Common Types of Dental Emergencies

If you experience an unexpected dental emergency during our office hours Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-5 p.m., you should call us for an immediate appointment. If something happens outside those times, you should go to an urgent care clinic or emergency room at a hospital for immediate care and follow up with an appointment at San Diego Healthy Smiles for a permanent solution.

Among the common emergencies:

A Filling Falls Out

This can be painful if the nerves are exposed where there was a cavity, but until you see Dr. Cluff, you can manage this by putting on the traditional remedy of clove oil, which will numb the area if applied several times a day. Meantime, pain can be minimized with aspirin or ibuprofen.

A Tooth Falls Out or is Knocked Out

If you can retrieve it, put it back into the socket until you see a dentist or doctor, keep it between your cheek and gums, or put it in milk (holding it by the top, not the roots). Depending on the situation, it might be saved or may require replacement by a dental implant. Of course, sports accidents that can cause this can be avoided by always wearing a mouth guard, even when just playing with friends.

A Sudden Painful Toothache

Cavities and periodontal (gum) disease can be prevented by good dental hygiene, meaning brushing for two minutes twice a day and flossing at night. This also needs to be supported by having your dental hygienist do a professional cleaning at least twice a year. But few of us grew up understanding just how challenging this can be, so painful emergencies are common. If the pain is severe or throbbing and seems to be spreading to the jaw, ear, or neck from a specific tooth, the cause may be an infected root, which will require a root canal procedure.

A Tooth that has a Crack or a Chip

A hairline crack or small chip can wait for Dr. Cluff to examine it as soon as possible to determine if it requires a veneer to protect it or is more serious. Dentemp, available at drug stores, can provide temporary protection. If fractured or severely chipped, it may require a dental crown to hold it together.

A Dental Crown Falls Off

This can often be reattached with denture adhesive gel. If necessary, a crown can be replaced with a temporary one while a new one is crafted by our dental lab. Meantime, eat soft foods and avoid chewing on that side of the mouth.

Bleeding After Dental Treatment or an Accident

Put a cold pack on and off the outside of the face near the injury every 15 minutes for a couple of hours to prevent swelling before seeing a doctor or dentist.

If you have not had a recent full dental exam, call us today to set an appointment for one, since prevention is the best medicine.