Emergency Treatment

Teeth with deep decay, infection or fractures can cause significant pain. This pain may be mild and occasional or it may suddenly escalate within a few hours. Infection can also develop quite rapidly causing facial swelling, difficulty opening the mouth, or drainage.

If you are experiencing significant pain or swelling with a tooth, immediate treatment is recommended.

The First Step:

The goal is to get you out of pain as soon as possible. Whether the tooth is damaged from deep decay, gum disease, or trauma, the first step is an examination and X-ray evaluation. Call our office immediately for an emergency appointment. We can arrange an appointment on the same day. If the tooth is restorable, a root canal procedure may be recommended. We can make the appropriate referral to an endodontist who specializes in root canal procedures. If the tooth is not restorable due to severe breakdown, then extraction is the only option.

You may take Tylenol or Advil to help you with pain until seen by the oral surgeon.

Painful or infected teeth should be removed as soon as possible. It is not advised or necessary to take several days of antibiotics before surgery. This can result in more complications. The best approach is early removal and then a follow-up with antibiotics.

Anesthesia for Emergency Extractions:

IV sedation is the best and most recommended anesthesia option for extraction of painful teeth with decay or infection. Infection can make local anesthesia less effective therefore making it difficult to achieve adequate numbness. Therefore, do not eat or drink anything for at least 6 hours in the event IV sedation is recommended for extraction. Also, have someone available to drive you home following the procedure.

Referral Process:

Your dentist may refer you for an immediate evaluation and treatment. We can often schedule an emergency appointment on the same day. Make sure to bring any avilable X-rays and a referral form from your dentist.

Getting a Temporary Tooth:

If the tooth recommended for extraction is in the front area (smile zone), your dentist may first obtain an impression to prepare a temporary prosthesis before the extraction is done at our office.  A temporary prosthesis can be made very quickly, sometimes on the same day, so you don’t have to go without a tooth for long. A transitional prosthesis may also be made for teeth in the back.