Emergency Treatment in San Antonio
Dental emergencies are quite frightening and often painful. Prompt treatment is always required to alleviate pain and to ensure the teeth have the best possible chance of survival, and to prevent infections form becoming life threatening.
Sometimes, teeth become fractured by trauma, grinding, or biting on hard objects. In other cases, fillings, crowns, and other restorative devices can be damaged or fall out of the mouth completely. If there is severe pain, it is essential to contact our office immediately. The pain caused by dental emergencies almost always gets worse without treatment, and dental issues can seriously jeopardize physical health.
Common Dental Emergencies
Avulsed tooth (tooth knocked out)
If a tooth has been knocked clean out of the mouth, it is essential to see a dentist immediately. When a tooth exits the mouth, tissues, nerves, and blood vessels become damaged. If the tooth can be placed back into its socket within an hour, there is a chance the tissues will grow to support the tooth once again.
Here are some steps to take:
Call our office.
Pick up the tooth by the crown and rinse it under warm water. DO NOT touch the root.
If possible, place it back into its socket – if not tuck it into the cheek pouch.
If the tooth cannot be placed in the mouth, put the tooth into a cup of milk, saliva, or water as a last resort. It is important to keep the tooth from drying out.
Get to our office, quickly and safely.
We will try to replace the tooth in its natural socket. In some cases, the tooth will reattach, but if the inner mechanisms of the teeth are seriously damaged, root canal therapy might be necessary.
Lost filling or crown
Usually, a crown or filling comes loose while eating. Once it is out of the mouth, the affected tooth may be incredibly sensitive to temperature changes and pressure. Crowns generally become loose because the tooth beneath is decaying. The decay causes shape changes in the teeth – meaning that the crown no longer fits.
If a crown has dropped out of the mouth, make a dental appointment as soon as possible. Keep the crown in a cool, safe place because there is a possibility that we can reinsert it. If the crown is out of the mouth for a long period of time, the teeth may shift or sustain further damage.
When we are not immediately accessible, here are the steps to take:
Apply clove oil to the tooth to alleviate pain.
Clean the crown, and affix it onto the tooth with temporary dental cement. This can be purchased at a local walgreens, CVS, HEB, Walmart, Target where toothbrushes are located.
If the crown is lost, smear the top of the tooth with temporary dental cement to alleviate discomfort.
DO NOT use any kind of glue to affix the crown.
We will check the crown to see if it still fits. If it does, it will be reattached to the tooth. Where decay is noted, this will be treated and a new crown will be made.
Cracked or broken teeth
The teeth are strong, but they are still prone to fractures, cracks, and breaks. Sometimes fractures are fairly painless, but if the crack extends down into the root or into the nerve space, it is likely that the pain will be extreme. Fractures, cracks, and breaks can take several different forms, but are generally caused by trauma, grinding, and biting. If a tooth has been fractured or cracked, there is no alternative but to schedule an appointment as quickly as possible.
Where a segment of tooth has been broken off, here are some steps that can be taken at home:
Call our office.
Rinse the tooth fragment and the mouth with lukewarm water.
Apply gauze to the area for ten minutes if there is bleeding.
Place a cold, damp dishtowel on the cheek to minimize swelling and pain.
Cover the affected area with over-the-counter dental cement if you cannot see us immediately.
Try a topical pain reliever and over-the-counter pain meds like Ibuprofen or Acetominophen for discomfort.
The nature of the break or fracture will limit what we are able to do. If a fracture or crack extends onto the root we cannot save the tooth and it will have to be extracted. If the crack extends into the nerve space, root canal therapy is needed to retain the tooth. Fractured teeth that can be saved will most likely need a crown to preserve the tooth.
When a tooth has been loosened from its socket by trauma or gum disease, it might be possible to save it. Treatment may require deep cleaning and follow up or extraction. If the tooth remains in the mouth still attached to the blood vessels and nerves, there is a good chance root canal therapy will not be necessary.
It is important to call our office immediately to make an appointment. In the meantime, use a cold compress and over-the-counter medications to relieve pain. Your dentist will re-position the tooth and add splints to stabilize it. If the tooth fails to heal, root canal therapy might be required.
Chipped, discolored missing front teeth
If you have a concern about your smile due to cavities that are dark, chipped edges or missing front teeth and you have an important work or social event coming up (pictures, wedding, job interview, etc), we can help you! There are a number of options available to help you have the best smile possible. Don’t wait, call now so that Dr. Escarsega can give you the best option to improve your smile.
If you have questions or concerns about dental emergencies, please contact our San Antonio Emergency Dentist.