Category Archives: Dental Emergency

Can an Emergency Dentist Help with an Excruciating Canker Sore?

I’ve had what I think is a canker sore for a week. It’s excruciating. I don’t know why I get these. I wasn’t able to eat last night. Can an emergency dentist help me?

Melinda B.

Dear Melinda,

A Man in pain and in need of an emergency dentist

Because you get them all the time, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to see a doctor or dentist to find out why. Sometimes what we think are canker sores are actually a virus or cancer in disguise. That being said, I don’t think an emergency dental visit is necessary. Though I will add it concerns me that you can’t eat at the moment.

Have you tried any over-the-counter remedies? There are gels and pads you can put on them to try and numb them out. The pads are hard to keep on because of the moist nature of our mouths. You can also try some salt water rinses.

Canker Sores tend to run themselves out in about 10-14 days, so it looks like your almost there. If it goes much beyond that a dentist visit is in order.

If you get regular cleanings and check-ups from your dentist they should be screening you for oral cancers, so I wouldn’t be too concerned if they hadn’t mentioned anything.

Avoiding Dental Emergencies

If you’re someone who avoids the dentist, you could be inadvertently shooting yourself in the foot. Our mouths are loaded with bacteria so doing what we can to keep them clean and healthy with preventative care could help stave off some of these sores.

I do understand that many people have a phobia when it comes to going to the dentist. If this is you, don’t feel bad. Many Americans share your feelings. There is a way to have anxiety-free appointments these days.

Ask your dentist about sleep dentistry. It will enable you to get the oral health care you need, while resting comfortably in a chair. Most people use the time for a nap. Though I will warn you you’ll feel groggy throughout the day and will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment.

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What I Do? The Emergency Dentist Perforated My Sinus

I’m in massive pain and I no longer trust the dentist I went to see. I had a molar that was killing me. I went to see an emergency dentist. He said my mouth was in pretty bad shape and he couldn’t tell which molar was the problem. He suggested I have both extracted. I was in so much pain I would have agreed to have my jaw removed at that point. There didn’t seem to be any problem taking out the molars and I went home feeling a smidge better, but still in pain. I thought it was just healing from the procedure. A few days later, I started feeling weird pops and growing achy. I called their office. Not only did they not tell me that anything went wrong during the procedure, but they just suggested I take a decongestant. Not much longer I developed a fever. They called in an antibiotic for me, but I insisted on coming in for them to look. They complied. It wasn’t until I go there that they mentioned my sinus was perforated during the extraction. I was really upset I wasn’t given that information. It seems kind of important to know I now have a hole where I shouldn’t have one. They even pulled some bone fragments out of the area. The problem I’ve got is I’ve finished the antibiotics and I still feel horrible and still have a fever. As I said at the beginning, I don’t trust this dentist anymore. What do you recommend?

Peggy A.

Dear Peggy,

Gilbert Emergency Dentist

There were some serious mistakes made here, so I don’t blame you for not trusting this practice any more. In the first place, while perforations do happen, there are very specific and important protocols which should have been taken. At the very least, he should have told you in order to warn you not to do things like blow your nose, which could derail any healing process.

Then, the incompetence of not clueing into the possibility that you had an infection when you called the first time is beyond me. Plus, it sounds like he placed you on the wrong antibiotics. You should have been significantly better within two days.

This needs to be addressed. First, talk to your doctor about what’s going on. He can get you on the correct antibiotic and arrange for you to have an emergency ENT (Ear, nose, and throat) appointment. They should get you on the road to recovery soon.

I’m guessing the reason you went to an emergency dentist to begin with is because you don’t have a regular dentist whom you see. Generally, that happens when a patient has dental anxiety. If that’s you, I wanted to give you some hope. When you start looking for another dentist, I’d like to suggest you try someone who uses dental sedation. This can give you a pain-free, stress-free appointment. I think it will help you feel comfortable going more regularly.

One of the best thing about most sedation dentists is they don’t judge or lecture. They’re used to working with fearful patients and are very compassionate.

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I Think My Tooth is Crumbling

I had a root canal done. My dentist put in a temporary filling until I could do the dental crown appointment. I’m still a few days away from that. When I went out for a meal today I felt something grainy in my food. I think my tooth is crumbling. What do I do? I don’t want to lose the whole thing and not be able to get the crown.

Emily S.

Dear Emily,

My suspicion is it’s not your tooth crumbling, but instead the temporary filling dislodged. Take a peek at the tooth. If there’s a hole in the center of the tooth, that means you’ve lost the filling. If the shape of the tooth is changing, then the tooth is crumbling.

If it’s just the filling, don’t worry. They’re designed to come out easily so the dentist can do the needed work in time. As your appointment is only a few days away, you can just get some temporary filling material to hold you over until your appointment. It’s designed for people in just your situation. It wouldn’t last for more than a few days, but as you’re going in for your dental crown at that point, no problem. You can find them at most drug stores.

If it’s the tooth, that’s an entirely different situation. You’ll need to be seen right away. Like you said, you don’t want to lose so much tooth structure that you’ll have to get an extraction and replacement tooth. Your dentist should have an after hours protocol. Give them a buzz and there should be instructions on their voicemail.

If they don’t have an after-hours call number, then just see an emergency dentist. They’ll make sure your tooth is protected so you can still get your crown.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Matt Roper.

Worried a Dentist Killed My Tooth

I had a toothache. I went to see an emergency dentist because I don’t have a dentist of my own and this seemed urgent.  I described what was going on. He told me he can’t see anything wrong but my description means I’ve cracked my tooth. He suggested a crown. I decided to get right on it to be done with the whole disaster. Unfortunately, not only am I still hurting, but the tooth next to it has started turning gray. I’ve read that means it’s either dead or dying. Did my emergency dentist cause a new emergency?

Bebe M. – Virginia

Bebe,

I feel it’s unlikely the dentist injured or killed the tooth.  There are three possibilities that come to mind right away. I’ll start with the least likely one. Let’s say you injured the cracked tooth and then a few days later, without realizing it, you injured the tooth right next to it.  Yeah, like I said, not likely. But, it’s possible so I mention it.

Another more likely scenario is that both teeth were injured at the same time but the uncrowned tooth took a little longer than the other to show symptoms. This does happen.

As this tooth is dead or dying it will need a root canal treatment. You’ll want to deal with this quickly, though I know you’re tired of the situation. If you don’t it’s going to harbor bacteria and then you’ll have a serious dental emergency on your hands.

I am going to suggest that you go to a different dentist to have this treatment done because of the third possibility—misdiagnosis. It could have been the graying tooth that was the problem all along. Maybe it was referring pain and that’s why the dentist thought the crowned tooth is the problem or maybe he just messed up. Either way get the x-rays the first dentist did and bring them to the dentist you hire to do the root canal treatment. He or she can look at them and let you know if something was missed. If it turns out it was, you can get a refund on your first treatment.

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Do My Wisdom Teeth Need an Emergency Dentist?

My wisdom teeth bother me on and off with some swelling. Now it’s a lot worse. In fact, I haven’t been able to eat for two days. I’m miserable.  It’s normally better by now. Do I need to do anything?

Sylvia – Connecticut

Sylvia,

My suspicion is you aren’t under the regular care of a dentist. When there is recurrent pain, such as you described, a dentist generally recommends you have the wisdom teeth removed. Recurring swelling is an indication there’s a problem. Your wisdom teeth can blow up into a serious infection in no time and then you can have a huge problem on your hands. In fact, I think you’re there now.

Tooth infections spread and can become life threatening. I’d like you to see an emergency dentist. They’ll evaluate your wisdom teeth and see if it’s infected.

I’m concerned with the fact that you can’t eat. I wouldn’t be surprised if you woke up with your face swollen in a day or so.

Please don’t put this off. If you’re someone who suffers from dental anxiety, I don’t want you to feel cornered or to allow it to keep you from the dentist. There are emergency dentists who offer sedation dentistry. You can get your wisdom teeth examined and even extracted completely pain free.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Matt Roper.

 

My Tooth Lost a Sword Fight

My son and I were playing with his wooden swords. Not only was I soundly defeated, but I believe my front tooth was the biggest loser. I can now wiggle my front tooth. I’m terrified it’s going to fall out. What do I do?

Janelle O. – Massachusetts

Janelle,

Motherhood can be rough sometimes. You’re a cook, a chauffeur, a teacher, a counselor, a nurse, and…..a swordfighter.  Or, in your case….victim.

The first thing I want you to do is stop moving the tooth. If you continue wiggling it, you will increase the likelihood of losing it. It sounds like the ligaments are stretched.  What you don’t want is for them to snap.

I would consider this an emergency dental situation. If you don’t have a regular dentist that can get you in on short notice, do a Google search for “emergency dentist” and go to a decent one in your area.

They’ll need to stabilize your tooth. He may bond it to an adjacent tooth or splint it. There are several methods. If it’s just a minor sprain to the ligament, it should heal on its own.  But, there could be other issues as well when we’re dealing with tooth trauma.

He’ll also need to check that there’s no damage to the pulp of the tooth. If there is, don’t panic. A root canal will take care of that issue.

Bottom line–get seen as quickly as possible. You may also want to invest in some sword fighting lessons as well.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Matt Roper.

Why Would a Dentist Refer Me to a Neuro?

I had a horrible toothache about a month ago and I went to the emergency dentist. He told me that my tooth was dying and that it needed a root canal. He did the treatment and I expected the pain to go away, but it never did. I went back to see him yesterday and he did an exam and x-rays and told me the tooth was fine. Worse yet, I think he suggested that the pain was in my head. He suggested that I go see a neurologist. This is nuts. My tooth hurts. Is there really anything a neurologist can do or was the emergency dentist just trying to get me out of his office?

Stephanie – Wyoming

Dear Stephanie,

Though it sounds like the emergency dentist may have been missing some chairside manner, he wasn’t pulling your leg, and he wasn’t necessarily telling you that the pain was in your head either, though it likely sounded that way.

A neurologist can investigate whether nerve damage is causing your pain. Though it doesn’t happen every day, it can happen and it sometimes feels just like a toothache.

There are also other causes for pain, such as sinus pressure or sinus infections. The roots of your teeth reach up quite far, so trouble of almost any kind with your sinus cavities can feel like a toothache, too. If this is the case, you’ll probably have other cold or allergy symptoms as well, and taking a decongestant and/or antibiotic will help. You’ll need to see your primary care physician for a diagnosis if you think this might be the case.

The emergency dentist should have been able to make a diagnosis based on his x-rays and an exam. If there was something wrong with the tooth, or if the root canal was not effective, he should have been able to tell. But, if he was in  hurry, he might have missed something or he might not have looked at the neighboring teeth. Sometimes teeth in the same arch or section of the mouth can refer pain to one another, so it will feel like one tooth is bothering you, but it’s really another that’s giving off distress signals.

The bottom line is that if you’re still in pain, you need to find someone to help you. You may want to book an appointment with another dentist in the area for a second opinion, but make sure you don’t give him any information about your prior diagnosis. This way, you can be sure you’re getting a straight answer, and you’ll know 100% that you should book the next appointment with your primary care physician or a neurologist. Best of luck to you.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Matt Roper.

Is There An Affordable Tooth Removal?

I had a cavity. I can’t afford a dentist. Now my face is swelling around my tooth with the cavity. Is there a dentist who does cheap tooth removal or a way I can do it myself?

Dan

Dan,

I know you feel you can’t afford a dentist right now, but I want you to understand how serious this is. People can, and do still, die from tooth infections. If this isn’t dealt with, you put your health in serious jeopardy. In all honesty, you can’t afford not to get this looked at.

Most dentists went into the industry to help people. If you explained your financial situation, they’d likely work out a payment plan for you. Call an emergency dentist and tell them what you’ve told me.

Don’t try to take out the tooth yourself. A piece of the root will likely get left behind, and with it the infection. Plus, there could be a way to save at least the root of the tooth, which will be much healthier for you in the long run.  A root canal could save your tooth.

There are zero interest payment plans with medical credit companies, such as Care Credit.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Matt Roper.

Can I Go to An Emergency Dentist Without My Parents?

My mother has nagged me over and over again not to board without my mouthguard. I know I should have listened, but I really didn’t think it would be a big deal.I was wrong.  I face-planted and took a small piece of a tooth out. My mom’s gonna freak.  They’re out of town right now, so I’d love to sort this out before she gets back in town. Would an emergency dentist treat me when they’re gone?

Anthony – Staten Island

Anthony,

It’s refreshing that you’re trying to take responsibility for this. Unfortunately, you can’t get medical treatment on your own until you meet what is called the “age of majority”. In most states, that is 18.

You seem really mature. I especially like that you were willing to admit you wish you’d followed your mom’s advise. I’m guessing your mom will appreciate your honesty as well.

You can still get this taken care of before she returns, but you will need her help. She can give consent to your dentist by phone/email. Given that it is an emergency dental appointment, he or she will likely understand.

If it’s just a chip, the normal treatment would be dental bonding. If the dentist suggests a different treatment, I’d talk to your parents again before moving forward. You want to make sure you’re not being taken advantage of because your parents are gone.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Matt Roper.

Tell My Husband His Sore Gum Needs An Emergency Dentist

My husband said he cut his gum when he hit it with his fork. He says it’s fine and just sore, but I’m not so sure. It’s oozing. That doesn’t sound sore. That sounds infected.  Does he need an emergency dentist, as I think he does?

Amy F. – California

Amy,

You’re right. Your husband needs to be seen by his own dentist right away, or an emergency dentist if that’s not possible. It sounds like he has an abscess, which as you noted, means an infection.

If he’s not seen soon, he’ll wake up with a swollen face. I know it’s hard to believe, but even in the United States people still die from tooth infections.  These infections can quickly spread to the brain or heart.

He’ll need to have the infected part of the tooth cleaned out, which has to be done manually by a dentist. It won’t be fixed by simply taking an antibiotic.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Matt Roper.