Dental emergencies may occur at any time of the day and any day of the week. Dr. Colospate offers early morning appointments and can be onsite in the evening or over the weekend should an emergency arise. In the case of an emergency, contact Dr. Colospate directly or leave a message with our answering service.
Dr. Colospate has extensive training in all types of restorative and surgical dentistry. A dental emergency can be quickly treated to ensure your comfort and longevity of the tooth/ teeth affected. Living in close proximity and working with a fantastic team of area specialists also provides excellent and expedited care to our patients.
Types of Emergency Care
We provide all types of emergency dental services including bonding, fillings, crown and bridge repair, implant repair, extractions, problems with the gums, and root canals. Most importantly, we will treat the problem and ensure that your comfort is met and any infection is treated.
What to Do in a Dental Emergency
Bitten lip or tongue
Bitten tongues and lips are quite common and vulnerable to injury given their close proximity to teeth when chewing. Wounds in and around the mouth bleed significantly, as the area is rich in blood supply. Swelling, bruising, and potential cuts to the tissue are the most common injuries to the tongue and lip.
To care for a bitten lip or tongue:
- Clean the injured site with mild soapy water.
- Rinse with hydrogen peroxide and water or salt water.
- Apply a cold compress (reducing potential swelling will reduce pain).
- If the bite is too extensive, the site may need to be stitched by a surgeon and antibiotics may be prescribed.
If an infection persists, please contact medical assistance with the following symptoms:
- Drainage of pus
- The wound site is not healing and/ or there is a bad smell at the wound site
Object caught in the teeth
Objects frequently get caught between the teeth. This occurs because of tight spaces between the teeth, potential gum disease, age, misaligned teeth, and ill-fitting crowns, bridges, and fillings. It is good to thoroughly clean your teeth in both the morning and evening, and remove anything caught within the teeth quickly to dissuade potential infection. Commonly, nuts, popcorn shells, and fibrous veggies and meats find themselves wedged between the teeth and may lead to discomfort.
To treat an object caught in the teeth:
- Floss the site where the object is caught; consider doubling and tripling the floss in thickness to increase your surface texture.
- Rinse with warm salt water and/or mouth rinse.
- Brush all tooth surfaces.
- If the object continues to be caught, utilizing a plastic pick carefully may dislodge it.
Please abstain from ever using a metal tool/ object to clean between teeth and in the gum. Irreversible damage may occur to the enamel and soft tissue. If the object is not removed, discomfort may continue and increase.
Please contact Dr. Colospate to have the site professionally cleaned if the following symptoms persist:
- Discomfort lasting more than 24 hours
- Bleeding to the touch and/or with flossing
- A bad odor coming from the site
- Swelling at the site where the object is caught and/or along the jaw bone
- A fever and/or drainage at the site
Broken, chipped, or fractured tooth
Teeth frequently chip, break, and fracture while playing sports, chewing hard foods, at sites of cavities, and with time and use. Our office assesses your dental health at each visit to watch for potentially weaker teeth containing existing fracture lines, assessing decay early to treat while the repair site is minimal. If your tooth breaks, chips, or fractures, please contact our McLean dental office immediately. It is very important to be cautious with the broken tooth until your dental visit as to reduce additional breakage.
What to do if you’ve broken a tooth:
- Chew on the other side of your mouth
- Avoid hard and sticky foods
- Avoid chewing gum
- Use caution with physical sports until the tooth is fixed
If your tooth is knocked out during sports or an accident, place the entire tooth in a cup of milk, pack gauze at the site of the lost tooth to reduce bleeding, and seek medical assistance immediately. In limited cases, a tooth brought immediately into the office, brought in a cup of milk, can be reset into the gum/ bone. The knocked out tooth may be bonded to the adjacent teeth depending of the health of the adjacent teeth, the health condition of the existing gum tissue, and the age of the patient. Teeth that are knocked out and reset immediately can have a favorable outcome if treated immediately and the above health factors are favorable. Often, teeth that are lost to accidents and sports will require implant replacement.
Preventing Dental Emergencies
To prevent a dental emergency, Dr. Colospate recommends utilizing mouthguards with sports activities to reduce the potential of biting tongues, lips, and potentially fracturing teeth. Custom mouthguards can be made for you at our McLean dental office.