There are many situations where patients feel they need relatively quick access to the dental office. Fortunately, few are true emergencies, and most will not get worse over the period of a few days. Please call us if you have questions and we can make arrangements to see you soon.
We can see you today during business hours. We might not have the time to complete your procedure, but we can provide the proper medications and smooth sharp edges.
In case of a dental emergency
Call (303) 790 9323
If you have experienced a significant amount of swelling and pain associated with your teeth or in your mouth, it is important that you seek treatment quickly. Often this is an indication of an active infection and will require antibiotic treatment and possibly draining of the infection. If you are not able to contact us, you should consider an urgent care facility.
Infected tooth (abscess)…There are several kinds of toothaches and varying degrees of seriousness. Potentially, the most painful, is a tooth with deep decay that has infected the nerve or a tooth with a previous large filling or crown where the nerve is dying and is infected. The pain can usually be isolated to one or two teeth and feels like it is deep within the bone or root of the tooth. The pain is often triggered by cold and sometimes hot and many times the tooth will be uncomfortable to chew on or just ache on its own with no obvious cause.
The good news is that usually this type of toothache slowly gets worse and sometimes gets better for a few days or weeks before the pain returns. The bad news is that because it sometimes gets better, people keep putting it off (until Friday afternoon after the office is closed) and hope it will go away. If you have been having pain in a tooth for more than a few days; call! We can make a diagnosis and begin to help things feel better.
This type of pain is usually associated with receding gums where there is some exposed roots of the teeth which can be very sensitive to cold liquids or air. Often it also hurts while brushing your teeth. While almost all of us will have some receding gums, some have more sensitive roots than others. Also, this sensitivity occurs more in people who use tooth whitening or tartar/plaque control tooth paste. If this sounds like your situation, switch to a “sensitive tooth” toothpaste (Sensadyne) and see if things get a little better. It will take a few weeks but you should notice some improvement. If you are not sure if you have an infected tooth or not, please call.
My line is “if all your teeth hurt, none of your teeth hurt”. People who come in and say they have pain in their upper teeth and point to their cheek bone often have a sinus infection and not an infected tooth. Other signs or symptoms of a sinus infection are if it hurts more when you tilt your head or go down stairs or lay on one side etc. If you are experiencing these kinds of pains, you are welcome to come in and have us take a look. If we are not able to diagnose a “tooth issue” we will recommend that you see your medical (“real”) doctor.
Broken tooth, filling or crown
Occasionally, an individual will be eating and then feel something surprisingly hard in their mouth. Invariably this occurs when the individual is eating the softest food they have consumed in the last 13 years! This is often a piece of tooth, filling or crown. It is not necessary to identify what it is, but make an appointment so we can make a diagnosis and repair the tooth before things get worse.
This usually occurs when there is a previous large filling already in the tooth and a portion of the tooth breaks off around the edges of the filling. Sometimes this also occurs because of decay that is deep inside the tooth and weakens the part of the tooth that broke off. Because of the size of the previous filling plus the size of the additional tooth that broke off we must usually restore the tooth by placing a crown to hold the remaining tooth structure together.
I will tell you that I am truly amazed at the quality of the filling materials that have been developed for dentistry in the past 20 years. Even though this is true, fillings occasionally break. In this case, depending on where the break occurred or the size of the filling, we can repair/replace the filling, or if the missing piece is too large, we will need to place a crown. We will be able to show you with intra oral pictures and x-rays which option is best.
When this occurs there are several variables but generally we will have to make a new crown. Occasionally, a piece of porcelain will break that can be smoothed and if it is not an esthetic issue, the crown will continue to function effectively.
My crown came off!
This situation invariably occurs when the individual is eating the “least sticky food” they have consumed in the past 13 years! In an ideal situation you should put the crown back on and test to see if it is relatively secure. If it comes back off fairly easily, don’t leave it in your mouth because you don’t want to swallow it! (If swallowing occurs, you may inquire about a “crown retrieval kit”) If the crown won’t stay in place in the mouth, put it in a plastic bag and call us so you can come in as soon as reasonably possible. Many crowns can be re-cemented without any problems but please schedule today because every day that passes makes the process potentially more complicated. Gum tissue can grow up around the tooth in 24-48 hours and the teeth may actually shift causing the crown to not fit within just a few days.
Unfortunately, in many cases, the reason the crown came off is because the tooth is decayed under the crown causing the crown to release. This will require a new crown to be placed after all the decay has been removed from the tooth. We will be able to show the decay to you and you will see why a new crown is needed.
Probably the most common trauma is a fall with cut gums or lip. The bad news is that these really bleed, the good news is that they generally do not require treatment and heal very well. We are very happy to look if you would like us to and make sure everything is all right. One of my least favorite things in dentistry is when a young child falls and chips or breaks their front teeth. If they are baby teeth we can look forward to the permanent teeth erupting. If the child is six or older the adult teeth are likely to be already erupted and we will need to provide treatment that will last for years.
Baby teeth chipped or broken
Depending on the age and the ability of the child to cooperate, we can often place bonding on the teeth to make the mom feel better. If bonding isn’t necessary we can smooth any rough areas so they don’t irritate the gums or lips. Broken or chipped permanent teeth can be bonded, veneered or crowned depending on the severity of the break. The materials today are very strong and esthetic. If you get real close you will always be able to tell tooth from dental materials but you will be very pleased with the repairs compared to the alternative.
Any time there has been trauma to a tooth, there is always the possibility that the tooth will need a root canal some time in the future. This may be in the next few days or it could be several years down the road. You will know the tooth needs treatment if it starts to hurt spontaneously or turns a darker color than the teeth around it. Don’t wait too long if you start to notice either situation because the sooner we treat the tooth the more likely the tooth will stay a lighter shade.
Knocked out (avulsed) tooth
Should you have the unfortunate experience of being involved with a tooth that has been knocked out or shifted in the mouth, by all means panic! Then realize that we can work through this too.
If the tooth is still in your mouth, either slightly attached or loose, ideally, you would leave it there until you arrive at the office, or you can align it and push it back in to the socket. Make sure it is aligned and pushed completely in and then bite down to hold it. (We will analyze and grade your work when you get to the office and make any necessary adjustments.) If the tooth has been knocked out to the ground, pick it up and rinse it off gently with water. In an ideal situation, if you know it is clean, you can put it back in the socket. Two things:
1. make sure it is facing the correct way and
2. pushed all the way in to the socket. It may hurt a little but this is your best chance for saving the tooth. It will need a root canal but will likely stay in place for years.
If the tooth is dirty and/or you can’t put it back, place it in a plastic bag with a little water to keep it moist and call us so we will know you are coming in. We will see if we can replace it when you arrive. If we can’t, know that we have other options to replace your tooth and all is not lost. If you have a tooth that is knocked out of alignment, if you are up to it, use your fingers and push it back in to position. This may be a little painful but the tooth and your mouth will feel much better when the tooth is back in the correct position. After you have moved it back, close your teeth together in your normal bite and that will help hold it in position until you can get to the office.
In all situations where a tooth has been knocked out or displaced and you try to put it back into the correct position, you will know you have been successful if you can bite down and the tooth doesn’t move or or cause much pain. Good luck!