Chipped Tooth? An Emergency Dentist Can Help! By Bruce Wilderman on September 29, 2021

Close up of mouth with chipped toothYou’re happily eating your dinner when suddenly, ouch! A chipped tooth. Chipped teeth are also common for athletes of any age, and for anyone who has sustained trauma to the face, by a car accident, fall, or other source. What do you do now? You can’t leave it that way—not only does it hurt, but the damage could worsen if you do nothing. You need this chipped tooth repaired fast, but do you need an emergency dentist now, or can this wait until tomorrow?

Artistic Expressions Dentistry serving Philadelphia, Bucks County, and Doylestown, PA, treats cases of chipped and broken teeth all the time. We are experts in restorative and cosmetic dentistry, and we put patient comfort first. If you think you might need an emergency dentist, read on for the signs that you should get care immediately.

When to Call an Emergency Dentist

Sometimes a chipped tooth hurts for a few minutes, then the pain subsides. If the chip is relatively small and pain doesn’t persist, you may only need cosmetic care—and that’s only if you want the tooth to look good. However, all chips should be seen by a dentist to determine whether only the enamel has been damaged or more significant structural damage has occurred.

If you’re not in any discomfort or the pain is manageable, you may be able to wait until the next day for a non-emergency visit. However, read on to see if there are emergency warning signs that indicate you need to seek an emergency dentist or medical professional now.

Warning Sign: You Have a Swollen Jaw

If you have swelling after chipping or cracking a tooth, bacteria may have spread into the pulp chamber of the tooth. Even if you’re not in discomfort, the swelling is a sign of an infection. If that’s the case, you may not feel pain now, but you’ll feel it eventually. If not treated, the infection could lead to pus in the affected area (a dental abscess), and it could even spread to other parts of the body.

Warning Sign: OTC Medications Do Not Relieve Discomfort

If your pain is acute and persistent despite taking over-the-counter pain medication, it doesn’t matter how much you feel like you can tough it out. You need professional care.

If you are taking OTC medications, be sure that you’re taking them correctly. Always take OTC capsules orally. Do not apply them directly to the gums. Some outdated, incorrect advice was to place an aspirin next to the tooth against the gums. Bad idea. The chemistry of aspirin is acidic, so it will burn and damage your gum tissue.

Warning Sign: You Have a Fever

Fevers below 103 F (39.4 C) aren’t generally considered cause for alarm in adults, but if you just chipped a tooth, your body could already be trying to fight off an infection. Get in touch with your emergency dentist as soon as possible.

Warning Sign: You Taste Metal

This is probably not a good sign. You may have cracked an amalgam filling, which means the pulp of your tooth could be exposed to bacteria. It’s imperative that you see an emergency dentist to replace the filling before infection develops. Moreover, recent studies like this one from the Journal of Medical Case Reports cite cracked or chipped metal dental amalgams as a potential cause of sudden, life-threatening fever.

Contact an Emergency Dentist

Artistic Expressions Dentistry is here to help whenever you need it. Call us at (215) 340-1199 or send us a message to schedule an appointment. If this is a dental emergency, visit our website for our on-call contact information.

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Artistic Expressions Dentistry

Dr. Bruce Wilderman has been providing comprehensive cosmetic dentistry services since 1986. By combining a true sense of artistry with state-of-the-art technology, he can provide stunning results. At Artistic Expressions Dentistry, we are proud to be affiliated with:

  • The American Dental Association
  • The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry

For more information about our services, contact our practice online or call (215) 340-1199 today.

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