What is a Dental Emergency?

A dental emergency is something that requires immediate attention, even if it means calling the dentist after hours. Examples of this are:

  • When a child is hit in the face and their tooth is fractured to the nerve.
  • When you are eating a salad and you bite into a rock and split your tooth in half.
  • You trip and fall and fracture your front teeth to the gum line.
  • You wake up in the middle of the night having fractured your tooth due to clenching and you are having serious pain.
  • You open your mouth wide to try to eat a sandwich or you yawn really big and your jaw gets stuck and you can't close it.

If it happens outside of office hours (like on weekends or holidays), it can often be difficult to find a doctor who will see you. We are committed to caring for our patients in the event of a true dental emergency and are relatively easy to reach through our answering service. However, we also think it's important to discuss what is NOT a dental emergency. For things that are not true emergencies, we ask our patients to schedule an appointment during regular office hours. We will get them in as soon as we can, but it can be handled during office hours and not on weekends or holidays. Examples of this are:

  • You had a cavity diagnosed 8 months ago and it has started twinging but it's not excruciating pain.
  • Your crown came off.
  • You broke your filling but are not in serious pain.
  • You forgot what time your appointment is on Monday morning.

Why do you need treatment for a Dental Emergency?

Our preference is to practice prevention so that we don't have to have dental emergencies. However, they can happen to anyone at any time.

A dental emergency can get worse in a short period of time without proper treatment. Something that would be considered more minor can escalate to where it is a real issue. In some cases, infections may occur and need treatment alongside the actual emergency that you're dealing with at the moment. This is why we recommend quick, adequate treatment as soon as possible.

What are some of the more common Dental Emergencies?

We see a number of different dental emergencies on any given day. For this reason, we recommend coming in to be seen whenever you notice something is wrong. Some of the more common emergencies include,

  • Severe toothache and pain
  • Abscessing and infections
  • Broken or cracked teeth
  • Lost fillings, crowns or bridge work
  • Broken or lost appliances (dentures, night guards)

What can be expected while undergoing Dental Emergency treatment?

The first thing we'll do is to ask you about the problem you're currently experiencing. This allows us to see if an x-ray is necessary and if it is, we will work to take one quickly and easily. We examine the x-ray and your teeth to determine the root cause of the actual problem. You will then have treatment administered while you're in the office, as this helps to prevent the problem from getting worse. We will prescribe antibiotics if there is an active infection present at the time of your appointment.

If you think you might have an emergency and want to come in to see someone, call our office today and our helpful staff members can further assist you.