What are your options when a frightening or uncomfortable dental problem develops outside of our “normal” business hours? Your first option is to contact us and we’ll take care of you, of course! Dental problems are unpredictable and they are often urgent. It is possible that you or a family member may experience an oral injury or pain in a tooth at any given time. That’s why our team has emergency protocols in place to handle your emergency, no matter when or how it arises.
We understand how unpleasant dental problems could be. For that reason, we make it our priority to see emergency dental patients immediately. Our experienced staff is here to help you. Call our office today (616) 399-1500 for immediate assistance.
How to Handle Common Dental Emergencies
If you are faced with a dental emergency, we encourage you to call us right away! Don’t hesitate or ignore the problem. If you are faced with a dental problem that cannot wait, our emergency dental services can help to bring the situation under control. Our team is committed to going the extra mile for you, and we understand that dental emergencies are notorious for popping up unexpectedly. When you find yourself in such a vulnerable situation, you can trust that you’ll be able to reach us and we’ll be available until the problem is resolved. Until you arrive, here’s what you should do next depending on your emergency.
Toothaches can occur as a result of decay or an infection inside the tooth. However, it could also be due to food debris stuck in between your teeth. Use floss to remove it and rinse your mouth out with warm water. If pain continues, take ibuprofen and get in touch with our office.
Collect any pieces of your tooth and bring them to the office. If swelling is present, apply a cold compress against your cheek and hold it there for 10 minutes to reduce swelling. You can also cover the tooth with dental wax or sugar-free chewing gum so you don’t accidentally cut your mouth with the sharp or jagged tooth.
Carefully pick up the tooth by the crown portion only, making sure to avoid touching the root. Do not remove any tissue that might still be attached. After gently rinsing your mouth as well as the tissue (make sure no tissue comes off), place it back into your open socket to keep it preserved. You can also place it in a container of milk to keep it preserved for up to one hour.
Locate the restoration and bring it to the office if you still have it. You can reattach it to your tooth using either dental cement, denture adhesive or sugar-free chewing gum if nothing else is available. Avoid chewing on that side of your mouth until you can get it replaced at our office. Keep in mind that using adhesive to reattach it is not considered a permanent solution.
How to Prevent Dental Emergencies
Thankfully, most dental emergencies can be avoided by following basic preventive habits. These habits include:
- Brushing twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste
- Flossing daily
- Visiting us for exams and cleanings every six months
- Always wearing a protective mouthguard when playing contact sports
- Always using the proper tools when opening packages, not your teeth
- Never chewing inedible objects (i.e. ice cubes, pens, pencils, fingernails)
- Wearing a nightguard if you suffer from chronic teeth grinding and clenching
The Cost of Treating Dental Emergencies
While it can be difficult to predict the exact cost of treating a dental emergency, we’ll take all the necessary steps to evaluate your condition and go from there. We may be able to reduce an infection with a deep cleaning and prescription medication, but in other cases we may need to perform an extraction if the damage is too severe. Regardless of what is needed, our highest priority is getting you out of pain and making sure your condition does not get worse. We’ll work with you to finance a plan that is within your financial means.
Dental Emergency FAQs
When it comes to treating dental emergencies, Dr. Nelis and Dr. Racine are able to handle virtually any situation, from a knocked-out tooth to a sudden toothache. Our team can offer same-day appointments for help as soon as you need it. Before you arrive at your appointment, however, we want you to feel comfortable handling your situation at home. For this reason, we’ve collected and answered this list of frequently asked questions about emergency dentistry.
How Can I Manage the Pain?
Depending on your tolerance to pain, you might need some additional help alleviating your discomfort until you reach our office. In the meantime, you can apply a topical pain reliever like Orajel or a cold compress, which reduces both pain and swelling. You could also take an over-the-counter pain pill like ibuprofen. Just be sure that if you take aspirin for your pain, that you don’t place the medication directly on the sore tooth. Doing so could irritate your gums and actually worsen your pain.
It’s important to note that just because you’re able to temporarily relieve your pain at home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still call us for treatment. We can get to the root of your problem and get you out of pain fast so that you don’t have to continue taking medications for it.
Why Should I Have a Dental Emergency Treated Right Away?
While every dental emergency is different, some are more serious than others and can result in long-term problems if you don’t get them treated in a timely manner. For example, what starts out as a small cavity that only needs a filling could quickly spiral into a situation where you need a root canal or a tooth extraction in order to preserve your oral health. If you’ve knocked out your tooth, getting to our office within the hour could mean the difference between saving and losing your tooth. Even if your pain is not that bad, seeing us as soon as possible could prevent your situation from worsening.
What If I Have a Dental Emergency While I’m Out of Town?
First things first, try not to panic. Remain calm and try to find a local dentist who can treat your immediate problem. Once that is taken care of, give our office a call and let us know what happened and what your symptoms were. We can schedule an appointment for when you return and evaluate your tooth to see if any further treatment is needed.
My Toothache Went Away. Do I Still Need Emergency Treatment?
Yes. Unlike many general medical conditions that seem to get better on their own, dental health problems typically worsen the longer you avoid treatment. Even if your toothache subsides, you should still see us to examine the tooth and figure out why you had pain in the first place and prevent that discomfort from returning.