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Emergency Dentist – Cary, NC   

Urgent Help When Your Smile Needs It Most

Dental emergencies are often sudden and scary. If you or a loved one is experiencing a severe injury or considerable pain, stay calm and don’t hesitate to contact our office. Dr. Darren Koch and his skilled team provide helpful information and support over the phone and, when possible, we see emergency cases the same day so that patients get the relief they need quickly. With nearly 20 years of experience, state-of-the-art equipment, and a gentle touch, you can rest assured that you'll get outstanding care. If you're ever in need of an emergency dentist in Cary, NC, contact us anytime.

How To Handle Common Dental Emergencies

Model of a tooth next to a first-aid kit

There are two main types of dental emergencies, both of which Dr. Koch can treat: ongoing dental problems such as a toothache that suddenly become painful and unexpected accidents and injuries. In either case, your first step is to call our office to schedule an appointment. In the meantime, you can use the following first-aid tips for immediate relief.

Toothache or Swelling

If you develop a toothache or notice any swelling of your gums, cheek or lip, you may have a serious infection. If you can't make it to our office within a few hours, go to a nearby hospital or urgent care center where they can prescribe antibiotics if necessary. For pain, swish with lukewarm saltwater, apply a cold compress, and take over-the-counter pain medication.

Remember that, even if the pain goes away, the infection still needs to be treated. Depending on the situation, Dr. Koch may recommend antibiotics, a dental filling, crown, root canal, or a combination of these treatments.

Chipped or Broken Teeth

Chips can range from minor to severe and may or may not be painful. If you are in pain, apply a cold compress to the outside of your lip or cheek and use a topical analgesic and/or over-the-counter pain reliever. Avoid chewing on the side with the broken tooth and cover any sharp edges with orthodontic wax from the store. Treatment for mild chips may include smoothing the rough edge or placing a tooth-colored filling. For more severe chips, Dr. Koch may recommend a dental crown or extraction.

Knocked-Out Tooth

We'll have the best chance of saving a knocked-out tooth if you can be seen within an hour, so be sure to call us immediately (or go to a hospital or urgent care center if you can't see us within that time).

For immediate care, pick up the tooth by the crown, not the root, and gently rinse it off. You can try putting it back in its socket (facing the right way). If that's not possible, put it in a glass of milk or, as a last resort, hold it in your cheek pouch. Place a clean cloth or gauze over the area with gentle pressure to slow any bleeding until your visit.

Lost Filling or Dental Crown

If you've lost a filling and have any sharp edges, cover them with dental wax from the store. If a temporary or permanent dental crown has come off, place a small amount of dental cement, denture adhesive, or toothpaste in it and put it back on your tooth until your appointment (using any other type of glue can cause more harm than good). Finally, be sure to chew on the opposite side until it's repaired.

How To Prevent Dental Emergencies

Computer image of a highlighted toothache

While not all dental emergencies can be avoided, there are some tips patients can use to decrease their chances of experiencing one. These include:

The Cost of Treating Dental Emergencies

Someone holding a knocked out tooth

The cost of treating a dental emergency will depend on what type of treatment is needed to restore your smile. After examining your teeth, Dr. Koch will discuss your treatment options and the associated costs to help you make the best decision for your needs. We'll also help you understand your insurance benefits or discuss financing options as necessary.

Dental Emergency FAQs

Frowning woman touching her cheek

We sincerely hope that you never experience a dental emergency. But, despite our best efforts at preventing them, emergencies still happen. However, rest assured that Dr. Koch and our team have a caring chairside manner and many years of experience handling every type of emergency situation. You can bet that we'll get you out of pain quickly and protect your smile at the same time. Keep reading for answers to several common FAQs and don't hesitate to contact us if you're ever faced with a dental emergency. We're always just a phone call away!

How Do I Know I'm Having a Dental Emergency?

If you're in pain, it may be hard to know if you're having a true emergency or not. Here are several signs that you should seek immediate care: 

How Do I Remove an Object That's Stuck In My Mouth or Teeth?

First, rinse your mouth out vigorously with water, as sometimes that alone can dislodge a stuck object. From there, take a piece of waxed dental floss and use firm but gentle pressure to work it between your teeth. If you have a floss threader, that may be helpful to position the floss below the object and loosen it from underneath.

Avoid the temptation to use anything sharp or pointed! That can do more harm than good and may result in an oral cut or laceration. If all else fails, give us a call to schedule a visit so Dr. Koch can take a look.

How Long Does a Toothache Last?

Generally speaking, a toothache will last indefinitely until you address the source of the pain. In some cases, it may be sensitivity from gum recession that's exposed the sensitive root surfaces of your teeth. In this situation, sensitivity toothpaste or extra topical fluoride may take care of it. 

But if you have a cavity, even a small one, you'll feel more pronounced cold, hot or pressure sensitivity (or the tooth may hurt on its own). Without treatment, these types of toothaches will only get worse with time and lead to more pain and damage to your tooth.

If you have any type of toothache, give us a call right away to schedule an appointment. After Dr. Koch has examined your teeth, he can pinpoint the cause of the problem and proceed from there.

What Should I Do About a Chipped Tooth?

Begin by rinsing with lukewarm water. If you only have a minor chip, it will probably be fairly painless. But, if necessary, you can cover a sharp edge with dental wax from the store until you can come in to have it looked at. If you have a more severe chip that's causing discomfort, take over-the-counter pain medication such as Ibuprofen. Give us a call right away to schedule an appointment and avoid hard or crunchy foods and extreme temperatures until your visit.

After doing an exam, Dr. Koch will recommend the best treatment for you, depending on the severity of your chipped tooth. That could be smoothing the edge of the tooth, repairing it with a tooth-colored filling, or using a veneer or dental crown to replace missing tooth structure. 

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