What To Do If An Unexpected
Dental Emergency Happens

We are here to help you with your oral health needs either via teledentistry or in-person visits to address your needs and keep you healthy. Here are some guidelines to follow to help us work together for dental emergencies while stuck at home.

WHAT IS A DENTAL EMERGENCY?

  • Severe toothache pain (not just a twinge)
  • Pain & swelling of your gums, face, or neck
  • Bleeding in your mouth that does not stop
  • Infection or a substantial risk of it
  • Trauma (such as a broken tooth)

If you have any of these conditions, please call us at 855-PHDCARE or 718-DENTIST so we can assess the need for an in-office visit.

A dental emergency can occur when all or part of a tooth breaks, cracks or is knocked out. For those who have dental crowns or bridges, these can potentially come off or chip and may cut the lips or cheeks and expose the underlying tooth. You may have a removable denture that may crack or break. 

To help prevent these emergencies from happening, some precautions can and should be taken. Avoid particularly hard food (frozen candy bars, hard crusty bread, unpopped popcorn or chewing ice). In addition, food that is sticky (candy) or chewy (bagels) can pull restorations off. 

FRACTURED TOOTH

Some chips and fractures are minor and others are more severe to the point where the tooth cannot be repaired or salvaged. If you fracture your tooth, rinse your mouth with warm water and apply a cold compress or ice pack to reduce swelling if it that occurs. Under no circumstances should you ever attempt to glue your natural tooth back into place.

You can place a small piece of soft wax (such as the covering from a cheese round) over the area. If there is a sharp edge to the tooth, this will prevent you from cutting your tongue, cheeks or lips. You will have to repeat this as needed for your comfort.

CROWN OR BRIDGE COMES OUT

The difference between a temporary crown (cap) or bridge and a permanent crown or bridge is the material it is fabricated from and the strength (hardness) of the cement used to hold it in place. They both have the potential to dislodge, but the temporary crown more commonly dislodges due to the type of cement used. We’ll refer to both as RESTORATIONS. The Emergency management recommendation is the same for both of these restorations.

You can simply clean the inside of the restoration off and reposition it back in place. It may remain in place without any cement. If you think the restoration is not secure, remove it when eating. Then clean the area and replace the temp after you finish with your meal. Hint: dental adhesive paste (Fixodent) or even a small amount of toothpaste works well to help hold it in place. Generally, if you are unable to reposition your restoration it is not an urgent situation.

If this is not stable enough, there are temporary cements available over the counter. 

One example is DENTEMP.

Steps to consider if you decide to re-cement using an over-the-counter temporary cement.

  1. Read and follow the directions for the temporary cement carefully.
  2. Remove any food and/or old cement from both the restoration and your tooth.
  3. Always try to put the restoration back in without cement to ensure proper fit and while in position check to see if your bite feels normal. Bite down on both sides on the back teeth. This must be done before mixing the cement!
  4. Dry (as best as you can with a piece of paper towel) both the tooth and the restoration.
  5. Mix the cement and fill the restoration approximately 1/3 of the way. Try not to overfill (more is not better) since you will need to clean off the excess cement.
  6. Orient and seat the restoration. Bite down gently on both sides on the back teeth to seat the restoration until the cement is set.  If the restoration seems high in your bite, remove it immediately and start over at step #2.
  7. Clean off excess cement. Gently use a toothpick in a direction towards the gums. We do not recommend flossing or any force that could lift the restoration up.

BROKEN DENTURES

Dentures are hard but delicate items that can easily be damaged if not handled or cared for properly. They are not as strong as natural teeth as they are made from metal or acrylic. When these materials are kept in the mouth for a long period of time, they eventually start to degrade and weaken. Aside from that, they also suffer from daily wear and tear from talking, chewing and cleaning and handling.  A combination of these things can cause damage to your dentures.
If you break your dentures and are unable to wear them, this presents a “social emergency”-we don’t need teeth to have proper nutrition. While teeth provide the ability to chew and breakdown food, there are many other softer and equally nutritious foods we can substitute until we can properly repair your denture. 

Your dentures can be “damaged” in various ways, but not all damage requires emergency treatment. Staining or chipping, for example, may require attention, but these may not be emergency situations.

Do not try to take things in your own hands or ask a friend to do the fixing for you. Superglue or household bonding agents are different from materials used by your dentists and can be dangerous to your health. They can also permanently damage your dentures and make a simple repair impossible. So call us if your dentures break! Please contact us and we can schedule an appointment when we return to providing routine care.

INVISALIGN / ORTHODONTICS

Delaying putting in a new tray won’t necessarily set you back, but it will slow down your progress  and we know you want to achieve results as rapidly as you can. Regardless, make sure to faithfully attend your follow-up appointments so your dentist can check in with you regarding your progress.
The short answer is they may feel very uncomfortable or not fit at all when you try to put them back in. Why? Because the custom trays must be worn diligently for 22-23 hours a day in order to straighten your smile. This necessitates a certain level of dedication.
Inconsistent use of Invisalign will result in some degree of relapse, as the teeth slowly begin to shift back into their old position. Every patient is different, and the degree of tooth movement will vary from one person to the next, but the good news there are a few simple methods for getting your smile makeover back on track.
Inserting your Invisalign tray may be difficult after a week of non-use. Remember that the custom aligners are designed to provide a seamless fit. Never force the aligner into the mouth. First, try taking the path of least resistance. Using a mirror, insert the aligner on one side of the mouth. If it pops in easily and there is no discomfort, you can wiggle the other side into place.

This process may involve some trial and error, but if you experience discomfort or have a lot of difficulty getting the aligner over your teeth, it’s time to try the previous Invisalign trayIn most instances this older tray will fit more comfortably and allow you to reboot the orthodontic process. This could take a couple of weeks as the teeth are moved back into a correct position.

There are no harmful or negative effects in delaying the tightening of the orthodontic wires. Teeth will not move without applied forces where wires are tightened in the proper manner by your Orthodontist. The teeth will remain stabilized at the last position that the adjustment was made.

It is very important that you continue to follow a diligent hygiene routine to make sure that no debris collects in the wires and the surrounding gum tissue and teeth to maintain oral health. It is also recommended to include a non-alcohol containing Fluoride mouth rinse (such as ACT) to your daily routine to minimize developing cavities.

IMPLANTS

If you are waiting to have a dental implant placed, delaying the process has no negative effects. We will schedule you for the procedure as soon as we are back in operation for routine care.

Likewise, if you are waiting for an implant crown, delaying the process has no negative effects.

 

If you had an impression made prior to our office closure for routine care – it is in the laboratory for fabrication. Although our dental laboratories are also currently closed, your restoration may be completed or near completion, depending on the timing of their closure. We will schedule you for the placement of your restoration as soon as we are back in operation for routine care.