American River Dental
If it hurts, it’s an emergency.
American River Dental
If you or someone you know is in need of emergency dental service, call our office immediately!
If you’re not sure if a dental problem is an emergency, we offer this advice: If it hurts, it’s an emergency. This is because even injuries that seem small can affect the living tissues inside the teeth. Quick response to a dental problem improves the odds of saving injured or damaged teeth.
If this is a life-threatening emergency, call 911!
Any obvious damage to a tooth should be treated as soon as possible. Chips or fractures can affect the living tissue inside the tooth, causing more problems in the future. We can prevent the damage from getting worse with early treatment.
The same is true of a lost filling or crown. Even if you don’t have symptoms, the tooth has lost its support and it could easily become damaged. Pieces could break off or crumble, and you would need more extensive treatment. If you see us right away, there’s a good chance we will be able to repair the damage more easily.
Below are some frequently asked questions regarding specific dental emergencies. Click on topic of interest in the list below to read more.
Injured tooth: What Should I Do?
As with any trauma to the mouth, you should consult with us immediately to determine if treatment is required. We will examine the area and take necessary x-rays.
If you are in pain from a broken, cracked or chipped tooth, you may want to take an over the counter anti-inflammatory pain reliever such as Advil or aspirin. If possible, keep any part of the tooth that has broken off and bring it with you to your appointment. Avoid chewing on the injured tooth and avoid extreme temperatures.
Chipped tooth, Cracked tooth or Broken Teeth
Teeth knocked out
Partially dislodged tooth
Lost filling or a crown came off
Sometimes fillings or crowns fall out. In some cases, a filling or crown may become loose because there is decay underneath it. The decay destroys part of the tooth, so it no longer has a tight hold on the crown or filling. These situations are rarely an emergency. However, it can be painful because the exposed tooth tissue is often sensitive to temperature, pressure or air. If you lose a crown, put it in a safe place and make an appointment to see us as soon as possible.
Don’t wait too long. What is left of the tooth will not be as strong as your crown. It could be damaged more without the crown to protect it. Also, when a crown is missing for a long time, your teeth may move into the space where the crown was. If this happens your crown may no longer fit.
Severe pain (not from trauma)
Any injury to the gums or teeth can be very painful. At other times, you may have dental pain and not know why. For example, sudden pain may be caused by pieces of food that come in contact with a decayed area of the tooth. Food, heat or cold may create pressure near the nerve and cause pain. The nerve inside the tooth also may be exposed if you lose a filling or crown.
Pain that gets worse over time can also be caused by food that’s stuck between your tooth and gum. If you don’t brush and floss well, the bits of food remain. Bacteria multiply in this area, and an infection of the tooth and gum may develop. This type of infection is called an abscess. It can be at the root end of the tooth (in bone) or in the gums. An abscess can be a serious health problem if it is not treated. If swelling inside or outside of the mouth is occurring, you need to seek help immediately either through our office or your medical doctor.
Call us to make an appointment so that we can evaluate the cause of your pain and get you back to health quickly.
Injuries of the lips and/or gums
Trauma to the lips, tongue and inside of the mouth is quite common. The soft flesh of the lips and their exposed location make them vulnerable to injury. Any cut inside the mouth usually bleeds heavily because of the rich supply of blood to the area.
Many lip and tongue injuries occur during sports activities. They often can be prevented through the use of a mouth guard. We can create a professional, custom fit mouth guard for you. Contact our office for more information.
At home, you can clean injured skin surfaces with mild soapy water and a soft, clean cloth. To clean cuts inside the mouth, rinse with salt water or a hydrogen peroxide solution (one part hydrogen peroxide and one part water). Be sure not to swallow this peroxide rinse. However, do not be concerned if it foams. This is what the rinse normally does when it contacts mouth tissue.
If your lip is swollen or bruised, apply a cold compress. If there is bleeding, apply pressure with a clean cloth for at least 5 minutes. Using ice can help limit swelling, bleeding and discomfort. Wrap crushed ice in clean gauze or a clean piece of cloth and hold it on the affected area.
SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:
Mouth burn due to hot foods (such as pizza)
What is it? Your pizza arrives, you’re hungry and it smells good. You take out the first piece, take a big bite….. And burn the roof of your mouth. Now you have pizza palate!
Other hot foods can also burn the roof of your mouth. These types of burns have come to be called “pizza palate” because they are most commonly caused by pizza.
These burns are usually minor and heal within a few days. Warm salt water rinses after meals will help keep the area clean. To make the rinse, dissolve 1/8 tsp of salt in 8 ounces of water.