Tag Archives: Dental emergencies

Dental Implant Emergency?

I’m a couple of months into my dental implant procedure. I noticed yesterday it started feeling different. When I pushed on the surrounding area it was sort of malleable. I left it alone and decided I’d call on Monday because we were going into the weekend. Today, though, my whole jaw is swollen and I can’t even eat. Is something seriously wrong?

Madison

Dear Madison,

Woman grabbing her jaw in need of an emergency dentist
Pain is always a dental emergency

It sounds like you’ve developed an infection at the dental implant site. Even worse, it sounds fast moving. Your jaw is now affected. Without treatment, this will keep spreading. If you think about how close your heart and brain are to your jaw, spreading to either of those can become life-threatening rather quickly.

Your implant dentist should have an after hours protocol for dental emergencies. This would definitely be considered one of those. Not only does an infection put you at risk, it puts your entire dental implant procedure at risk as well. The leading cause of dental implant failure is an infection.

If You Can’t Reach Your Dentist

If for some reason you can’t actually reach your dentist, I want you to do an internet search using the term “emergency dentist” or “dental emergency”. These are dentists who are willing to treat patients, such as yourself, when they can’t reach their dentist.

While some only treat during normal business hours, others would be willing to meet with you given the situation. Make sure they’ve placed dental implants themselves, however, and have good experience with that procedure. I wouldn’t want an inexperienced implant dentist to mess anything up.

In the absolute worst case scenario where you can’t find anyone, call your medical doctor. They won’t examine the implant site, but they will likely be willing to prescribe an antibiotic which should at least stave off the infection until you can get in to see your dentist on Monday.

This blog is brought to you by Libertyville Dentist Dr. David Potts.

Is All Dental Sedation the Same?

I’m terrified of the dentist. However, this fear is ruining my life. I’ve been seeing a therapist and he suggested, at least in the short term to try sedation dentistry. He’s worried I’m getting infections because my mouth always hurts. We’re still working on my anxiety, but said this is more like an emergency and the sedation will handle the anxiety part for me for now. I looked it up and there seem to be a lot of different types. Given my personal situation, would one be better for me than the other?

Rose

Dear Rose,

A dentist standing behind a woman smiling in a dental chair
Those with dental anxiety CAN have pain-free care again.

You have a very wise therapist. He’s looking out for your mental and physical health. Pain is often a sign of an infection and is considered a dental emergency. Dental infections are different than medical ones. When you’re dealing with a medical infection you can take an antibiotic and almost always that’s enough.

With dental infections, however, if the infection kills the pulp of the tooth an antibiotic won’t help. There’s no longer blood flow to get in the infected part of the tooth. A dentist will have to physically remove the infected pulp. This is known as a root canal treatment.

If left untreated, the infection will continue to spread. If you think about how close your jaw is to your heart and brain, a dental emergency can quickly turn into a medical emergency. Even if it doesn’t, you will begin to lose teeth. If not from decay, then gum disesase. Your teeth will just start falling out.

Depressed yet?

Now for the Good News: Dental Sedation Can Change Your Life

With your high level of anxiety and the amount of work you are likely to need up front, my recommendation is you find a sedation dentist who offers Oral Conscious Sedation. It will be a game changer for you. All you’ll have to do the day of the appointment is take a simple pill. You can spend the rest of your appointment asleep if you want. In fact, most OCS patients end up sleeping through their appointment completely. Others prefer to stay awake but are completely relaxed and in no pain whatsoever.

There is some preparation needed ahead of time. First, you’ll need a consultation with your dentist to go over any medications you are currently taking. This is to ensure the dentist doesn’t give you anything which will have a reaction to something you already take.

You’ll also need to arrange for someone to drive you to and from your appointment as well as remain with you for a few hours after your appointment until you’re more lucid. This is for your physical safety.

I hope this brings you the peace of mind you need.
This blog is brought to you by Libertyville Dentist Dr. David Potts.

Saving a Knocked Out Tooth

I was at a hockey game and saw one of the young men lose a tooth. I always heard the mothers joking about needing a good dental plan if your son joins the team. It got me wondering. Can those teeth be saved or do they have to get replacements for all the teeth they have knocked out?

Patty

Dear Patty,

hockey player with missing tooth

There’s is always a possibility the tooth can be saved. However, conditions have to be in its favor. Here’s what you need to know:

This is a Dental Emergency

Call your dentist and let the office know what happened. It’s important you get treatment within 30 minutes. If they know you’re coming, they’ll be prepared for you when you get there and can start treatment right away. If you don’t have a dentist, then you need to call an emergency dentist. They’ll see non-established patients in cases such as this.

Only Hold the Tooth by the Crown

Never touch the root of the tooth. THat could damage it. Instead, hold it by the crown (the visible part of your tooth).

Keep the Tooth Moist

It’s very important the tooth be kept moist. If you have access to a glass of milk, you can place the tooth there. If that’s unavailable, then you can place the tooth gently between your cheek and gums. This should keep it moist enough.

Preventing Tooth Loss

Of course, ideally, you don’t want to lose a tooth. Here are some tips to make sure you keep those chompers for a long time:

  • Always wear a mouthguard during sports
  • See your dentist for regular checkups to prevent gum disease and decay
  • Brush and floss daily

Following these simple tips will help keep your smile bright and healthy for your lifetime.

Other Types of Dental Emergencies

A tooth being knocked out isn’t the only reason you’d need an emergency dental appointment. The most common reason is pain. This is your body’s way of warning you there’s an infection somewhere. Dental infections can’t just be dealt with by using a simple antibiotic. Your dentist has to get in there and physically remove the infected pulp. This requires a root canal treatment.

Another common issue is a broken or cracked tooth. Your dentist will place a dental crown over the damaged tooth in order to protect it.

It’s always best to know those things in order to be prepared ahead of time.

This blog is brought to you by Libertyville Dentist Dr. David Potts.

Broken Tooth

My brother and I were wrestling and he accidentally fell onto the piano bench. It broke his tooth. We weren’t supposed to be wrestling. My parents are out of town for four more days. I’d like to fix this before they get back.  I’ve got a call in to our dentist, but haven’t heard back and it has been several hours. I wondered if I could superglue his tooth back while I am waiting.

Bennie H. – Missouri

Bennie,

You can superglue as a temporary solution, but there is a danger of accidentally getting your lip glued to the tooth as well. I would make a quick run to your local pharmacy and get some denture adhesive paste.  That would be a safer option.

You didn’t mention how old your brother his or whether or not this was an adult or baby tooth.  That could make a difference in treatment.  I want you to get seen right away even if you do not hear back from your dentist. Give your dentist another hour or so and then if you’ve still not heard back I want you to see an emergency dentist in your area.

Emergency dentists tend to keep a little wiggle room in their daily schedule so they can fit someone in. If they are booked solid, they will even see you after hours. Don’t neglect this, because there are other things that could go wrong with his tooth aside from re-attachment issue.  Tooth trauma could kill the nerve endings. He may end up needing a root canal treatment.

By the way, if you’ve got the entire piece that broke off, a good cosmetic dentist can bond it back on in such a way that no one will be able to tell it was ever broken.

This blog is brought to you by Libertyville Dentist Dr. David Potts.

Tooth Pain

If you’re in pain, is it OK to call an emergency dentist if it isn’t really an emergency?

Name Withheld

Well, I guess it depends on the severity of the pain.  If you’re just uncomfortable and can make it until you can get an appointment with your regular dentist, than it wouldn’t really justify going to see an emergency dentist.

If, however, you are in a lot of pain and it is causing you difficulty in your daily life, then that would be considered an emergency. I would go ahead and contact an emergency dentist.

Often, tooth pain is a symptom of something worse. You could have a tooth infection, which is in need of a root canal treatment.  You don’t want to put off your dental care, because you could end up with a more serious problem that will call for invasive treatments.  If you go early enough, the treatment is generally much easier.

This blog is brought to you by Libertyville Dentist Dr. David Potts.