Just as when your furnace stops working at 2:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning when it’s a chilly -2-degree night in Edison, rarely do dental emergencies seem to happen during office hours. Sure, our office hours at Gentle Dental are more available than most — running from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 9 to 8 Wednesday, 9 to 5 Thursday, 8 to 5 Friday, and 8 to 3 Saturday — but what happens when you have a dental emergency at other times?
Here are some typical problems that may or may not need immediate attention. For emergencies, a call to our office line will be transferred to the on-call dentist.
OK, you were playing rec league round ball and you caught a stray elbow in the kisser. Find the knocked-out tooth or teeth and rinse it/them off with water. Then rinse your mouth out with warm water as well. Don’t scrub the tooth, though, as those tissue fragments could save the tooth. You can try and put the tooth back in place, facing the right direction, of course. Don’t wait — we have a better chance of saving your tooth if we can see you within a few hours after the incident.
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.
Lost fillings or crowns
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 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.
These are a few of the after-hours dental issues you may encounter. We deal with dental emergencies all the time. Don’t hesitate to call us at Gentle Dental, if only to ask if your dental situation constitutes an emergency, (732) 549-5660.