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How to Handle Common Dental Emergencies

First and foremost, you should always call our dental office if you even think you’re experiencing a dental emergency. Acting fast will allow us to assess your situation, determine whether you need treatment right away, and take care of the problem before it becomes worse. Fortunately, before you’re able to reach our dental office, you aren’t helpless—here are a few tips for taking control and reducing pain during the most common dental emergencies:

Toothaches

Toothaches are often caused by a piece of food being stuck between the teeth, so be sure to floss and rinse around the painful area. If this doesn’t help, go ahead and take an OTC medication. Rinsing with warm saltwater a few times an hour can provide some temporary relief as well.

Chipped or Broken Tooth

Gather as many pieces of the tooth that you can find, put them in a safe container, and remember to bring them to our dental office. Apply a cold compress to control any swelling, and if the tooth has a rough edge, be sure to cover it with a piece of sugarless gum.

Knocked-Out Tooth

It is possible to replant a tooth, but only if you come to see us within an hour or so of the accident! Until then, pick up the tooth, gently rinse it off with water, and place it under the tongue. This will keep it alive until we can see you.

Lost Filling or Crown

Recover the restoration if you can, rinse it off, and place it back onto the tooth. A dab of toothpaste may help stabilize it. This should only be considered a temporary repair, and we recommend contacting us quickly to get a replacement before the tooth develops any pain or damage.

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Something Stuck Between the Teeth

Oftentimes, a toothache in Phoenix is caused by a small object, usually a piece of food, getting trapped between the teeth. If this is the case, do NOT attempt to remove the object yourself with a sharp object like a toothpick. Instead, gently thread a piece of dental floss through the area. It may help to tie a knot on one end of the floss to gently knock the object out of place. If that doesn’t work, then call us for an emergency dental appointment. In the meantime, rinse your mouth out with saltwater at regular intervals.

Partially Dislodged Tooth

Even if your tooth hasn’t been completely knocked out, you still need to call us for an urgent appointment as soon as possible. We’ll have the highest chance of successful replantation if you can get to our office within the hour. Until then, do NOT try to force the tooth back into its socket, as this could damage the tooth’s supportive tissues or even dislodge it further. Also, avoid chewing with that tooth or touching it with your tongue or fingers until we can address your dental emergency in Phoenix.

Dental Infections

What seems like a minor toothache may indicate a serious dental infection that could spread throughout the mouth and even to other parts of the body if left untreated. That’s why you should call us right away if you notice a small bump on the gums, darkening of a hurting tooth, discharge between your teeth, or swelling in your mouth and/or jaw. We’ll treat the infection at your appointment, but we’ll also give you tips for managing the pain, such as rinsing with a saltwater solution.

Gum/Soft Tissue Injury

Trauma to your gums, lips, tongue, or other soft tissues in your mouth will likely cause a great deal of bleeding. To curb the blood flow, hold a gauze pad or a clean, damp washcloth to the area and apply firm pressure. Then, apply a cold compress to your cheek to reduce swelling and pain. If you can’t make the bleeding stop, head straight to the emergency room.

Jaw Pain

A constant ache or soreness in the jaw could indicate chronic teeth grinding, TMJ disorder, or even advanced gum disease. Whatever the case may be, you’ll need to get to our emergency dental office in Phoenix promptly. In the meantime, take an OTC pain reliever or hold a cold compress to the area as needed. Keep in mind that if your jaw pain is particularly severe, your jaw may be broken or dislocated. If that’s the case, you should head to the nearest emergency room for immediate care before we can treat your smile.

How to Prevent Dental Emergencies

While having an emergency dentist on call is great, most people would prefer to avoid dental emergencies in the first place. Here are a few simple ways to do exactly that:

  • Always wear a mouthguard when playing sports.

  • Don’t wear down your teeth by chewing on things like ice, fingernails, pen caps, etc.

  • Don’t use your teeth to open packages or bottles.

  • Keep up with your daily oral hygiene and professional checkups so small problems can be stopped before they become emergencies.

The Cost of Treating Dental Emergencies

One of the biggest concerns people have is that treating their dental emergency will be extremely expensive, so they put off treatment. This is always a bad idea, as this allows a problem to become much worse, increasing the chances it will require more involved (and costly) care to fix. While there is no all-encompassing answer to how much you can expect to pay, there are a few factors that influence the final price across the board. Keep reading to learn more!

Every Dental Emergency is Different

Each dental emergency is unique and will call for a different approach. That is why our dentist in Phoenix will conduct a comprehensive exam when you arrive at our office. Once they understand the root of the problem, they can use the below common solutions to restore your pain-free smile:

  • Root canal therapy

  • Extractions

  • Dental crowns

  • TMJ treatment

  • And more!

Whatever the case may be, we will always explain our findings, create a personalized treatment plan, and be as transparent as possible about the price before moving forward. That way, you know what to expect from start to finish and can focus solely on getting the treatment you need.

Taking Care of Your Smile Can Save You Money

Some dental injuries, like ones that stem from a sudden car accident or from an accidental elbow to your mouth, aren’t entirely avoidable. However, ones related to poor dental hygiene and bad oral habits certainly are. That’s why practicing proper prevention is paramount! In addition to implementing a solid at-home oral hygiene routine, make sure to visit our team every six months to prevent unchecked infection and decay from wreaking havoc on your teeth and gums. If any pain or damage does arise, then make sure to schedule an appointment with our emergency dentist in Phoenix right away. After all, coming in sooner rather than later could mean the difference between a root canal and an extraction!

Does Dental Insurance Cover Dental Emergencies?

If you have dental insurance, then you’ll be happy to know that many providers cover at least a portion of emergency care. For some patients, one urgent exam is covered in full each year. For others, common restorative procedures, like root canal therapy and dental crowns, are covered up to 80%, providing significant savings. Since the fine print varies from patient to patient, it is best to confirm with your insurance carrier before committing to treatment. Fortunately, we are experts in navigating benefits, ensuring you get the dental care you deserve at the lowest out-of-pocket expense!

Other Options for Making Dental Emergencies Affordable

No dental insurance? No need to worry! Our team at Carefree Dentistry never wants the price to be the reason you don’t get the care you need, which is why we have a number of financial alternatives to choose from:

  • Carefree Dentistry Dental Plan – Designed to make paying for dental care affordable, this in-house plan covers essential preventive care and offers sizeable discounts on a variety of other treatments (even one’s dental insurance providers rarely cover!).

  • Flexible financing – Even the most extensive treatment plans are affordable with CareCredit financing. This third-party financier breaks up the cost of your dental care into manageable monthly chunks – often with no interest!

  • Special offers – We’re here to help your smile and wallet when you need it most, which is why we offer a free limited dental emergency exam to patients in need.

Whether you just sustained a dental injury or have been struggling with oral pain for some time now, acting quickly is the best way to minimize the cost and pain associated with an urgent situation. Get in touch with our team right away to restore your pain-free smile.

TMJ/TMD Therapy

Do you experience chronic jaw pain or headaches, and you can’t figure out why? You might be experiencing a problem with your TMJ, or TMJ dysfunction (TMD). This involves your main jaw joint, and problems in this area can lead to pain felt throughout the face and head. The source of the issue is usually a misaligned bite that is causing the jaw muscles to strain, but we can fix this to help a patient get the long-term relief they deserve.

Dental Emergency FAQs

At Anthem Dentistry, your emergency dentist is committed to getting you out of dental pain fast. While we hope you never experience a dental emergency, we want you to be as prepared as possible just in case one strikes. For your convenience, we’ve gathered some of the most common questions we get about emergency dentistry below. If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call right away!

What Exactly Is a Dental Emergency?

Perhaps one of the most obvious questions to ask is, “What constitutes a dental emergency?” Basically, they are non-life-threatening injuries that require immediate treatment from a dentist to stop bleeding, alleviate pain, or save your tooth. Some of the most common dental emergencies are knocked-out teeth, abnormal bleeding, a cracked tooth, and painful toothaches. It is always best to air on the side of caution, so if you are ever uncertain, don’t hesitate to contact our office. From there, our knowledgeable team can help you decide whether your injury necessitates an urgent visit.

    When Should I Go to the Emergency Room?

    Since emergency rooms rarely have a dentist on staff, heading straight to our office is usually the best choice to get treatment for your teeth and gums. However, if your injury becomes potentially life-threatening, then you should seek medical attention immediately. Once you’ve been treated, you can contact our office for an emergency appointment. Below are a few examples of when you should go to the ER first:

    • Oral bleeding that lasts longer than 10 minutes.

    • A broken jawbone.

    • Severe facial trauma.

    • Abnormal symptoms that inhibit your ability to breathe or swallow.

    Is There Anything I Can Do to Ease the Pain At Home?

    To fix the root of the problem, all dental injuries should be treated by a professional. However, if you have a few hours or even days until your appointment, there are a few things you can do to manage your discomfort in the meantime:

    • Apply a cold compress to the outside of your cheek to alleviate swelling and numb the area.

    • Rinse with a mixture of salt and warm water to prevent infection and reduce irritation.

    • Take over-the-counter medication to manage pain.

    What Should I Keep In My Emergency Dental Kit?

    Like a first aid kit, emergency dental supplies are extremely helpful when you or a loved one sustain an injury to your teeth or gums. Therefore, it is a good idea to prepare one ahead of time! If you don’t already have one, here are a few items you should include:

    • Floss

    • A dental mirror

    • Temporary fillings

    • Gauze

    • Disposable gloves

    • A small container to hold a knocked-out tooth

    • Over-the-counter pain-relief medication

    • Our contact information (specifically, our address and phone number)

    Handling a dental emergency can be anxiety-inducing, which is why our emergency dentist is always a phone call away. And don’t hesitate to contact our office with any additional questions you have about urgent appointments!

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