Bruce E. Howell, DDS
Longmont Family Dentist
Longmont, CO 80501
Both Dr. Howell and Dr. Larson are available in the case of a dental emergency. If you are having a dental emergency after hours or on a week end, please call Dr. Howell's cell phone at 303-641-7059.
With regular dental visits and by following our recommendations for treatment, rarely do any of of patients experience a dental emergency. However, certain events can be unforeseen.
You're having a tickling contest with your loved one and his or her knee accidentally collides with your teeth, knocking out a dental crown. Or your child falls off the jungle gym and loses a tooth. Or you wake up at 2 a.m. with an excruciating toothache. These situations, and others like them, require emergency dental care. But taking care of dental emergencies isn't completely out of your hands. There are some basic self-help rules that can mean the difference between saving and losing a tooth.
Knocked Out Tooth
A knocked out tooth is a common accident, especially among children, sports related activities and even on the road. In the US alone, almost five million teeth get knocked-out from the mouth every year. Ninety percent of these teeth could have been saved and reinserted back if proper preservation techniques has been used during the time of the accident or incident.
First, do not scrub or clean the tooth. Simply place the tooth in a container of clean water or ideally milk, then immediately go to a dentist (both the tooth and patient). Dr. Howell lives in the area and would be happy to see you on a week end but in this case, time is of the essence. If you are at a soccer tournament in the Springs, find the nearest dentist.
Lost Filling/Broken Tooth
Normally a loose or lost filling is an indication of new decay that will require treatment. Often the exposed inner portion of the tooth will be sensitive to hot or cold. Covering the area with soft wax or using over the counter temporary filling material from the pharmacy can stop the pain. Clove oil on a pellet of cotton can be applied to a more painful area of a tooth. Be sure and not apply this to your gum tissue.
Lost or Loose Crown
As long as the crown is in place, the inner part of the tooth will be covered and protected. If possible, try to put the crown back on the tooth. Over the counter temporary cement is available at the pharmacy. Do not use super glue. You can make your own cement with a thick mixture of Vaseline and corn starch. Make sure the tooth and crown are cleaned out. Also, make sure you do not swallow the crown.
Lost Denture Tooth
A denture tooth that comes off your denture can be embarrassing if it is a visible tooth. However, you should avoid using super glue to make a repair. The can become more problematic because you may have difficulty refitting that tooth, making a more professional repair more difficult. If you had a special event, such as a marriage, then crazy glue might be in order but it would be better to wait a day or so and have it professionally repaired.
If you break your full or partial denture, be sure and keep all the pieces as they can often be repaired.
An area of swollen gums may be a minor area of localized inflammation/trauma or it may be a sign of a more serious periodontal problem. First, rinse the area with warm salt water to flush it out and make sure there is no debris that may be causing the discomfort. Traditional over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), and Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin) may also help curb the pain. Do not place any of these pain medications directly on the tooth or gum. This can cause serious burns and inflammation.
There is a difference between inflammation and infection. Slight reddening of the gum tissue and swelling of the gum tissue can indicate inflammation, a minor condition. More severe swelling, swelling in the face, neck or cheeks or the presence of pus indicates an infection that will require antibiotics.
Infection can be from the gums requiring periodontal treatment or it can indicate an infected tooth that would require root canal treatment. Infection requires antibiotics as soon as possible. Severe infection sometimes requires hospitalization which would involve your medical doctor or the emergency room.
Minor puncture wounds or lacerations to the check, lips or tongue will often heal on their own but severe pain or bleeding will require more immediate care.
If a wire or loose bracket is causing an irritation, cover the end of the wire with some wax or a piece of gauze. Do not wait for your next orthodontic appointment as this will only delay treatment and prolong the discomfort.
If your jaw hurts when it is moved or you cannot close your mouth in a normal manner, immobilize the jaw with a towel or tie. Go to the oral surgeon or hospital. A blow to the head can be especially life threatening to a child.
What To Tell Us When You Call
This is done to determine the type of emergency treatment you require. Make sure to follow up on what we tell you and to attend your return appointment. Remember antibiotics are not the answer for all situations. An antibiotic will only keep the infection from spreading and can be used to rule out sinusitis and other infectious outside the tooth. Antibiotics cannot clear up an infection inside the pulp of a tooth. Taking too many antibiotics can cause you to build up an immunity to antibiotic therapy in your future.
Bruce E. Howell, DDSLongmont Area Family Dentist
2051 Terry Street, Suite F
Longmont, CO 80501
Our Hours:Monday: Varies
Tuesday: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Wednesday: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Thursday: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Copyright © 2018 Bruce E. Howell, DDS All rights reserved.