of the fracture, and ibuprofen or other over-the-counter pain medicines aren’t helping, contact us.
Avulsed (completely dislodged) tooth and root
If the tooth has been loose for some time and has finally come out, this is not an emergency. If a healthy tooth has been knocked out because of an accident, find the tooth, rinse off any obvious dirt or debris but DO NOT SCRUB IT. Immediately put the tooth back in the socket and call the emergency phone. If you cannot get the tooth back into the socket, store the tooth in saliva (in the patient’s mouth) or in a cup of milk and get to someone who can help you (dentist’s office or hospital ER). Time is of the essence: see a dentist or hospital dentist within one hour, if at all possible. If the tooth can be re-implanted in your mouth, it must be done soon. If you can’t reach us, go to any dentist — just go quickly! The quicker the tooth goes back in the socket, the more likely it is to re-attach and heal. If any bones are broken or soft tissue is cut, go to the emergency room. Don’t wiggle the loose tooth. It will need to be stabilized by a dentist right away.
Sensitivity to cold/hot
This is generally not an emergency. Immediately stop using tarter control or whitening toothpaste and switch to a sensitive paste like Crest Sensitive or Sensodyne. You should always use a soft bristled toothbrush. When brushing your teeth, start in a different area than you are used to and brush the sensitive area last. Before you start brushing, warm your bristles under warm water. Make a dental appointment to see what the problem is.
Permanent crown or bridge is lost/broken/swallowed
If some of the porcelain breaks off of your bridge or crown, this is usually not an emergency. Call our office to make an appointment. If the crown or bridge is loose, or if it came off, save it. It’s possible to re-cement it in some situations. Do your best to clean out the inside of the crown or bridge and put it back on with temporary dental cement or denture adhesive (available at most drug stores) in the meantime. If the crown is lost and the tooth hurts, try over-the-counter medicines for pain. If a crown is swallowed, it will usually pass without issue. It may be possible to retrieve it, sterilize it, and replace it. Please contact our office for instructions. If you swallow a bridge or other dental prosthesis, contact us or report to an emergency room right away. Larger items can potentially lodge in the digestive tract and cause serious harm.
6020 Louisville Street Northeast
Louisville, OH 44641
Phone: (330) 875-1688