|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 the office for Dr. Howell's
cell phone information 303-678-7232.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
||How long has it
||What makes it
||Does it keep you
awake at night?
||How much does it
||Have you been
taken anything for the pain?
||What is the
location of tooth or pain?
||What symptoms are
you having? (swelling, fever, pain)
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