AFTER HOURS CARE INSTRUCTIONS

There are times that a patient may experience a dental problem after office hours. Below is information on how common dental problems may be managed until the office re-opens.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION TO NOTE: While our office has attempted to be thorough when compiling this information, the list is not comprehensive and there may be dental issues that arise that are not listed. If you feel you are experiencing a dental emergency and are unsure what to do, you should seek professional attention at either the emergency room or urgent care. In the event of a severe emergency, call 911 immediately. Our office is not responsible for any charges a patient may incur as a result of our recommendations and/or their emergency care. All charges from emergency room, ambulance, urgent care, other DDS, specialist or elsewhere are the sole responsibility of the patient.

A toothache is unfortunately a common dental emergency. It often results from decay or some type of infection, either in the tooth or gum tissue.

For a minor toothache, use warm salt water rinses and Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Motrin/Advil (ibuprofen) as directed to alleviate pain. You may also use a topical benzocaine, such as Orajel or oil of cloves on tooth or gum to numb area. A cold compress can be used on the outside cheek. Do not place aspirin on tooth or gum tissue as it may cause burns. Follow up with our office the next business day.

For a more severe toothache, if the above measures provide no relief, or if there is swelling present, proceed to the emergency room or urgent care. You most likely need an antibiotic. Follow up with our office the next business day.

The American Dental Association recommends handling tooth by crown portion only (not the root). Rinse the root in water gently if it is dirty. Do not scrub the tooth or remove any tissue fragments. If you are able, insert tooth back into socket to keep it moist. If this is not possible, place tooth in container of milk or place tooth between lower lip and lower gum, being careful not to swallow the tooth. It is very important for tooth to stay moist. Proceed to emergency room immediately. Follow up with our office on next business day.

For knocked-out baby teeth, do not try to reinsert. If there are no symptoms, contact our office the next business day for an appointment. However, if child is experiencing extensive bleeding, pain and/or swelling, proceed to emergency room or urgent care. Follow up with our office on the next business day.

If you have a broken jaw, the symptoms may include: pain, facial swelling, stiffness of jaw, bleeding from the mouth, difficulty opening mouth widely and/or the appearance of the cheek or jaw may look abnormal. You may or may not have loose or damaged teeth as well. Apply cold compress to jaw area and stabilize jaw using gauze, scarf or tie to wrap beneath the jaw and tie to top of head. Proceed to emergency room immediately. Follow up with our office on next business day.
In the event that you lacerate your oral tissues by either cutting or biting, rinse gently with water. Then use clean cloth or gauze and apply pressure to area. You can swish with warm salt water a few times a day to keep area clean and rinsed. If extensive or persistent bleeding occurs, proceed to urgent care or emergency room. Follow up with our office on next business day.
If you have food or other material stuck between your teeth, attempt to loosen gently with dental floss. Do not use floss aggressively or use a sharp object to dislodge material as this may damage your gum tissue. You may also try swishing vigorously with water to loosen. If you are not able to remove material, follow up with our office on next business day to avoid chance of infection.
In many cases a small chip to a tooth is not an emergency, especially if it is not painful. Gently rinse mouth with room temperature water. If tooth is sharp, placing orthodontic wax on the sharp area will relieve discomfort. This is available at most drug stores. If tooth is sensitive, use Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Motrin/Advil (ibuprofen) as directed to alleviate. Do not apply any medication directly to tooth or gum. Follow up with our office on the next business day. If you experience trauma to your tooth and/or the fracture is extensive, painful and/or you are swollen, proceed to emergency room immediately. Follow up with our office on the next business day.
In many cases if a filling or crown falls out it does not require immediate care.

For a lost filling with no pain you can leave the tooth as-is, keeping it clean and free of debris and avoiding the area when eating. If tooth is sensitive, you can purchase temporary filling material at most drug stores and follow the instructions on the package. If tooth is sharp, you can purchase orthodontic wax at most drug stores to place over sharp area. In these instances, follow up with our office on the next business day to schedule an appointment.

For a lost filling with pain you should not attempt to place any type of temporary filling material. Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Motrin/Advil (ibuprofen) can be used as directed to alleviate pain. If this does not help and pain is severe and/or accompanied by swelling, proceed to the emergency room or urgent care. Follow up with our office on the next business day.

For a crown or fixed bridge that has fallen off and is sensitive (either temporary or permanent crowns) you can purchase temporary cement at most drug stores and follow the package directions to temporarily recement. If the area is not sensitive, you can leave the crown or bridge off, taking care to avoid eating in that area and keeping it clean of debris. Be sure to keep crown or bridge that has come off. Follow up with our office on the next business day and be sure to bring crown or bridge to next appointment.

As with a lost filling, if a missing crown or fixed bridge is painful, Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Motrin/Advil (ibuprofen) can be used as directed to alleviate pain. If this does not help and pain is severe and/or accompanied by swelling, proceed to the emergency room or urgent care. Follow up with our office on the next business day.

If your removable partial or denture fractures or a tooth dislodges, you should wear your spare set if you have one. If you do not have a spare set, you can attempt to temporarily repair the appliance using a small amount of dental adhesive, such as Fixodent, Poligrip or any other brand. This repair would be for cosmetic purposes only and would not hold up for eating and chewing. Do not use superglue or anything similar to try to repair denture or partial. Follow up with our office on the next business day to schedule a permanent repair.