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If you call our office with a dental emergency, we will get you in as soon as possible to evaluate the problem. The first thing we will need you to do is fill out a medical history form so we know what is going on with your overall health. The next thing we’ll do is bring you back and find out what’s bothering you. We will ask lots of questions to help us get to the proper diagnosis.
Common questions we ask include…
How long has the pain been going on? Is the tooth sensitive to cold? Is the tooth sensitive to heat? Does it hurt to chew on the tooth? Is your jaw sore? Have you been suffering from any sinus issues lately? What makes the pain go away? Is it waking you up at night? Have you noticed any swelling?
From there, we will take any X-rays that are necessary to determine the underlying issue that is causing you pain. The x-rays will show us any cavities or abscesses that are on the roots of your teeth. Dental x-rays can also allow us to see signs of clenching and grinding.
After reviewing your x-rays, we will do a emergency exam. We start with an extra-oral exam where we will check for any swelling or sensitivity to palpation. From there, we will do an intra-oral exam to check for any gum issues, soft tissue swelling, or chronic draining infection tracts. We will then do testing on your teeth to determine the source of pain. Sometimes this is very straight forward like an obvious abscess or large cavity, but often times we have to do more thorough testing to isolate the source of pain. Luckily we have several diagnostic tests at our disposal. A few of those tests include endodontic ice testing (cold testing) to check for hypersensitivity or necrosis, percussion testing to check for any pain when tapping on the teeth, and bite testing to check for any pain when biting and releasing on a cotton roll.
Dr. Greg Hopkinson and Dr. Matthew Sullivan utilize all of this information to put together a proper diagnosis and course of action. They will explain to you what is going on and discuss all available treatment options. Our doctors allow plenty of time to answer any questions you may have to make sure you are completely comfortable with the diagnosis and treatment options before moving forward with treatment.
If you have a tooth that is throbbing with pain and keeping you up at night, you most likely have a dental infection. Dental infection is caused by bacteria getting into the pulp of the tooth. This can be due to a large cavity, fractured tooth, or failing root canal. The pulp is the inner part of the tooth where the nerves and blood vessels are housed. Once the bacteria gets to this point, that’s when you will start having pain. When this happens the best treatment option for you would be to have the tooth treated with root canal therapy.
If the tooth is unable to be saved, it may require that the tooth be extracted. If this is the case, there are many options to replace the tooth including implants, bridges, and partials. Don’t worry, we will help guide you to get you out of pain efficiently while keeping in mind the best long term restorative option.