Dental emergencies can be stressful, painful, and traumatic. Suffering oral trauma such as a broken, cracked, or chipped tooth can cause anxiety as you grapple with the initial injury and worry about the appearance of your mouth, your future oral health, and your ability to eat and drink.

At Flatrock Family Dentistry, we know how important it is for your dental health and oral aesthetics to treat emergencies promptly. That’s why we offer same-day appointments for patients who need emergency dental care. Our board-certified dentists Dr. Christopher J. Rouse and Dr. E. Michael Crosland have completed advanced residencies and are committed to practicing the most advanced dental techniques and procedures.

We opened a new, state-of-the-art facility in January 2019 to help us provide our patients with unparalleled care. The advanced technology at our office allows us to offer patients same-day crowns and sophisticated 3D imaging. We can respond quickly and efficiently to a dental emergency, then send you on your way with a restored smile and peace of mind.

We serve Greenville, Five Forks, Greer, and surrounding areas of South Carolina. Call (864) 297-5268 today to if you or a loved one experience a dental emergency.

Common Dental Emergencies

Hockey player missing tooth needing emergency dentistry

Chipped, Cracked, or Broken Teeth

Teeth are incredibly durable, but they can still chip, crack, and break. That can happen in numerous ways, including:

  • Being hit in the face or mouth
  • Falling
  • Cavities that weaken the tooth
  • Biting down on something hard
  • Old fillings that don’t support tooth enamel

A broken tooth may not hurt right away and may not hurt all the time. Cracks may also not be immediately apparent because you can’t see them. You could feel pain only when releasing your bite, or when the tooth is exposed to cold food and drink. A tooth that is always in discomfort may have damaged nerves or blood vessels, which are serious issues.

There is no way to treat chipped, cracked, or broken teeth at home. You must see Dr. Rouse or Dr. Crosland to have your tooth repaired. If you think you are experiencing one of those issues, you should contact our office as soon as possible.

When you come in, our dentists can determine if your broken tooth was caused by a cavity and if the tooth’s nerve is at risk. A damaged nerve will usually require a root canal to treat. Before you get to our office, you can take these steps to set your treatment up for success:

  • Rinse your mouth with warm water.
  • Use gauze to apply pressure to any bleeding areas until the bleeding stops.
  • Apply a cold compress to the cheek or lips over the broken tooth to reduce swelling and relieve pain.
  • Take an over-the-counter painkiller.

The specific treatment Dr. Rouse or Dr. Crosland performs for your chipped, cracked, or broken tooth will depend on the significance of the damage and the nature of the injury. A minor crack or chip may only need a filling or filing. A severe break could require a crown, tooth removal, or root canal to fix.

Teeth Knocked Out

According to the American Association of Endodontists, more than five million teeth are knocked out every year. If you have a tooth knocked out, all is not lost. By acting quickly, you may be able to save the tooth. These steps could help you salvage the tooth before you get into our office:

  • Locate the tooth immediately.
  • Pick up the tooth by the chewing surface, not the root.
  • If the tooth is dirty, gently rinse it with water. Don’t scrub or dry it or use soap or chemicals to help wash it.
  • If possible, reposition the tooth back in its socket and hold it in place with your fingers or by gently biting down.
  • Keep the tooth moist either in your mouth or in milk if you can’t replace it in your mouth.
  • See our dentists within 30 minutes of the injury.
Woman receiving emergency dental treatment

Lost Crown or Filling

Crowns and fillings are meant to be durable, but they don’t last forever. They are also susceptible to trauma and wear and tear. You may notice your crown or filling coming out while eating or chewing. If one of your dental restorations falls out, contact our office immediately. In the meantime, these steps can help you save your crown or filling:

  • If you can find the crown, keep it in a dry place so our dentists can try to reattach it.
  • You can attempt to temporarily reattach the crown using over-the-counter dental cement that is available in pharmacies.
  • Avoid using the tooth as much as possible.

When a crown or filling falls out, the remaining tooth structure will not be as strong as the crown. It could also be more susceptible to damage without the crown to protect it. The underlying shape of the tooth may also have changed because of decay during the time you had the crown. Dr. Rouse or Dr. Crosland may have to file the tooth down to ensure your new crown won’t come off again.

Persistent Toothache

A toothache that lasts for minutes or hours could have been caused by biting the wrong way on something too hard.

However, a persistent toothache such as sharp, throbbing, incessant pain in the same tooth could be a sign that something is seriously wrong. An unrelenting toothache could signal a condition such as:

  • Tooth decay
  • Cavities
  • Gum disease

If you experience a constant toothache, contact our office immediately so we can diagnose and treat the source of your pain.

Dental Abscess

An abscess starts as a simple tooth infection that then spreads to other regions of your mouth and causes serious health issues. It may present as a painful, pimple-like swelling of your gums. Abscesses can rupture and release bad-tasting, foul-smelling fluid.

If this happens, contact our dentists immediately. Abscesses can be life-threatening if the infection spreads to your brain.

Mouth Sores

Abscesses are one form of mouth sores, but the issue can manifest in many ways with many different causes. Common types of mouth sores include:

  • Canker sores: These often present as small white or yellow lesions on the gums, tongue, insides of cheeks, and throat. They can be caused by trauma or injury, as well as food sensitivity. They may heal without treatment, but antimicrobial mouth rinses can provide pain relief.
  • Cold sores: Red, raised blisters around the lips that are highly contagious and may break open, which can spread the infection as the fluid in the blisters leaks out. These are caused by the herpes simplex virus. Topical anesthetics can provide pain relief. Drs. Rouse and Crosland may also prescribe antiviral drugs to help them heal faster.
  • Leukoplakia: A white or gray area that develops on the tongue, insides of the cheeks, or floor of the mouth. It can be caused by irritations from fillings, crowns, or poorly fitting dentures. This is typically not painful or contagious. Treatment involves Dr. Rouse or Dr. Crosland pinpointing the source of the irritation, then repairing that.
  • Sialadenitis: A bacterial infection caused by an interruption of saliva flow. Your salivary gland may become firm, painful, and swollen. This is usually caused by a bacterial infection. Our dentists may prescribe antibiotics to destroy the bacteria.
  • Thrush: This is a fungal infection in the mouth or throat caused by an excess of yeast. It may present as white spots in the mouth or on the tongue, a sore throat, and difficulty swallowing. Our dentists will treat this with antifungal medication.
  • Burning mouth: A painful, burning sensation in your mouth, tongue, gums, throat, and insides of cheeks. The causes vary, and treatments will depend on what Dr. Rouse or Dr. Crosland identifies as the source of the problem.
Man smiling after emergency dental treatment

Damaged Braces

Braces can suffer damage through trauma or eating food that is too hard or sticky. Common ways in which braces can break include:

  • Broken bracket
  • Broken arch wire
  • Wire protruding from the last bracket

Broken brackets are unlikely to cause much discomfort or damage to your teeth, but wire issues can be painful and dangerous. The sharp end of a wire can poke your cheek or gum, cause bleeding, and potentially lead to infections.

If you have a broken wire, you should contact our office immediately. In the meantime, you can attempt to bend the wire into a position where it won’t cut your gums. If that’s not possible, you can cover the tip of the wire with over-the-counter dental wax. Under no circumstances should you try to cut the wire. You could end up swallowing or inhaling it.

Contact Our Greenville Emergency Dentists Today

At Flatrock Family Dentistry, our board-certified dentists Dr. Christopher J. Rouse and Dr. E. Michael Crosland have the experience and expertise to deftly handle dental emergencies. Our state-of-the-art facility allows us to respond quickly to situations where you need immediate treatment.

We serve Greenville, Five Forks, Greer, and surrounding areas of South Carolina. If you or a loved one experience a dental emergency, call (864) 297-5268.

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