How to handle common dental problems when the dental office is

closed or you are traveling…


When something unexpected happens in your mouth we want to offer you ways to manage the issue and keep comfortable until professional care can be offered in the dental office.  We consider a true dental emergency as one that involves pain, swelling or infection. Less urgent issues can be managed at home when the office is closed until we can see you in person. Please also leave a detailed phone message and we will call you to schedule a visit when we return to the office. 

Crown or temporary crown comes off
Gently clean the inside of the crown, use a tooth pick to scrape off any cement pieces. Blot dry with a cotton swab or tissue. Try the crown on to see which way it goes, mark the side that’s toward your check with a pencil.  Place a small dot (pea size) of temporary cement (Fixodent denture adhesive or ‘temporary crown cement’ sold in toothbrush section of most stores) inside the crown.  Spread it around the inside with the wooden stick side of a cotton swab. Lightly dry your tooth off with a tissue. Press the crown down on the tooth and gently bite to make sure it is down all the way. Make sure you see pencil mark on the cheek side. Keep mouth open for about a minute to let the cement dry while holding it down with your finger. If extra cement oozes out past the crown, gently wipe off with a tissue or cotton swab.

Tooth breaks/chips
If it does not hurt or is not very sensitive, nothing needs to be done until you are seen in the office. The tooth will not be damaged by eating food. Avoid chewing really hard things on that side. Gently brush the tooth daily to keep clean. If there is a sharp edge that is irritating your tongue or cheek, you can try filing it with a new clean emery board or get some orthodontic wax at the store to cover the sharp edge.
If it is a large break but the tooth does not hurt, leave it alone.
If it is a large break and the tooth hurts, you may be able to relieve the sensitivity by placing some temporary filling material over it. Also avoid chewing on that side. If there is severe pain you will need to call us or visit an urgent care center.

Filling came out
You can get some ‘temporary filling material’ at the store in the toothbrush section and gently dry the space with a tissue, then press a small amount of the filling material into the tooth, gently bite down, then open and let it dry for a minute (see the directions on the package).

 Denture or other appliance breaks
Stop wearing it, save the pieces and bring them with you when you come to the dental office.

Tooth is knocked out or knocked very loose
Pick the tooth up by the enamel part, don’t touch the root, place it in a plastic baggy with some saliva. Call us or get to an emergency room as soon as possible to have it placed back in. If it is loose, but not out of the mouth, try to push it into normal position and call us. Do not bite anything with that tooth until it has been checked and treated.
If you feel you have a true emergency that requires immediate attention, please go to an urgent care center or hospital emergency room for the fastest treatment. In Illinois we are unable to order narcotic pain medication over the phone. The best recommendation for pain relief is Tylenol or Advil.