Dealing with a Dental Emergency

Dealing with a Dental Emergency

When you’re in severe dental pain, have a broken tooth, a tooth is knocked out of its socket or falls out due to disease,  or you have severe cuts to the insides of the cheeks, the gums, or the tongue, you have a dental emergency. None of these are things to take lightly.

As in any emergency, quick action is needed in a dental emergency to reduce suffering and preserve your teeth, and even your health. At our West Chester, Pennsylvania dental practice, we offer same-day service for dental emergencies during business hours. Call our office immediately at 610-314-7534 and we’ll see you as soon as possible that day. Remember: if you can come in, we’ll see you!

If your emergency occurs outside normal hours, call the after-hours phone number listed on the answering machine. Dr. Sykora will make every effort to help, day or night.

Here are tips for dealing with a dental emergency until Dr. Sykora can see you.


Accidents happen and sometimes your teeth can take part of the impact. There are three typical dental outcomes from an accident: one or more broken teeth, one or more teeth being knocked out, or lacerations inside the mouth.

  • If a tooth is broken, either due to impact or just through biting into something hard, the first thing to do is to carefully collect all the pieces. Depending on the reason for the fracture, and the extent of the damage, it may be possible to bond those pieces back into place. If not, Dr. Sykora can usually place a temporary crown over the broken tooth to protect it while a permanent crown is being made.
  • When a tooth is knocked loose due to impact, try to reinsert it into its socket. Be careful not to touch the root. If you’re successful, leave the tooth alone to allow it to re-root. Don’t chew on it or wiggle it to test its tightness.  If you can’t re-insert the tooth, do what you can to preserve it. Placing it in a glass of milk can help for a while. Dr. Sykora may still be able to re-insert the tooth which will save you considerable time and expense, so be sure to bring it with your to your appointment.
  • If you have severe cuts inside the mouth, try to stop the bleeding. Those tissues have a rich blood supply and may bleed freely. You can apply direct pressure over the cuts with a clean cloth. In some cases, applying cold to the cheek outside the cut can help slow the bleeding. This gives clotting a better chance. If you can’t control the bleeding in a reasonable amount of time, 20 minutes or so, visit your local emergency room immediately.
  • Avoid over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen. These pain relievers can make bleeding worse.

Severe Dental Pain

Severe dental pain that isn’t due to an accident may be constant or may start at a low level and rapidly get worse. Again, call our office immediately at  610-314-7534 to schedule an emergency appointment.

  • Don’t use heat on the cheek over the site of pain. Heat increases blood flow to the area, and if your pain is caused by an infection the increased blood flow can spread the infection more rapidly.
  • Don’t self-diagnose. You may be tempted to take some leftover antibiotics that you have on hand from another problem. Most dental infections will require a full course of antibiotics, up to two weeks, to be resolved. And, not all antibiotics work equally well in all situations. You may be making things worse by self-diagnosing and self-treating your pain.
  • If you experience pain that lasts for more than a few moments in response to heat or cold, you have a dental emergency. Teeth aren’t supposed to hurt.
  • If you have dental pain that is suddenly replaced by numbness in an area, you have a dental emergency.

Your teeth are designed to give you a lifetime of service without pain. Pain is a sign that something is wrong, and dental problems don’t get better on their own. Don’t assume that nothing can be done. In a dental emergency situation the worst thing you can do is nothing.

In an emergency, call our West Chester, Pennsylvania dental office at 610-314-7534 for an emergency appointment. Dr. Sykora and all of our staff are committed to easing your pain and helping you keep your teeth. Once your emergency is resolved, we’d be happy to be the dental provider for your and your entire family.