Serving Mesa, Phoenix, Gilbert, Tempe, And Scottsdale, Arizona
If you have suffered from any type of dental injury, whether traumatic or due to decay, you will want the best care to restore your smile. By putting off emergency dental care, your dental injury may worsen over time, this is especially true with a root canal. This may lead to hospitalization as well as higher costs for the patient. Whether the issue is simply cosmetic, or from serious pain and swelling as a result of your injury, emergency dental care can make all the difference. This is why the Drs. of Smiles, Dr. Scott LeSueur, Dr. Charles Dodaro, and Dr. Glenn LeSueur are on call for after-hour emergencies. Please call us at 480.834.6991 if you are experiencing a dental emergency.
What Constitutes A Dental Emergency?
Our teeth are tough, but they aren’t indestructible. Dental emergencies can be obvious, such as if you knock a tooth out when slipping on a wet floor. Other issues such as sensitivity probably aren’t emergencies, but they could be.
Not many people put seeing the dentist high on their list of things they like to do, but it’s important that you don’t ignore dental issues, as that can make dealing with them in the future more difficult.
Some things, such as a knocked-out tooth or a broken tooth, are obvious dental emergencies. We need to see you and get that tooth back in place to have the best chance of saving it. Others aren’t obvious. For instance, facial swelling usually isn’t an emergency.
If you wonder whether your dental problem that just occurred is an emergency situation or not, call our office and talk with our on-call dentist. Then you’ll get an idea of the next step, whether it means you need to come in immediately or if it can wait until the next business day.
Are There Any Risks With Emergency Dental Treatments?
Any risks with any of our procedures and treatments at Drs. of Smiles are negligible, whether general dentistry or emergency dentistry. Nothing changes simply because your accident or situation occurred after normal office hours.
What Are Some Common Dental Emergencies And What Should I Do If They Happen To Me?
There isn’t a list of things that constitute a dental emergency. But at Drs. of Smiles we like to help our patients have an idea how to handle certain situations that can arise. Plus, it’s important to know if they require immediate attention or not. Here are various possible dental emergencies:
Knocked Out Teeth
When the family Thanksgiving Turkey Bowl involves a collision and you’ve knocked out two teeth, this is an emergency. The good news is that knocked out teeth can usually be saved, if the ligament can be kept alive.
The first thing to do is to retrieve the knocked-out tooth or teeth and handle it gently. When a tooth is knocked out the ligament attached is destroyed. For the tooth to survive, the tooth needs all the tiny nerve fibers to remain attached. Pick up the tooth by the crown (the part above the gumline). Don’t touch the root. Rinse it off with water. Don’t shrub it clean, and don’t remove any tissue fragments still attached — they can help to save the tooth. This sounds silly but try and put the tooth back in place. If it won’t stay in place, put the tooth in your mouth between your cheek and gums. This can also sound odd, but the saliva will help keep the tooth alive. If that’s not possible, store the tooth in cold, whole milk.
Contact us immediately, as there is a much better chance of saving the tooth if we can see you within the first few hours after it was dislodged.
· Chipped Or Broken Teeth
A broken tooth also constitutes a dental emergency. A deep crack or large chip would probably also, as they expose the interior of the tooth, along with its nerves and blood vessels, and create some serious pain. Sudden pain when eating, especially if the food is either hot or cold, is a telltale sign you’ve cracked a tooth and the nerves are telling you about it. This is a dental emergency, and we need to see you immediately to not expose the interior of the tooth to possible infection.
If your tooth breaks in half, this is also an emergency. The pulp of the tooth is now exposed and open to bacteria and infection. If infection enters the broken tooth, it will need a root canal or possible extraction if left unattended. Find the piece or pieces of the broken tooth. Rinse the tooth pieces and your mouth with warm water.
You’ll probably have some bleeding, so take a piece of gauze and place it over the spot and gently bite down to create some pressure to stop the bleeding. A cold compress applied to the cheek will help with pain and swelling.
Unlike knocked out full teeth, broken teeth cannot be put back together. However, we still want to see the tooth piece or pieces, if possible. If the chipped area isn’t that large, we may be able to place a filling or apply dental bonding. A porcelain veneer can mask a chip, as well. For more extensive fractures, placing a crown over the tooth is more likely.
· Detached Crowns And Fillings
If a filling comes out or a crown comes off these do not usually constitute a dental emergency. We need to see you during the next day’s business hours. It’s likely that both of these possibilities were due to decay. With crowns, decay can form under the crown on the natural tooth. With fillings, decay can develop between the old filling and the tooth.
Where your filling was is now going to be open to bacteria, so it’s good to try and cover the hole. You can place a piece of sugarless gum into the tooth. Do not use regular gum, as the sugar will cause pain. You can also fill the hole with dental cement that can be found in the dental section of the pharmacy. If there is any pain, apply clove oil with a cotton swab to the area with the missing filling.
If a crown comes loose or falls off, find the crown and clean the inside. You can place it back onto the tooth, if possible. This will protect what remains of the natural tooth. Place dental cement on the inside of the crown and put it back on the tooth. If you can’t find dental cement, denture adhesive can be used. Don’t put Super Glue or other household glue on it. These are not meant to be in your mouth, plus they can damage both the tooth and the crown.
When we see you, we will remove the new decay and place a new filling. If the tooth with the crown has new decay, we’ll need to remove that and prepare the tooth for the crown again. We will likely need to make adjustments to the crown.
Toothaches can come on suddenly and be quite painful. They can keep you from being able to sleep or concentrate at work. If the pain is severe and doesn’t pass in a couple hours, this would constitute a dental emergency because you could have an abscess or a tooth needing an emergency root canal.
Try to alleviate the pain first. Make sure your mouth is clean by rinsing with warm water, and floss to remove any food lodged between your teeth. You can find brush-on over-the-counter toothache relievers but be careful not to get this gel on your gums. If the toothache lasts more than a day or two, please call us.
Hot and cold sensitivity isn’t usually an emergency but is a sign that the nerves are being irritated. Hot sensitivity with throbbing and a sensation that goes back to the ear are more serious and need immediate attention. Facial swelling is also urgent, as it usually denotes a possible infection and the need for antibiotics.
· Objects Lodged Between Teeth
If something gets lodged between your teeth, the object kind of merits whether or not this is an emergency. With small pieces of food, such as popcorn hulls, try using dental floss and the tip of your toothbrush to dislodge the item. You can’t leave pieces of food under the gums as this will lead to gum irritation and possible infection. A toothpick can also be used to gently move under the gumline and remove the debris. Be careful not to push it deeper, however.
Do not use a pin, knife tip, or other sharp or metal object. These can damage your gums and the enamel on your teeth. If you can’t dislodge the object, call us.
Emergency Dentistry We Offer
The Drs. of Smiles are here for all your emergency dentistry, including:
- Pain, trauma, and infection
- Major and minor cosmetic repairs of natural teeth and porcelain work
- TMJ care and neuromuscular therapy for TMJ injuries and pain
- Sports, home, and work-related injuries and traumas
- Repairing lost fillings
- Root canals or extractions
- Repairing broken teeth
- Treating abscesses and other oral lesions
- Reconstruction of teeth, gums, and oral tissues
“This office is very friendly. I am new to the area and they waited for me on a Saturday when I got lost on my way to their office. I enjoy every person in this office, especially my dentist Dr. Glenn. He is very detailed in his treatment plan, patient when I have questions, and very caring. Thank you for great service Dr. of Smiles.” -Dawn
Why Choose Us For Your Emergency Dental Care
Emergency dental care should also be quality dental care. When emergency care is done poorly, it means increased risk of further emergency care down the road. We can offer quality, comfortable care at convenient times both day and night when you contact us. This includes completely digital x-rays and nitrous oxide and oral sedation available. Digital x-rays are more comfortable and convenient, plus they give us a clearer image of your dental emergency.
Is Sedation Dentistry Offered For Emergency Dental Care?
Yes, just as during our normal business yours, we offer both oral sedation and nitrous oxide during our emergency dental procedures. This alleviates any anxiety you may have about your emergency situation and subsequent treatment.
Emergency Sedation Dentistry
Nitrous oxide and oral sedation can allow you to overcome your anxiety of dental treatment today. This has allowed patients to receive all of their needed dental care rather than postpone it. Relaxation dentistry means you will have a positive dental experience, which can help you feel at ease with future dental treatments. With your increased comfort and trust, hopefully, you can get problems identified before they become emergencies.Emergency dentistry can still be quality dental care. The better treatment you get today, the better your oral health tomorrow and for the rest of your life.
Emergency Root Canal
If you have tooth pain that is simply unbearable, an emergency root canal may be your best treatment option. If the pain begins when you drink hot or cold liquid, or when you chew with a particular tooth, but persists and gets worse, a root canal may be called for. Other times, you may need a root canal after your dentist discovers the pulp chamber is compromised when placing a deep filling to prevent pain from starting. You may also need a root canal if you have severely broken a tooth, exposing the pulp chamber.
Even though the pain may be minimal at first, don’t wait to have injuries checked as the situation may become substantially worse and that may occur at a very inconvenient time.
Many patients fear having a tooth extraction, but sometimes it is necessary. If a patient has a tooth that is damaged beyond repair or decayed, they may need an emergency tooth extraction. When a tooth is causing significant pain to you, it is time to take it out. At Drs of Smiles, a tooth extraction no longer has to be a painful and stressful situation. With emergency sedation dentistry, we are able to help anxious patients have their teeth extracted.
Quality Emergency Dental Care
During an emergency root canal, the main concern is timeliness: getting the procedure completed now so you can begin getting over the excruciating discomfort of the abscessed tooth and begin recovery. But that doesn’t mean you should sacrifice quality. After all, a poorly done root canal is likely to need to be redone later, and that is the last thing you want.
Our digital x-rays have superior resolution to conventional x-ray films, which helps us better determine the extent of your problem and plan successful emergency treatment from the get-go. Digital x-rays make it easier to determine whether your teeth have multiple roots or canals that need to be drained and sealed before the tooth is crowned. Undetected extra canals are a leading cause of the need to retreat root canals..
Comfortable Emergency Dentistry
Emergency root canals are often the product of dental anxiety. If you put off normal dental treatment until it became an emergency, your anxiety doesn’t go away just because you need treatment now. We offer nitrous oxide gas and oral sedation to help you overcome any anxiety you may have about have the “dreaded” root canal. (Amazingly, they are almost totally pain-free as so many of our patients testify–trust us!)
Relaxation dentistry also means that you can get the emergency and regular dental care you need in the most comfortable way possible. Some of our patients even report that experience with relaxation dentistry makes future visits easier and more relaxing, even without nitrous or oral sedation.
What Can Happen If I Don’t Have A Dental Emergency Treated?
Some people don’t know if what just happened to their tooth or teeth constitutes an emergency. They worry the dentist will minimize the situation and tell them to call back during office hours.
That’s a bad idea, and that’s why we encourage our patients from all over the Mesa/Scottsdale/Phoenix area who think they may have a dental emergency to call us at 480.834.6991. Let us decide if we need to see you immediately.
Otherwise, you’ll likely make a bad situation worse. For instance, if you knock out a tooth and we can see you within 60 minutes, there’s a good chance we can save the tooth. A tooth we see within 60 minutes can be attached to the adjacent teeth on each side with what we call a splint. This will keep the tooth in place for several days. If that happens, most teeth can reattach to the bone in about three to four weeks. Teeth with more damage are still savable, but they may require a little more time.
A knocked-out filling is another issue. It probably isn’t an emergency, but if you choose to not treat it by the next business day, you’re simply opening the center of the tooth up to the invasion of bacteria. Obviously, the tooth already had decay — that’s why it had a filling — and the filling may have come loose as more decay has formed. Leaving the filling out of the tooth ensures you’ll have more decay, and you could end up losing the tooth to extraction.
What Happens If I Need Emergency Dental Care After Practice Hours?
If you have a dental emergency but it occurs after our normal business hours at Drs. of Smiles, that’s not a problem because our three dentists, Dr. Scott LeSueur, Dr. Charles Dodaro, and Dr. Glenn LeSueur, are on call for after-hours emergencies.
You simply need to call our main line, 480.834.6991, and you’ll be put through to our on-call dentist, who will discuss what’s going on with you and meet you at our office on Val Vista Drive if necessary.
Everyone knows that emergencies of all sorts seem to usually happen at the worst times. But that shouldn’t mean you can’t get the quality dental care that can allow you to maintain your dental health.
Schedule A Consultation
Dr. Scott LeSueur, Dr. Glenn LeSueur, and Dr. Charles Dodaro are Mesa dentists, serving Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Gilbert, Chandler, and other East Valley Cities in Arizona, combine LVI training and state-of-the-art technology to bring you, and your entire family, the very best and healthiest cosmetic and neuromuscular dental care.