If you have an emergency situation, please call our office at 870.246.9847. Below is a list of common emergency situations along with specific instructions. For after hour assistance, please call our office and follow the prompts on the answering machine.
BLEEDING AFTER EXTRACTION
Some light bleeding is common for a day or two after extraction of a tooth; however, significant bleeding requires attention. At the time of the extraction, you received cotton gauze to bite on after leaving the office, which applies pressure and helps to promote clotting.
Instructions: If significant bleeding persists longer than 2 hours, fold up a moist tea bag and bite on it at the site of the extraction. If bleeding still persists, call our office.
BLEEDING AROUND A SINGLE TOOTH
This could be caused by an impaction of food material, and is usually accompanied by inflammation of the gum tissue in the same area. Have you recently eaten popcorn or crunchy chips?
Instructions: Probe gently with a toothpick or dental floss to attempt to remove the substance. Rinse with warm salt water. If no improvement within 24 hours, call us for an evaluation.
This is not a normal occurrence. Your gums should not bleed. If bleeding persists when brushing or flossing, you probably have some stage of periodontal disease. NOTE: Smoking hides gum disease by preventing the gums from bleeding.
Instructions: Appropriate in-office treatment is required immediately, and we will prescribe a home-care regimen to help you control the disease. We can help you improve the condition of your gums and get rid of the bleeding, but we must begin with professional teeth cleaning and periodontal treatment.
BLEEDING AND/OR PUS FROM ONE SPOT NEAR A SINGLE TOOTH
This may indicate an infection at the tip of the root that makes a hole in the bone. The infection works its way to the surface of your gums causing the appearance of blood and/or pus.
Instructions: Call our office as soon as possible. If you delay treatment, this type of infection can spread quickly and can be life threatening.
BROKEN OR CHIPPED TOOTH
A chipped tooth can be repaired and restored to its natural appearance with the cosmetic solutions available today along with a dentist who is skilled and artistic at using them. If the chip or break extends to the sensitive pulp chamber inside the tooth, you will experience considerable pain.
Instructions: Take over-the-counter pain medications and call our office immediately. Emergency dental treatment may be the only relief from the pain. If you are not in pain, call us as soon as reasonably convenient for a cosmetic solution. If a large part of a front tooth has broken off, save the broken piece if possible and bring it with you to our office.
CROWN OR BRIDGE (PERMANENT) CAME OFF
Do not delay in calling us because your adjacent and opposing teeth may begin to shift within a few hours.
Instructions: Save the crown or bridge. We will re-cement it if possible. If the tooth or crown is damaged, repairs will be necessary or a new crown could be required. Over-the-counter pain medications should ease any discomfort until you can be seen in our office. If you are out of town or cannot reach us, a denture adhesive sold at most pharmacies can be used as a temporary cement to hold the crown in place until you can see us.
CROWN OR BRIDGE (TEMPORARY) CAME OFF
Re-cementing a temporary crown or bridge is usually quick and easy. The temporary is placed to protect the tooth during the weeks it takes to create your natural-looking permanent crown or bridge. The temporary also holds the space for the precisely fitted permanent crown or bridge. The temporary is cemented with temporary cement to enable easy removal when it is time to replace it with your permanent crown or bridge. Do not delay in calling us because your adjacent and opposing teeth can shift within a few hours making it difficult for the permanent crown or bridge to be fitted in the space.
Instructions: Save the temporary crown or bridge and bring it with you to our office. Usually we can re-cement the same temporary crown or bridge. Take over-the-counter pain medication if necessary. A 20-minute appointment is usually sufficient, and we will see you at your convenience. If the temporary crown or bridge comes off after office hours, call the office and follow the emergency instructions on the answering machine. If you are out-of-town or cannot get to our office, a denture adhesive available at most pharmacies can be used to hold the crown in place until we can see you.
An isolated dark tooth is an indication of an injury that has cut off the blood supply into the tooth, and the nerve of the tooth may have died.
Instructions: Root canal treatment may be necessary to save the tooth. Cosmetic solutions are available to restore the natural color. Call us for an evaluation.
HALITOSIS (BAD BREATH)
The most common causes of bad breath are gum disease, large cavities, and food particles that remain trapped between teeth and below the gums. Other causes can be sinus drips, gastrointestinal problems, diabetes and smoking.
Instructions: Get a dental check-up. Get your gums healthy with our help. Restore or remove decayed teeth. Practice good basic oral hygiene that includes minimally flossing and brushing your teeth and brushing or scraping your tongue. Mouthwashes, rinses, breath mints, tongue scrapers and medicated floss are available through our office. These products are very effective aids in treating this common embarrassment.
JAW JOINT PAIN
Jaw joint pain may be caused by chewing, sleeping on your side, or may be chronic. Jaw joint pain is a symptom of Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) commonly known as TMJ Syndrome. Symptoms can be related to stress, a bad bite, misaligned teeth, arthritis, or missing teeth. Dr. Ross has completed advanced training in the treatment of patients with TMJ syndrome. A wide range of treatment is available and needs to be customized based on your own individual case.
Instructions: For temporary relief, place an ice pack 20 minutes on then 20 minutes off. Take Advil, 2 at each meal and 2 at bedtime. Eat a soft diet, no chewing gum, no caffeine, and sleep on your back. Call our office as soon as possible for a complete diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
LOOSE OR MISSING FILLING/CROWN
Do not delay more than a few days in calling our office if you have lost or missing dental work. This open area of the tooth can allow decay to spread and attack the nerve of the tooth. This could result in the need for root canal therapy or loss of the tooth. Also, if you delay having a crown replaced, teeth may begin to shift in as little as 24 hours, making it impossible to re-cement the crown.
Instructions: If you are in pain, take over-the-counter medication such as Tylenol or Advil. Call us to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. If over-the-counter pain medication is ineffective, call our office.
PAIN (CONSTANT) CAUSED BY CRACKS IN YOUR TEETH
Constant pain means the crack extends beyond the outer surface of the tooth and may reach into the nerve area of the tooth.
Instructions: Take over-the-counter pain medications, and call us as soon as possible for an evaluation. It will be necessary to take an x-ray for accurate diagnosis. Root canal treatment may be necessary to save the tooth, with a permanent crown placed in addition to protect the tooth.
PAIN (OFF/ON) CAUSED BY CRACKS IN YOUR TEETH
Off/on pain when chewing is caused by the underlying tooth structure flexing with the crack. A portion of the tooth may be getting ready to break off.
Instructions: Call us immediately so you can be seen as soon as possible. Delaying may increase the likelihood the tooth will break off or crack further which could expose the nerve of the tooth. This could result in the need for root canal or loss of the tooth. Early detection assures minimal treatment. Take over-the-counter pain medication as needed to ease discomfort. Do not chew on the areas. If over-the-counter medication is ineffective, call our office and follow the emergency instructions
Is sensitivity due to hot, cold, or pressure, and is it prolonged or off and on? Sensitivity can be an indication of exposed root, broken fillings or teeth, fractures in the tooth or infection in the nerve.
Instructions: Over-the-counter pain medication should help until we can see you in the office. If over-the-counter pain medication is ineffective, call our office and follow the emergency instructions.
TOOTH KNOCKED OUT
If a tooth becomes loose or is knocked out due to trauma such as a blow to the mouth, it is imperative that you act quickly. If you get to us within one hour, the prognosis is good for successful re-implantation, though a root canal may be necessary.
Adult Instructions: If the tooth is loosely dislodged, apply light finger pressure to try to push the tooth back into its position. Do not apply a lot of pressure. If the tooth is completely out, place it between your cheek and gum and get to our office within 1 hour. After hours, call the office and follow the emergency instructions. If you are afraid of swallowing the tooth, put it in a glass of milk or water and bring it with you. Do not rub or wipe the tooth off. You may only rinse it off with water.
Children’s Instructions: Place the tooth in a glass of milk or water or gently wrap it in a clean, damp cloth and get to us within one hour. Call ahead so we can expect you. If it is after hours, call the office and follow the emergency instructions. Delaying more than an hour decreases the likelihood of successful re-implantation. Do not rub or wipe the tooth off, only rinse it off with water.
Accurate diagnosis of the cause of the problem will direct the best course of effective treatment. A sick tooth will not get better. Symptoms may subside temporarily but the problem still exists and will not go away by itself. Delaying treatment will only allow the condition to worsen, require more extreme measures for remedy and will ultimately be more costly. Progression of treatment for toothache typically follows the pattern of adjustments to the chewing surface of the tooth, filling or repair, root canal, extraction, bridge, or implant. Obviously it is more cost effective and easier on the patient if treatment takes place as early in that progression as possible, thus avoiding further decline.
Instructions: If trapped food is the source of the toothache, gently flossing the area to dislodge the food should give immediate relief. If the pain continues, you may try applying ice. (Wrap ice in a cloth. Apply on outside of cheek in area of pain for 20 minutes, then off 20 minutes.) DO NOT apply heat. DO NOT put aspirin directly on the tooth or gums. Call our office as soon as possible.