Ask Our Dentist
Emergency Dentist Commonly Asked Questions
Any dental emergency like an injury to the teeth or gums can be potentially serious and should not be ignored. Please contact us immediately if you have an emergency now. Ignoring a dental problem can increase the risk of permanent damage as well as the need for more extensive and expensive treatment down the road.
Here's a quick summary of what to do for some common dental problems.
I Lost A Filling!
As a temporary measure, stick a piece of sugarless gum into the cavity (sugar-filled gum will cause pain) or use over-the-counter dental cement. Call our office as soon as possible.
My Crown Came Off!
If the dental crown falls off, make an appointment to see Dr. Dave as soon as possible and bring the crown with you. If you cannot make an appointment right away and the tooth is causing pain, use a cotton swab to apply a little clove oil to the sensitive area, (clove oil can be purchased at your local drug store or in the spice aisle of your grocery store). If possible, slip the crown back over the tooth. Before doing so, coat the inner surface with an over-the-counter temporary dental cement, toothpaste made for sensitivity, or denture adhesive, to help hold the crown in place. Do not use super glue!
I Have A Temporary Crown
- It Came Off
- This is probably the most common problem. We place temporaries’ on with temporary cement because it is suppose to come off easily at your next appointment. Some foods will help this. Stay away from sticky, chewy foods and gum. Also avoid anything too hard like nuts, hard candy or ice. It is VERY IMPORTANT for the temporary to stay on at all times, so call us if it comes off so we can recement it back on for you. *** If the temporary is off for too long, your final restoration may not fit properly. If it comes off, please place it back on with over the counter temporary dental cement, tooth paste, denture adhesive or Vaseline until you can get back in our office.
- It Feels Rough
- Please call us if it making the tongue or your cheek sensitive or sore.
- It Feels High (Like I hit it first when I chew)
- Sometimes the bite on your temporary can be high or uncomfortable. If this is the case, call us and we will get you a short appointment to make some adjustments. You can bruise a tooth if the bite is incorrect and that can be very uncomfortable, so please don’t hesitate to call us.
- It’s Not How I Want the Final Restoration to Look:
- Don’t worry, the final restoration will look beautiful and feel much more natural.
- It is Sensitive
- The temporary will not always fit as well as the final restoration will, so there may be some sensitivity to hot and/ or cold as well as chewing. If it becomes too uncomfortable, PLEASE CALL US.
The temporary is VERY important. It protects the exposed dentin (soft, inside part of the tooth) so it is not as sensitive, prevents food from gathering in the prepared area and prevents the prepared tooth and tissue from shifting or changing which would make the seating of the final restoration more difficult. Use your toothbrush to clean the temporary as you do your natural teeth. You will not be able to floss around your temporary as this may dislodge it. Resume flossing 24-48 hours after your final restoration is in place.
I Have a Toothache
First, thoroughly rinse your mouth with warm water. Use dental floss to remove any lodged food. If your mouth is swollen, apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth or cheek. Never use heat for a toothache, if the tooth is infected, the heat will cause the infection to spread. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth because it may burn the gum tissue. Call our office as soon as possible.
Do I Have an Abscess?
Abscesses are infections that occur around the root of a tooth or in the space between the teeth and gums. Abscesses are a serious condition that can damage tissue and surrounding teeth, with the infection possibly spreading to other parts of the body if left untreated. Because of the serious oral health and general health problems that can result from an abscess, call our office to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. You may discover a painful pimple-like swelling on your gum from the infection. In the meantime, to ease the pain and draw the pus toward the surface, try rinsing your mouth with a mild salt-water solution (1/2 teaspoon of table salt in 8 ounces of water) several times a day.
I Chipped or Broke My Tooth
Save any large pieces. Rinse the mouth using warm water; rinse any broken pieces. If there's bleeding, apply a piece of gauze to the area for about 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops. Apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth, cheek, or lip near the broken/chipped tooth to keep any swelling down and relieve pain. Call our office as soon as possible.
I Knocked Out a Tooth
Retrieve the tooth, hold it by the crown (the part that is usually exposed in the mouth), and rinse off the tooth root with water if it is dirty. Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, try to put the tooth back in place. Make sure it is facing the right way. Never force it into the socket. If it is not possible to reinsert the tooth in the socket, put the tooth in a small container of milk (or cup of water that contains a pinch of table salt, if milk is not available). In all cases, contact our office as quickly as possible. Knocked out teeth with the highest chances of being saved are those seen by the dentist and returned to their socket within 1 hour of being knocked out.
I Just Had BOOST Whitening Done At Your Office
CONGRATULATIONS! You have just experienced a revolutionary tooth whitening procedure. The next 48 hours are important in enhancing and maximizing your whitening results for a long lasting, bright, and healthy smile. Everyone’s teeth have a protective layer call the protein pellicle. This layer contains the surface dental stains and is removed during the BOOST chairside treatments. It takes twelve (12) to twenty-four (24) hours for the barrier to fully develop again. Your teeth will get lighter during the next 24-48 hours. The whitening continues as it has been absorbed into the teeth. Everyone’s teeth respond differently. Results are not guaranteed. It is important to your success that you drink more than your usual amount of water for the next 48 hours.
DURING THIS PERIOD WE ASK THAT YOU AVOID THE FOLLOWING ITEMS FOR 72 HOURS:
- RED WINES, SOFT DRINKS, DARK COLAS, COFFEE, TEA
- RED SAUCES, SOY SAUCE, MUSTARD, KETCHUP
- TOBACCO PRODUCTS OF ANY KIND
- DARK COLORED LIPSTICK
- ANYTHING ELSE THAT MIGHT STAIN A WHITE SHIRT
It is common for teeth to be sensitive for a few days following office whitening. Patients may describe this sensitivity as a momentary tingling or stinging sensation. If post-operative sensitivity occurs, you can chew sugarless gum to help reduce the peroxide levels. If you do well with over the counter pain medications such as Tylenol or Motrin, they will help to alleviate mild pain and discomfort following the procedure as well. The use of a fluoride mouthwash like Act or Fluorigard and/or brushing with a sensitivity protection toothpaste, several times a day for a week following the treatment can also help.
Seek regular, professional dental hygiene care to maintain oral health, keep staining to a minimum and determine the need for whitening touch ups with your dentist or dental hygienist. Practice good oral hygiene including thorough tooth brushing with an electric toothbrush, flossing to remove debris from between the teeth, and tongue cleaning.
I Have Custom At-Home Whitening Trays
Take home whitening trays are a simple, relatively inexpensive and safe effective means of whitening/lightening your teeth. Although this whitening process can be very effective the results are somewhat unpredictable and may not yield the degree of lightening desired. Dark gray or brown tetracycline stained teeth do not respond as well to take home whitening. Please be aware the color of crowns, silver/amalgam and composite restorations (tooth color fillings) will not be affected by the bleaching procedure. Also note teeth are naturally darker along the gum line and may require more time to lighten than the rest of the tooth surface and usually remain slightly darker; acceptable results can usually be attained in 2-4 weeks. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are important before and after whitening to maintain a healthy smile.
Patient Instructions for Day Time Use:
- Brush and floss teeth, then rinse mouth well with water. Dry your teeth as much as possible.
- Place a pea size dot into each tooth form, of the first front six to eight teeth of both trays.
- Insert tray in mouth over teeth and allow the excess whitening material to run out of tray.
- Gently wipe any excess material off the gum tissue. Rinse mouth and expectorate contents as necessary.
- Wear the loaded whitening tray for 30 min-1 hour or as instructed by your dentist each day for 2-3 weeks.
- After the prescribed time, remove the tray. Brush and rinse the residual gel from the teeth and inside of trays.
- Avoid any dark liquids for at least 2 hrs after removing your trays (examples include: coffee, tea, sodas, dark juices, red wine) and as much as possible while bleaching.
- Please do not: bleach teeth while pregnant or lactating; eat or drink while wearing your custom trays; use tobacco
- Products while wearing your custom trays; expose the bleaching gel or trays to heat and/or sunlight as they will distort and not fit.
Sensitivity or Gum Irritation:
Some patients experience sensitivity during bleaching. If significant discomfort occurs due to tissue irritation, ulceration, or tooth sensitivity, it may be recommended that you bleach every second or third day. Use the tray during the day for 30 min-1 hour or use fluoride treatment/sensitivity toothpaste in your custom tray after you remove the tray. You may also brush your teeth with sensitivity toothpaste. Discontinue bleaching if your sensitivity is extreme. Food and juices high in citric acid can cause sensitivity to the teeth. Some patients have noticed temporary discomfort to the gums, lips, throat, or tongue. Should any of these symptoms persist more than two days or progressively worsen, call our office. These side effects will usually subside with 1-3 days after treatment is discontinued.
My Child Has Bleeding After Lost Baby Tooth
Place a clean folded piece of Damp gauze or Damp paper towel over the site. Ask the child to bite down on the piece of gauze or paper towel for 15 minutes. Repeat if necessary.
I Just Had A Tooth Extraction(s), now what?
- Maintain pressure over the surgical site(s) with the gauze placed at the time of surgery for 45-60 minutes. If the bleeding continues, replace fresh gauze and keep pressure for 30-45 minutes until the bleeding has stopped. This may vary from 1-4 hours. If you run out of gauze, you may use a slightly moistened tea bag instead. (Tea contains tannic acid which helps stop bleeding) DO NOT SMOKE for 72 hours as the nicotine in the tobacco stimulates continued oozing and slows healing. Smoking can also increase the risk of a dry socket which can cause intense jaw pain.
- Facial swelling is a normal part of any oral surgery procedure, Use ice compresses on the face over the surgical site. Fifteen (15) minutes on and fifteen (15) minutes off, for the first eight (8) hours after surgery. Any swelling will reach its maximum extent within 48 hours. You can then start using a heating pad or a warm, moist cloth on the swollen area. Swelling should resolve within 2-4 days.
- Do not rinse your mouth for the first 24 hours. After that, use very warm, slightly salted (1/4 tsp table salt per 8 oz water) mouths soaks- gently roll the water around your mouth by rolling head (DO NOT SWISH) every 1-2 hours until normal healing has occurred. Keeping your mouth clean after meals will help speed up the recovery process.
- For mild to moderate pain, you can take an over-the-counter ibuprofen (if you are NOT allergic) of your choice. If you have been given any prescriptions, take the medication according to the written instructions. Do not drink alcoholic beverages while taking the pain relief medications. Also, DO NOT use Listerine, as that has a small amount of alcohol in it.
- Good nutrition is important to rapid and good healing. Drink liquids (DO NOT use a straw) the first day and then as chewing function returns, move from liquids to soft to regular foods. Good foods to eat include: soup (NOT EXTREMELY HOT), shakes, smoothies, protein shakes, mashed potatoes, yogurt, etc. Avoid drinking any carbonated beverages and any acidic drinks like orange juice or tomato juice/ soups. Avoid drinking ANY liquids through a straw during this healing period as this will dislodge the blood clot. Also avoid the use of alcoholic beverages, as alcohol thins the blood and can make it difficult to stop bleeding.
- ORAL HYGIENE:
- Oral hygiene continues to be important after oral surgery. The day following surgery, gently brush all teeth but not near the surgical sites at least once daily.
- Avoid vigorous forms of exercise for the next 72 hours. When resting or sleeping, use two (2) pillows to elevate the head. The more rest you can get, the faster your body will heal.
- WOMEN OF CHILDBEARING AGE:
- There is a possible reduced effectiveness of oral steroid contraceptives during antibiotic therapy, and it is advised to use additional forms of contraception during short term antibiotic use.
Studies have shown that day 3 & 4 tend to be the hardest days of recovery for major oral surgery.
CONTACT INFO: For any unexpected or unusual conditions, and for all questions please call us at the office: 817.741.0045. If after hours, call the emergency number listed on our machine.