Emergency and Urgent Care Dentistry
Some of our new patients come to Orange Grove Dental via a dental emergency. No one wants one, but they do occur, and we are here to help.
If you or an out-of-town guest has a dental emergency, you’ll want to reach us quickly. Call our office at 727-645-6943—even if you need to reach us after regular office hours! Our answering service will contact Dr. Vulugundam, and she will return your call, assess your needs, and if urgent care is needed, arrange to meet you at the office on the weekend or in the evening. After midnight she won’t be able to provide urgent care until the following morning.
We reserve time in our daily schedule to handle urgent care situations. If you are not in pain and can manage the problem according to the following instructions, you can call us first thing in the morning and we will give you an appointment time. There are exceptions such as a tooth that is knocked out, severe dental pain, and soft tissue lacerations that require stitches. What to do follows.
How to Respond to Common Dental Emergencies
Knocked Out Tooth: If your tooth is knocked out, this is a true emergency, so call our office number even after regular office hours. Gently handle your tooth. Pick it up by the top of the crown, not the roots. If the tooth is dirty, place it in warm water for up to 10 seconds but do not rinse it under running water. Cells on the surface of the roots could be damaged or washed away, and these cells will help reattach the tooth. Try to put the tooth back in your tooth socket. If it goes back in, bite down on gauze or moist paper towel to hold it in place until you are seen by Dr. Vulugundam. If you are not able to insert it, you need to keep it moist. You can hold it between your cheek and gum, put it in some milk, or put it in some warm salt water that is made by stirring one teaspoon of salt in a quart of warm water. A knocked out tooth is definitely a reason to call our office after hours and stress that you have a true dental emergency that needs prompt attention by the dentist.
Fractured Tooth or Crown Restoration: If the tooth is painful, you need to see our dentist as soon as possible, so call our office number even after business hours. Dr. Vulugundam will restore your tooth before it becomes infected or further damaged. You can take acetaminophen or another over-the-counter pain reliever. If the tooth is simply chipped, and you are not in pain, you can wait to call for an appointment during regular business hours. If there is a sharp edge, you can protect your cheek or tongue with wax paraffin, sugarless chewing gum, or folded moist gauze until Dr. Vulugundam sees you. You will need to eat soft foods using the teeth on the other side of your mouth.
Lost Filling: If you lose a filling, make an appointment immediately. To prevent pain, you can put a bit of sugarless chewing gum in the cavity. The degree of emergency is based on your level of pain. If you are not in pain and it is evening, call us first thing in the morning. The tooth may be weak without the filling. Do not eat on that side of your mouth until the tooth is restored.
Loose Tooth or Dental Restoration: If you have a loose tooth, crown or bridge, call for an appointment. Try not to bite or chew food in that area until you come in.
Broken Dental Bridge or Denture: A broken dental appliance can be painful if it pokes the soft tissue of your mouth or creates stress on adjacent teeth. If `you are suffering from pain, call our number after hours and Dr. Vulugundam will return your call. If you are not in pain call as soon as possible during regular office hours. If there is a sharp edge, you can protect your cheek and tongue with paraffin wax, sugarless chewing gum, or folded moist gauze.
Crown Has Fallen Off: If a crown falls off, put the crown back on top of the tooth, and make an ASAP appointment to see one of our dentists. Do not use super glue! It will be loose so do not eat on that side of your mouth. You can use a little denture adhesive to hold it in place.
Soft Tissue Injury: If you have a lip laceration, severely bruised lip, or other soft tissue injury, you will be concerned about bleeding and swelling. To stop bleeding, apply moistened gauze or a tea bag. You may have to apply pressure for 20 minutes. To help relieve swelling, you can apply a cold compress or wrapped ice pack against your lip, cheek, or jaw. The recommended length of time for an ice pack is 5 to 10 minutes. If you have a lip laceration requiring stitches, you should go to your local emergency room right away.
Food, Dental Floss, or Other Item Stuck Between Your Teeth: Oftentimes using a toothpick or threading dental floss under an object and pulling up will remove it. If you feed a fresh string of dental floss under lodged piece of dental floss and pull up, it will usually come out. You should always have a dental floss threader, as well as floss, in your bathroom. If this does not work, call our office.
Toothache or Gum Infection: Call us if you have severe tooth pain of any kind or if you observe a gum infection. Dental abscesses are infections that can cause severe pain in the roots of a tooth and inflammation in the gum tissue surrounding a tooth. A dental abscess can damage surrounding teeth and gum tissue, and spread infection to other parts of the body. Always remember…the sooner a painful root or periodontal infection is treated, the less risk there is of developing of a severe abscess.
Intermittent Pain in a Tooth: If you have intermittent pain in a tooth when you eat or drink, particularly upon contact with cold or hot substances, the tooth root may be developing an infection or be damaged and in need of treatment. Demineralization of tooth enamel can lead to sensitivity and so can a sinus infection. Dr. Vulugundam will be able to assess the cause of your pain and recommend appropriate treatment.
Swollen Mouth: If your mouth becomes swollen, this may be caused by infection. Swelling will occur at the site of an injury. Swelling may occur in gum tissue as a is tooth erupting, especially a wisdom tooth (third molar). While waiting for examination and treatment, you may find temporary relief from swishing warm salt water. You can try applying cold compresses to the outside of your cheek.