Category Archives: Dental Emergency

Why is my tooth turning gray after I went to an emergency dentist?

Several weeks ago, I visited an emergency dentist because of an intense toothache. After his assessment, he concluded my tooth was fine, but it did have a small crack in it. He later placed a new crown, and, although the pain was better, it was not gone. The dentist suggested that I would need a root canal if the pain did not go away. While it is better, it has not gone away. However, I would prefer to not have a root canal, so I’ve been trying to remedy the pain with Ibuprofen, but there really hasn’t been any change, and today, I noticed the tooth next to it changing to an almost gray color. Is it possible that the crown is whiter than my other tooth? Or, is it possible that the work of the emergency dentist I saw could have done something to the other tooth?

Thank you,
Vicki

Dear Vicki,

Teeth turn gray when they are dead or injured, similar to our skin bruising after trauma, but our teeth are behind an enamel surface. The treatment for this is a root canal because the tooth needs cleaned out and filled from the inside, to prevent the build-up of bacteria, which will, in turn, cause infection. The sooner this issue can be addressed, the better.

It is unlikely that the emergency dentist caused this. It could be that your tooth was hurt or damaged all along. Teeth often cause the teeth around them to be in pain. If this is the case, the original diagnosis may be incorrect. Another possibility is that both of your teeth could have been injured at the same time. This would be true, for example, if you bit down on something hard, causing trauma to the graying tooth, and causing its neighbor tooth to crack. While the tooth may not have died right away, it could be slowing fading with time. Finally, it is possible that the two teeth have issues which are completely unrelated. Lastly, you could be looking at two totally unrelated incidents, which happen to be affecting two neighbor teeth. You will likely never know if the original diagnosis was incorrect. However, if you believe this is the case, ask the original dentist for a copy of the x-ray and seek another option from a different dentist, and also have the gray tooth assessed. If something was missed on the original x-ray, you should receive a refund for what you paid to have the crown done. However, if nothing was missed, the dentist’s actions were based on your original symptoms, and the diagnosis may or may not have been correct.

This post is sponsored by Vista Dorado Dental, of Gilbert, AZ.

My son’s tooth was knocked out by a baseball–should I have seen an emergency dentist?

My eight year old son lives and breathes baseball. He is constantly playing with baseballs, bats, if not on a ball field, and is always practicing. With that comes many bumps and bruises. However, he recently took a ground ball right to the mouth. He saved the ball, but lost his front tooth! There was some blood, and his mouth and gums were swollen, but he didn’t seem incredibly upset. The coach and I helped him calm down, and once he was back to his normal self, we took the tooth home for the tooth fairy.  Should I have taken him to an emergency dentist?

Sincerely,
Sarah

Dear Sarah,

I’m thankful your son is okay! Even the best ball players take one for the team from time to time. I can answer your question in two ways.

One, if your son has already lost his front tooth, I am very hopeful you have already sought dental attention. If the tooth he lost was permanent, it would have needed immediate emergency dental attention in order to be implanted again. The best course of action would have been to carefully collect the tooth, making sure to keep any attached tissue intact, place it it in wet towel, or even back in your son’s mouth, and head to the an emergency dentist right away.

If the lost tooth was not an adult tooth, it would not have been a dental emergency, nor a great need to have the tooth implanted again. However, he may have damaged his mouth in another way, or possibly  injured the adult tooth underneath. If this is the case, a  it might recommended that a spacer be placed to make sure the adult tooth has room to grow in, so visit to your family dentist, or a pediatric dentist, would be a good plan.

 

Should I see an emergency dentist if my jaw hurts?

My jaw has been popping for a long time. Sometimes it also seems to need to open at an angle or to the side a little, not just straight down.  I don’t know why, but now whenever I open my jaw wide, it’s like it is grinding. This week it has started to hurt and I wonder if I have dislocated my jaw. Should I see an emergency dentist?

Cynthia, Columbus, OH

Dear Cynthia,

Jaw pain from TMDFrom the list of your symptoms, you may be suffering from Temporomandibular Disorder, or TMD. Sometimes this is also know as TMJ and includes a number of problems associated with the jaw. Some patients with TMD just feel uncomfortable and others experience severe pain.

Symptoms of TMD

When you do suffer from TMD, you may experience that grinding sound, also known as Crepitus. That occurs when you have bone grinding on bone. You may also experience headaches, clicking sounds, restricted motion, and/or pain. You may be further on the spectrum, but unless your jaw is locked closed and your jaw can’t be manipulated open, it probably doesn’t warrant a trip to the emergency dentist.

There are several factors  that can affect TMD. If you grind your teeth at night or clench your jaw, especially if you are stressed, it can aggrevate it. Your jaw can be affected if your bite is off. Arthritis may play a part. There are many reasons why your joint hurts or the muscles around that joint aren’t working well together.

To help ease your discomfort associated with TMD, you can use a moist heating pad on your jaw for 20 minutes a day. If you know you are stressed and it is making your symptoms worse, try to find ways to alleviate it. This may include exercise, meditation, relaxation techniques–whatever works for you. Also, avoid chewing gum and clenching your teeth.

Because TMD can get worse if left unchecked, you will want to see a dentist who is experienced in TMD.  You will most likely be given an appliance to help you with your symptoms.

This post is sponsored by Vista Dorada Dental in Gilbert, AZ.

Will an Emergency Dentist Bill a Venue for Me?

I’m in a bind. I’m a college student who grew up in a group home. Once I turned 18 I’ve been pretty much on my own. I went on a date where we went dancing. They had a platform which we were dancing on along with a bunch of other people. Apparently too many people because it collapsed. Outside of a few bruises and realizing my date cared more about his well-being than mine, I thought I was okay. But, this morning my front teeth feel loose. I don’t have a ton of money but I don’t want to lose my teeth. Would an emergency dentist charge the venue? I don’t know if I have enough to cover this. I don’t even know what “this” is.

Corra L.

Dear Corra,

A woman grabbing her jaw in need of an emergency dentist

First, I want to express that I’m sorry you’ve had to grow up in a group home. Hopefully, you have a good group of friends that help you feel you have some back up in this world. It is important that you see an emergency dentist. In the meantime, be sure not to wiggle them. I know it’s tempting, but you risk snapping your ligaments, which will derail your efforts to save the teeth.

I’m going to start by telling what to expect when you see an emergency dentist. They’ll check the tooth along with x-raying it to make sure no damage is done to the pulp. IF the pulp is damaged, you’ll need a root canal treatment and dental crown. Because you’re talking about your front teeth, be sure they only give you all-porcelain crowns (as opposed to the metal-based crowns). They look more natural and you won’t have to worry about a gray line developing at the top of your gumline.

If the pulp is fine, they’ll just need to splint your loose teeth to some stable teeth. It may just be a matter of giving the ligaments time to heal.

Affording an Emergency Dentist

Unfortunately, the dentists will not be able to bill the venue. Dentists can only bill those receiving the service or their guardians. However, save every receipt for every scrap of money this costs you. I’m sure they’ll be a lawsuit of some kind given that people were hurt and you’ll probably get the money back.

Even though the dentist can’t bill someone else, it doesn’t mean you’re trapped and can’t get the help you need. Most dentists went into the field because they wanted to help people. In fact, there are affordable dentists who will be willing to work with you. I believe, you especially, given your unique circumstances, will find dentists compassionate.

Some have in-house payment plans. Others use Care Credit. Either way, you should be able to get the care you need and then pay it out.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Matt Roper.

Can an Emergency Dentist Help with an Excruciating Canker Sore?

I’ve had what I think is a canker sore for a week. It’s excruciating. I don’t know why I get these. I wasn’t able to eat last night. Can an emergency dentist help me?

Melinda B.

Dear Melinda,

A Man in pain and in need of an emergency dentist

Because you get them all the time, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to see a doctor or dentist to find out why. Sometimes what we think are canker sores are actually a virus or cancer in disguise. That being said, I don’t think an emergency dental visit is necessary. Though I will add it concerns me that you can’t eat at the moment.

Have you tried any over-the-counter remedies? There are gels and pads you can put on them to try and numb them out. The pads are hard to keep on because of the moist nature of our mouths. You can also try some salt water rinses.

Canker Sores tend to run themselves out in about 10-14 days, so it looks like your almost there. If it goes much beyond that a dentist visit is in order.

If you get regular cleanings and check-ups from your dentist they should be screening you for oral cancers, so I wouldn’t be too concerned if they hadn’t mentioned anything.

Avoiding Dental Emergencies

If you’re someone who avoids the dentist, you could be inadvertently shooting yourself in the foot. Our mouths are loaded with bacteria so doing what we can to keep them clean and healthy with preventative care could help stave off some of these sores.

I do understand that many people have a phobia when it comes to going to the dentist. If this is you, don’t feel bad. Many Americans share your feelings. There is a way to have anxiety-free appointments these days.

Ask your dentist about sleep dentistry. It will enable you to get the oral health care you need, while resting comfortably in a chair. Most people use the time for a nap. Though I will warn you you’ll feel groggy throughout the day and will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Matt Roper.

What I Do? The Emergency Dentist Perforated My Sinus

I’m in massive pain and I no longer trust the dentist I went to see. I had a molar that was killing me. I went to see an emergency dentist. He said my mouth was in pretty bad shape and he couldn’t tell which molar was the problem. He suggested I have both extracted. I was in so much pain I would have agreed to have my jaw removed at that point. There didn’t seem to be any problem taking out the molars and I went home feeling a smidge better, but still in pain. I thought it was just healing from the procedure. A few days later, I started feeling weird pops and growing achy. I called their office. Not only did they not tell me that anything went wrong during the procedure, but they just suggested I take a decongestant. Not much longer I developed a fever. They called in an antibiotic for me, but I insisted on coming in for them to look. They complied. It wasn’t until I go there that they mentioned my sinus was perforated during the extraction. I was really upset I wasn’t given that information. It seems kind of important to know I now have a hole where I shouldn’t have one. They even pulled some bone fragments out of the area. The problem I’ve got is I’ve finished the antibiotics and I still feel horrible and still have a fever. As I said at the beginning, I don’t trust this dentist anymore. What do you recommend?

Peggy A.

Dear Peggy,

Gilbert Emergency Dentist

There were some serious mistakes made here, so I don’t blame you for not trusting this practice any more. In the first place, while perforations do happen, there are very specific and important protocols which should have been taken. At the very least, he should have told you in order to warn you not to do things like blow your nose, which could derail any healing process.

Then, the incompetence of not clueing into the possibility that you had an infection when you called the first time is beyond me. Plus, it sounds like he placed you on the wrong antibiotics. You should have been significantly better within two days.

This needs to be addressed. First, talk to your doctor about what’s going on. He can get you on the correct antibiotic and arrange for you to have an emergency ENT (Ear, nose, and throat) appointment. They should get you on the road to recovery soon.

I’m guessing the reason you went to an emergency dentist to begin with is because you don’t have a regular dentist whom you see. Generally, that happens when a patient has dental anxiety. If that’s you, I wanted to give you some hope. When you start looking for another dentist, I’d like to suggest you try someone who uses dental sedation. This can give you a pain-free, stress-free appointment. I think it will help you feel comfortable going more regularly.

One of the best thing about most sedation dentists is they don’t judge or lecture. They’re used to working with fearful patients and are very compassionate.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Matt. Roper.

I Think My Tooth is Crumbling

I had a root canal done. My dentist put in a temporary filling until I could do the dental crown appointment. I’m still a few days away from that. When I went out for a meal today I felt something grainy in my food. I think my tooth is crumbling. What do I do? I don’t want to lose the whole thing and not be able to get the crown.

Emily S.

Dear Emily,

My suspicion is it’s not your tooth crumbling, but instead the temporary filling dislodged. Take a peek at the tooth. If there’s a hole in the center of the tooth, that means you’ve lost the filling. If the shape of the tooth is changing, then the tooth is crumbling.

If it’s just the filling, don’t worry. They’re designed to come out easily so the dentist can do the needed work in time. As your appointment is only a few days away, you can just get some temporary filling material to hold you over until your appointment. It’s designed for people in just your situation. It wouldn’t last for more than a few days, but as you’re going in for your dental crown at that point, no problem. You can find them at most drug stores.

If it’s the tooth, that’s an entirely different situation. You’ll need to be seen right away. Like you said, you don’t want to lose so much tooth structure that you’ll have to get an extraction and replacement tooth. Your dentist should have an after hours protocol. Give them a buzz and there should be instructions on their voicemail.

If they don’t have an after-hours call number, then just see an emergency dentist. They’ll make sure your tooth is protected so you can still get your crown.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Matt Roper.

Worried a Dentist Killed My Tooth

I had a toothache. I went to see an emergency dentist because I don’t have a dentist of my own and this seemed urgent.  I described what was going on. He told me he can’t see anything wrong but my description means I’ve cracked my tooth. He suggested a crown. I decided to get right on it to be done with the whole disaster. Unfortunately, not only am I still hurting, but the tooth next to it has started turning gray. I’ve read that means it’s either dead or dying. Did my emergency dentist cause a new emergency?

Bebe M. – Virginia

Bebe,

I feel it’s unlikely the dentist injured or killed the tooth.  There are three possibilities that come to mind right away. I’ll start with the least likely one. Let’s say you injured the cracked tooth and then a few days later, without realizing it, you injured the tooth right next to it.  Yeah, like I said, not likely. But, it’s possible so I mention it.

Another more likely scenario is that both teeth were injured at the same time but the uncrowned tooth took a little longer than the other to show symptoms. This does happen.

As this tooth is dead or dying it will need a root canal treatment. You’ll want to deal with this quickly, though I know you’re tired of the situation. If you don’t it’s going to harbor bacteria and then you’ll have a serious dental emergency on your hands.

I am going to suggest that you go to a different dentist to have this treatment done because of the third possibility—misdiagnosis. It could have been the graying tooth that was the problem all along. Maybe it was referring pain and that’s why the dentist thought the crowned tooth is the problem or maybe he just messed up. Either way get the x-rays the first dentist did and bring them to the dentist you hire to do the root canal treatment. He or she can look at them and let you know if something was missed. If it turns out it was, you can get a refund on your first treatment.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Matt Roper.

 

Do My Wisdom Teeth Need an Emergency Dentist?

My wisdom teeth bother me on and off with some swelling. Now it’s a lot worse. In fact, I haven’t been able to eat for two days. I’m miserable.  It’s normally better by now. Do I need to do anything?

Sylvia – Connecticut

Sylvia,

My suspicion is you aren’t under the regular care of a dentist. When there is recurrent pain, such as you described, a dentist generally recommends you have the wisdom teeth removed. Recurring swelling is an indication there’s a problem. Your wisdom teeth can blow up into a serious infection in no time and then you can have a huge problem on your hands. In fact, I think you’re there now.

Tooth infections spread and can become life threatening. I’d like you to see an emergency dentist. They’ll evaluate your wisdom teeth and see if it’s infected.

I’m concerned with the fact that you can’t eat. I wouldn’t be surprised if you woke up with your face swollen in a day or so.

Please don’t put this off. If you’re someone who suffers from dental anxiety, I don’t want you to feel cornered or to allow it to keep you from the dentist. There are emergency dentists who offer sedation dentistry. You can get your wisdom teeth examined and even extracted completely pain free.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Matt Roper.

 

My Tooth Lost a Sword Fight

My son and I were playing with his wooden swords. Not only was I soundly defeated, but I believe my front tooth was the biggest loser. I can now wiggle my front tooth. I’m terrified it’s going to fall out. What do I do?

Janelle O. – Massachusetts

Janelle,

Motherhood can be rough sometimes. You’re a cook, a chauffeur, a teacher, a counselor, a nurse, and…..a swordfighter.  Or, in your case….victim.

The first thing I want you to do is stop moving the tooth. If you continue wiggling it, you will increase the likelihood of losing it. It sounds like the ligaments are stretched.  What you don’t want is for them to snap.

I would consider this an emergency dental situation. If you don’t have a regular dentist that can get you in on short notice, do a Google search for “emergency dentist” and go to a decent one in your area.

They’ll need to stabilize your tooth. He may bond it to an adjacent tooth or splint it. There are several methods. If it’s just a minor sprain to the ligament, it should heal on its own.  But, there could be other issues as well when we’re dealing with tooth trauma.

He’ll also need to check that there’s no damage to the pulp of the tooth. If there is, don’t panic. A root canal will take care of that issue.

Bottom line–get seen as quickly as possible. You may also want to invest in some sword fighting lessons as well.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Matt Roper.