February 20, 2019 Ann Le There are many reasons people visit an emergency dentist, from root canals to chipped teeth. Emergencies can also happen when you least want them to. Whether you have swollen gums or pain from a wisdom tooth, it’s important to know what to expect during an emergency dental visit. What can a dentist do for you when you’re in significant pain? Examination Before anything can be done, your dentist needs to determine what the actual problem is. This generally happens with x-rays. The patient will sometimes know the cause of pain, especially if they have had treatment in the area. At other times, the patient will call and express pain in a general area but no further clues about the source of discomfort. The dental care provider will look for signs of concern such as gum inflammation or infection. Exposed nerves are also a common cause for an emergency visit. This can be very painful. Other things the dentist will look for include any damage to wisdom teeth or crowns falling out. A broken tooth can also be a concern, especially if it has any type of rough edge. Sometimes, the problem is under the gum, such as a wisdom tooth that is trying to break through. Pain Relief It’s common for people to visit an emergency dentist because of pain. If you have pain, be sure to describe it clearly. After an examination, your dentist will take every step possible to work on the underlying cause of that pain. However, medications needed, such as antibiotics, can take several hours to kick in. That is why the first step is often to provide some type of in-office pain treatment. The use of painkillers may be necessary after you go home as well. In the office, an injection into the area being impacted often offers faster relief. After this, the use of anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics is necessary to clear up any swelling or infection present. Fix the Problem or Temporary Relief? Pain treatment may be possible during an emergency dental visit, but that doesn’t mean the problem can be completely treated during this problem. Fixing the underlying problem may take an additional visit. However, an emergency dentist can provide a temporary solution to buy you more time. Treatments such as laser therapy can address some concerns, too. During your appointment, the dentist will take any steps possible to help you. For example, if you have a broken tooth, it is possible to remove some of the gum and reducing the rubbing and inflammation. However, a follow-up visit is necessary to determine if the tooth can be repaired or if it needs to be extracted. Root canals also may not be fully possible during this type of visit. Other problems require additional support. For example, if there is damage to veneers, crowns, or bridges, or other types of dental appliances, these may need to be re-made or repaired at the dentist’s office. An emergency dentist can help in many situations including: Toothache relief Oral pain relief Emergency tooth extraction Restoration of a loose filling or crown (sometimes a temporary solution) Dental infection care Broken brackets or wires Wisdom tooth pain management When you come in for dental care on an emergency basis, you may not be in the right frame of mind to make decisions about your treatment and the costs involved. You can get help for pain now and then make decisions later. Why People Need an Emergency Dentist – Common Conditions Most people come to an emergency dentist to get help from ongoing pain and discomfort or acute situations. Here are a few common examples of when this is necessary. Fillings – Once the numbness wears off from having a cavity filled, you may start to feel the impact. You may also notice your bite is no longer aligned and an adjustment is necessary. Broken tooth – A broken tooth creates rough edges that can damage the gums and tissues in the month. It’s possible to see an emergency dentist for some relief, including reducing nerve pain, removing excess tissue, and getting medications for infection risks. Root canals – A painful or exposed dental root can lead to complex problems. It is possible to treat this condition, to a point, during an emergency dental visit. Wisdom teeth – If you have wisdom teeth trying to come in, or pain in the back of your jaw, it becomes necessary to get some relief. You may feel a pulsing under your gum. Pain relief is possible. Swollen gums – If your gums are swollen, this could be due to an infection or inflammation. It can be painful and bleeding can occur. Emergency dental providers can offer solutions to this. Pores in teeth – Your teeth may be very sensitive, creating a sensation of pain when you breathe. It’s possible to receive a de-sensitizer treatment that works like a varnish to seal those areas. This helps to prevent cold air from entering into them. Other Oral Conditions There are other services your dentist can help you with as well. You may not think to call your dentist for these treatments, but they may be able to help in an emergency. Canker sores and cold sores – It’s possible to get laser therapy that works to provide instant pain relief and speeds up the healing process. Your dental provider may offer treatment that begins to work in minutes, though long-term care may still be necessary. Sinus pressure – If you have sinus pressure that doesn’t seem to respond to other treatments, it could be related to dental health. Visiting your dentist can help you at least rule out any dental connection. An emergency dental visit can offer you the treatment you need right now and allow you to create a plan for ongoing concerns at upcoming visits. Ann LeAnn Le has been successfully managing dental practices since 1990. She is currently Practice Manager at Bunker Hill Dentistry in Houston, TX which she runs with her husband Dr. Tri M Le.