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Dental emergencies can be devastating to your smile and your oral health if you don’t receive care in a timely fashion. Failing to address a broken tooth, an abscess or a severe toothache promptly can lead to serious consequences (not to mention unnecessary discomfort!). Our practice is equipped to provide emergency dental care during our business hours, and our on-call service can provide guidance for dental emergencies that occur when the office is closed.
Some dental emergencies can be addressed right in our office while others may require referrals to specialists, such as oral surgeons, for additional intervention. As with all of the dental care we provide, we will work to make you as comfortable as possible during your emergency, dental treatments.
The recommended action for broken teeth depends on the degree of the break. If the tooth is cracked, your only symptom may be intermittent pain. You should call our office as soon as possible to schedule an exam and move forward with treatment. If a portion of the tooth has broken off, you can cover up any rough edges with dental cement or dental wax to avoid injuring your tongue. Apply clean gauze to the area if bleeding occurs, and use a cold pack to reduce any swelling. Call our office to schedule an appointment to determine the degree of the break and what treatment is needed. If the pulp or nerve is damaged, the patient likely will need a root canal. For more superficial breaks, a crown may suffice.
If the tooth has been dislodged completely, it may still be possible to save it. You can attempt to gently insert it back into the socket. If that does not work, you can either hold it in place between your cheek and your gums (only while awake, though) or store it in milk or a tooth storage solution that can be purchased at a drug store.
A dental emergency is any oral health problem that requires urgent and immediate dental treatment. This could include broken or dislodged teeth, severe toothaches, abscesses, jaw and facial fractures or serious lacerations to the soft oral tissues, in addition to other issues. When you experience a dental emergency, you should seek care from your regular dentist as soon as possible. Depending on the nature and severity of the situation, you may be directed to go to an emergency department to see a dentist if the office is closed or if we are unable to schedule a same-day appointment for you. Even in those cases, you should follow up with your regular dentist for any additional care or treatments that may be needed.
When you have a dental emergency, we will make every effort possible to see you the same day. While it is not required for patients to be established with our practice in order to receive emergency care, it does make things go more smoothly in terms of paperwork and other logistics if we’ve seen the patient before. Therefore, we encourage patients to see us for routine dental care so that it’s a little easier to make arrangements to see us in case of emergency.
Because you may not be able to be seen immediately at our office, it can be helpful to keep a few items at home that you can use in a variety of urgent situations. Dental wax can be used to cover jagged edges of a broken tooth or orthodontic appliances that are causing discomfort. A solution like Save-A-Tooth can be used to store a dislodged tooth. Over-the-counter painkillers can also be used to manage any discomfort that you may experience until you are able to see your dentist. Your dentist may have other recommendations for items to include in your first aid kit.
Our practice works with a wide variety of dental insurance plans, and many of those plans will offer some coverage of the types of treatments we are most likely to provide in the case of a dental emergency, such as restorations or extractions. Our experienced billing staff will work to maximize your dental benefits in order to minimize your expense, but patients still may be responsible for some portion of the cost of treatment. If so, we accept a variety of forms of payment and offer interest-free payment options. You are encouraged to speak to one of our billing staff members for more information about this aspect of your care.