Dental Emergencies

Urgent Dental Needs

Your dentist should be the first person you call if you have a dental emergency, in some cases being seen soon can mean the difference between saving or losing a tooth. In case you are experiencing a dental emergency please call the office immediately for further instructions at (616) 363-3712.

Is it a Dental Emergency?

If you are not sure whether or not you are having a true dental emergency, answer the following questions:

  • Are you bleeding from the mouth?
  • Are you in moderate to severe pain?
  • Do you have any loose teeth?
  • Have you been hit in the face or mouth?
  • Do you have any swelling in the mouth or facial area?
  • Do you have any bulges, swelling or knots on your gums?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be having a dental emergency and should call immediately. If you are unsure it is always better to call and confirm what treatment may or may not be necessary.

Knocked-Out Tooth

A knocked-out tooth is a dental emergency that requires urgent attention.

  • Pick up the tooth by the top (crown) of the tooth. Do not touch the root(s) of the tooth.
  • Rinse the tooth off very gently to ensure that it’s clean. Do not scrub the tooth or remove any tissue attached to it. Be sure to place a towel or washcloth in the sink so that the tooth does not go down the drain.
  • If you can, gently place the tooth back into the socket. Hold it gently in place while trying to bite down.
  • If you can’t place the tooth back in the socket, put the tooth in a small container or in a cup of milk. Note that the latter is preferable.
  • Call immediately, since getting to the dentist quickly with your tooth – in addition to following the steps above – is critical for saving the knocked-out tooth. The longer you wait to re-implant the tooth in its socket, the less chance you have of the tooth “taking” and remaining viable.

Chipped, Cracked or Fractured Teeth

If a tooth is chipped and doesn’t hurt, this usually does not constitute a dental emergency and you can wait a few days before receiving treatment. However, it is important to be careful while chewing so as not to chip it more. A cracked or fractured tooth with pain can be a serious issue constituting a dental emergency. Fractured or cracked teeth usually suggest that damage has occurred to the inside of the tooth as well as to the outside. If you suffer a fractured tooth, call immediately for an emergency appointment.

Other Dental Emergencies

Basically, any dental problem that requires immediate treatment in order to save a tooth, stop ongoing tissue bleeding or alleviate severe pain is considered a dental emergency.

A severe infection or abscess in the mouth can be life-threatening and should be dealt with immediately. If you feel you are having difficulty breathing and can not reach us; seek hospital emergency room care.

How to Avoid a Dental Emergency

Many dental emergencies can be easily avoided by having routine check ups to ensure that your mouth and teeth are healthy, strong and free from decay. Avoid chewing on ice and hard foods that may break or fracture your teeth.

If you are planning to travel out of the country or leaving for an extended vacation, during which you may not have ready access to dental care, it is important to come to the office for a routine check up before you leave. Making sure that you don’t have any loose crowns or teeth, decay close to the nerve of a tooth, or any other existing problems could prevent a dental emergency where you may not have access to proper care.