• Dental Emergency!

  • A dental emergency is not a fun experience. It doesn’t have to be the worst experience ever, though. It happens to most of us at one point or another in our lives, and there are some simple things that can make a big difference when a dental emergency crops up.

    First, if you notice something wrong with your mouth or teeth, don’t ignore it! I see things on a daily basis that are catastrophic, and I know if I had been on the scene sooner, it would have been a very simple fix. Many people fear coming in to the dentist. This is not unusual, and if you are fearful, you are not alone. Many of us have had negative past experiences, painful injections, and anxiety associated with dental treatment. Pain is a great motivator, but I would urge you not to wait for the pain. Our bodies can only tolerate so much. It takes even longer to become numb, or get the painful tooth calmed down at all if we are already hypersensitive. Also, sometimes there is not a lot of pain until there’s a fairly substantial infection present. This is harmful to your health, and can be life-threatening! I promise, going to see your dentist is better than the alternative.

    If the issue happens on a weekend, there are dental clinics around that offer emergency treatment. Most of the time, though, if you call your regular dental office, such as here at Hood View Dental, there is on-call support at the ready for you. Oftentimes, a few days of antibiotics are just the ticket to calm down almost any dental emergency enough for treatment a few days later. Many of us don’t know that after two or three doses of an antibiotic, there is also a significant reduction in pain. Dental anesthetics work much more efficiently in the absence of infection, too. The pH is off when there’s an abscess, so it’s much harder to get numb. So don’t feel like all is lost if you get that raging pain on a Friday at 9pm. Just give us a call.

    There are things you can do at home that will help a great deal, while waiting for the doc to call you back. If you happen to have clove oil, it’s a great oral painkiller. In fact, it’s one of the ingredients in our dental temporary filling material. It works. Also, Orajel, Anbesol, etc can help temporarily. Of course, Ibuprofen, Tylenol, or Aleve are all great for the inflammation that is usually the cause of dental pain. There’s no substitute for a nice ice pack, either. If your face is swollen, go get the ice, and get it on there!

    Try to relax, and rest. When we get upset or anxious, everything seems more painful. People have been having toothaches since the beginning of time. Trust me, your dentist can help you.

    There are certain times when you should not wait on getting help, even if it is the weekend. If your swelling is growing at breakneck speed, or if it starts to travel down your neck or up to your eye, you need to go to the emergency room. ER docs don’t know too much about teeth, but they do know how to give a great big shot or even an IV of antibiotics, and how to drain a large infection. Please don’t be afraid of them. either. They are also here to help you! Trust me, when an MD or a dentist sees your swollen face and broken tooth, we can relate, It’s very painful.

    Please don’t pick at the offending tooth or swelling! You can do far more damage than good, and may even cause further infection. It almost never pays off for folks to try to do their own dentistry. The only time I think you should get involved is if you actually knock a tooth completely out, root and all. In that case, get it clean of obvious debris, and stick it back right where it belongs! Believe it or not, most of the time the tooth heals right where you put it, and fuses to the bone there. This is a far better outcome than an extraction.

    Above all, please call your dentist at the first sign of trouble. It can seriously mean the difference between a simple filling or smoothing a tooth, and a dental extraction or root canal. We aren’t annoyed by your questions. We don’t like to see people suffering in pain. And we have technology to make your injections far less painful, or possibly even not use injections if we are lucky enough to have a laser. Remember, our mission in life is to help you have the best smile ever!