Emergency Care

Do you have a chipped tooth?  Maybe you have a tooth ache or pain that won’t let you sleep at night?  There are some problems that can arise, forcing you to need a dentist right away.  Dental emergencies can happen at any time and we will try to be available to see you even if our schedule is busy. 

In order to properly diagnose your problem, we need to see you in the office at the very minimum.  We may need to take x-rays to see the extent of the problem, and often more tests are needed to check around your teeth to localize the problem and to reproduce your symptoms so we can figure out what’s wrong and how to treat you to relieve your pain. 

Common Dental Emergencies

There are a number of common dental emergencies listed here.  Please do not use this to self-diagnose, as there are many variables and a proper evaluation is needed to diagnose your problem.  These are listed here for your information only.

Sensitive teeth and gums

Sometimes teeth can be sensitive to cold liquids or air, hot drinks, sweets, chewing, biting, touching the tooth, or just spontaneous pain.  We are trained to locate and diagnose the problem so we can treat the source of your pain.  Some common causes could be gum disease or recession leading to root sensitivity, grinding or clenching your teeth, sinus infections, cavities, fractured cusps, trauma to the nerve, etc…  As you can see there can be many reasons you may have sensitivity so it’s best to schedule an appointment for an evaluation by a dentist


Cavities don’t always hurt.  In fact, most people don’t even know if they have a cavity because there are no symptoms in the early stages.  When a cavity starts to hurt it is likely you will need a root canal instead of a filling.  This is why cavities are important to diagnose and restore early before they become a problem.  However, some cavities start to hurt as they approach the nerve and may still be restored conservatively with a filling.  If the cavity is too big or too deep though, you may need a root canal and/or a crown, or even an extraction if the tooth is no longer restorable.

Gum disease

When gums are inflamed and red, they can bleed and even hurt.  This happens because the gums are unhealthy and infected with bacteria, plaque, tartar, and/or food particles.  This can be a source of sensitivity to cold, sweets, or touch and needs to be addressed by cleaning the area.  If the condition has progressed to periodontal disease, which involves bone loss and deep gum pockets, then you may need a more extensive cleaning called a “deep cleaning” or “Scaling and Root Planing.”

Chipped teeth

If you have chipped a tooth, rest assured that it can be restored and we can make it look like new again.  Accidents happen and teeth do chip sometimes.  The extent of the break will determine how we can restore it.  For small chips we can sometimes just smooth it out for you.  Otherwise we might be able to do a bonded filling, veneer or a crown.  For deeper fractures into the nerve we may need to perform a root canal or even extract the tooth.  If a tooth needs to be pulled there are other options to replace the tooth like implants or bridges, which we can discuss.

Lost or broken fillings

This can happen sometimes, and usually we can simply replace the filling.  First we should evaluate why the filling broke or fell out in the first place so we can avoid the problem from recurring.  If there is decay underneath the filling we may have to consider a different type of restoration like a crown.

Crown fell out

If a crown falls out DO NOT use superglue or similar products to replace it because you will likely damage your gums and make it hard for us to remove and evaluate it.  If you need a quick fix and can’t come in right away, most drug stores carry a product for temporarily re-cementing a crown.  When we see you, we will evaluate the tooth for decay or any other problems that may prevent us from reusing the same crown.  If possible we will re-cement the crown in place.  Otherwise, a new crown may be required.

Infections and Abscesses

If you have a tooth that is infected, it will likely either need a root canal or an extraction.  There are other possible reasons for your symptoms, so we need to see you to diagnose the problem.  If there is a large swelling it may not be possible to properly anesthetize the tooth in order to treat it, therefore we may have to prescribe antibiotics to reduce the infection before treating you.  It is important to return as directed to treat the source of the infection, otherwise it will only become infected again.

Loose teeth

If you have teeth that are loose, the treatment will depend on the situation.  We may be able to stabilize the tooth, you may require a deep cleaning, or the tooth may simply need to be extracted.  We will have to consider many factors in order to make a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.