Dental Emergencies

Help!! I am experiencing a dental emergency!

A dental emergency can range from a broken tooth, to an infection, to a traumatic fracture, to the loss of a crown or filling.

Some emergencies are more cosmetic in nature. It can be very stressful to face a cosmetic emergency with a busy social calendar! Luckily we are here to help.

The following issues merit a visit to the emergency room:

  • An injury with associated alteration of the bite, loss of consciousness, or pointed tenderness, bleeding, lacerations to the face or lips
  • The inability to swallow or handle ones own secretions
  • The inability to open your mouth fully
  • Facial swelling that is visible when you look in the mirror
  • High fever over 101.5 degrees

 The following issues merit calling your general dentist:

  • A broken filling or chipped or dislodged crown
  • New onset pain in a tooth that is not associated with any swelling
  • Chipped teeth

What to do if a tooth is dislodged, or pushed/ malpositioned by trauma:

  • Replace the tooth immediately if you can. If the teeth are malpositioned, and you feel comfortable doing so, you can physically move them into the best position possible.
  • If the tooth has been completely knocked out, put it in saline and bring it with you to the emergency room. Try not to touch the root surface
  • Baby teeth that are avulsed should not be replaced, but follow up with your pediatric dentist to make sure that there is no root remnant remaining.

Dislodged crown or filling

  • There is commercially available Temporary filling material at most drug stores. You can recement a crown in many cases using this.

Emergency pain

  • When you are having severe pain in a tooth, there is no question it can be unbearable. The only medical option that has much success is antibiotics, which can settle and neutralize the issue TEMPORARILY. It is NEVER recommended to take a friend or loved ones leftover antibiotics. See an urgent care doctor and get your own prescription. Using narcotics that are not prescribed to you is ILLEGAL. We find that extra strength Motrin works well for those who can take it, and is much more effective in most cases than any narcotic.
  • Ultimately root canals, sedative fillings, and extractions will provide the permanent relief you are seeking. Follow up is critical.

Follow up from Virginia Hospital center

  • For our patients that are following up from the hospital, the following will make your follow up visit much more seamless:
    • Bring any pictures of your bite/ face/ teeth before your injury
    • Be sure to have the ER print a CD of your CT scan for us to view (NOT a typed interpretation, but the actual images themselves)
    • A list of medications that you take or have been prescribed after the injury
    • Your medical and dental insurance cards and photo identification