Dental Emergencies

...and what to do when you encounter them.

Things happen...

A dental emergency can arise any time of day or night, and knowing where to turn can make the experience less stressful.

At Atherton Smiles, the doctors and the team are here to help. If you encounter a dental need that cannot wait to be seen during a normally scheduled visit, emergency dentistry is probably the right approach.
When you call us for an emergency, we can help you...

Do I need a tooth extraction?

The most significant short-term benefit associated with tooth extraction is the elimination of pain. If a tooth is severely decayed or an infection is present, removing the affected tooth almost immediately alleviates discomfort. However, it should be noted that further procedures are necessary to replace the extracted tooth. Leaving a gap is not a viable option as the other teeth tend to twist out of alignment to fill the space.

Here is a brief overview of some of the main reasons for tooth extraction:

Deep decay

When decay affects the surface of the tooth as well as the pulp, root canal procedures cannot be performed. Root canal therapy is only viable where the general structure of the tooth is in stable condition.

Extra teeth

There are a variety of reasons, most common being baby teeth that do not shed. Extra teeth take up space on the arch, causing nearby teeth to twist out of place. A tooth extraction is necessary in this case to provide enough space for the teeth to properly realign.

Periodontal disease

The cause of bone and gum recession is almost always advanced periodontal disease (gum disease). Poor bone density means that the chance of restoring the natural tooth is minimal.

Prior to braces

Traditional orthodontic braces require enough space to for the teeth to move into ideal alignment. If space cannot be created naturally, a tooth may be extracted as an alternative.

What happens if I have a fractured tooth?

Depending on the severity of the crack, a dentist may be able to repair a small crack with a filling, treat a moderate crack with a crown or treat a severe crack with a root canal procedure and crown

If the crack extends below the gum line, the tooth cannot be saved and will need to be extracted. See your dentist if you have symptoms such as pain, sensitivity or swelling.