Emergency Care Information

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Although this type of incident is not considered an emergency, it can be painful because the exposed tooth tissue is often sensitive to temperature, pressure or air. Apply a little clove oil to the sensitive area with a cotton swab. This will give you pain relief. You can buy clove oil in drugstores or in the spice aisles of many supermarkets. If you lose a crown, put it in a safe place and make an appointment with our office AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Don’t wait too long. What is left of the tooth will not be as strong as your crown. It could be damaged more without the crown to protect it. Also, when a crown is missing for a long time, your teeth may move into the space where the crown was. If this happens, your crown may no longer fit.


If you lose a filling, the tooth structure may also be compromised and break easily. It’s important to get a broken or lost filling repaired or replaced before food and bacteria can become entrapped in the tooth causing decay.


When a tooth has been knocked out, the nerves, blood vessels and supporting tissues are damaged, too. The nerves and blood vessels can’t be repaired. But if your dentist can put the tooth back in place within an hour after it was knocked out, there’s a good chance that the supporting tissues will reattach and hold the tooth in place.

In the Meantime, here’s what you should do:

Pick the tooth up by the crown. This is the part of the tooth that you see in the mouth. Avoid touching the root end (the part that was under the gum).

If the tooth is dirty, do NOT clean it. This could damage the tooth. Place the tooth back into its socket. The tooth has a better chance of surviving if it’s kept in its natural environment. If you cannot get the tooth back in its socket, tuck it between your cheek and gum (not recommended for children who may choke on tooth if crying or upset). Another option is to put the tooth in a container of milk. The most important thing is to keep the tooth moist and call our office immediately.


One symptom of a cracked tooth is a pain that quickly disappears when you bite down. Teeth may crack for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Chewing on ice or hard candy
  • An accident such as being hit in the mouth
  • Grinding or clenching your teeth
  • Uneven chewing 
  • Brittleness from a having had a root canal

Cracks may be hairline fractures that are not painful or easy to see and are sometimes invisible to an x-ray.  You can help your dentist find cracked teeth by noting where you have a sensitivity to cold or heat. 

The treatment for cracked teeth depends on the size and location of the crack.  Treatment ranges from bonding to root canal.  Tiny cracks are common and are often not a cause for concern.   Regular check-ups are essential and allow your dentist to diagnose problems in the early stages.


If the dentist suspects that a filling might be cracking or leaking, which means the sides of the filling do not fit tightly against the tooth, then we will use X-rays and other diagnostic methods to assess the situation. Leaking or cracked fillings can lead to decay.  If the seal between the tooth enamel and the filling breaks down, food particles and decay-causing bacteria can work their way under the filling. You then run the risk of developing additional decay in that tooth. Decay that is left untreated can progress to infect the dental pulp and may cause an abscessed tooth.

If your tooth is extremely sensitive, if you feel a sharp edge, if you notice a crack in the filling, or if a piece of the filling is missing, call our office for an appointment.

Constant pressure from chewing, grinding, or clenching can cause dental fillings and tooth structure to wear away, chip, or crack. Although you may not be able to tell that your filling is wearing down, your dentist can identify weaknesses in your restorations during a regular check-up.

If the filling is large or the recurrent decay is extensive, there may not be enough tooth structure remaining to support a replacement filling. In these cases, we may need to replace the filling with a crown.


Proper care of the mouth following most dental procedures can reduce complications and speed the healing of the surgical area.

  1. Protection of blood clot…maintain gentle pressure by biting on the gauze sponge that has been placed over the surgical area, or by biting on a tea bag which has been gently moistened and wrapped in a piece of gauze. Keep steady firm pressure for 45 minutes. Repeat as often as.
  2. Do not rinse…or use a mouth wash for at least 24 hours. After 24 hours rinse with warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon table salt in 8oz. of warm water) every 1-2 hours is recommended. (The use of commercial mouth washes during the healing period is not encouraged.)
  3. Discomfort…following dental surgery it is normal to experience some discomfort. If medication has been given or prescribed, take as instructed.
  4. The toothbrush…may be carefully used in the area of the mouth not involved by the surgical procedures. A clean mouth heals faster.
  5. Eating…adequate food and fluid intake following surgery and/or general extractions is most important. If you find that eating your regular diet is too difficult you may supplement your diet with liquids such as Carnation Instant Breakfast (CIB/any flavor). The high quality, nutritional value of CIB is important for prompt healing following such procedures.
  6. Avoid…all excessive activity, don’t pick at the surgical area, don’t consume liquids through a straw, avoid alcoholic beverages and refrain from smoking until healing is well established.
  7. Sutures…if they were used, do not fail to return for their removal on appointment date given.
  8. Controls of swelling…gently apply ice packs to area for periods of 20 minutes on, 10 minutes off. This procedure should continue for the first 24 hours only.
  9. Allergic reactions…for generalized rash, itching, etc. Call dentist immediately.
  10. Do not hesitate… to call if any questions arise.
  11. Medicine…Take all medicine as prescribed.
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