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Online Dental Education Library

This section of our Web site will provide our patients with information they can use before and after their treatment. Right now, if you have a dental emergency or oral concern, review our suggestions and then call us at 908-874-4555. After hours emergency phone numbers are available on our phone system.

When Dental Emergencies and other oral problems occur...
Smiling, kissing, and eating... These are some of the wonderful things for which we need our mouths and teeth! Of course, keeping our mouths and teeth clean and healthy is a major concern, but emergencies can arise. Here are some first aid tips to use before you can get some relief from your DENTIST!

TOOTHACHE HELP
Hopefully this won't ever happen to you, but if it does follow these tips:

  1. Call your dentist as soon as possible for an appointment.
  2. Apply oil of cloves to the affected tooth. You can ask you pharmacist for this.
  3. Apply ice to the affected area.
  4. Take aspirin or an aspirin substitute to ease the pain.

The best treatment is to let your dentist help you right away. Teeth don't heal themselves. Sometimes a person will have a toothache for 2-3 days and it will "go-away". Don't be fooled! The problem is still there. Remember seeing your dentist early can prevent pain, expense and maybe tooth loss!

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LOST FILLING?
See your dentist as soon as you can. Why? The soft inner part of the tooth exposed when a filling is lost can decay quickly! If you can't see a dentist right away, be sure to keep the tooth super clean. If pain should develop, try some aspirin or an aspirin substitute until you see your dentist.

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OOPS - A BROKEN TOOTH!
Most often, a broken tooth is a result of a blow to the face or from chomping on especially hard foods. If you happen to break a tooth, don't panic! See a dentist as soon as possible and if the tooth hurts, take some aspirin or an aspirin substitute. Hot or cold foods and drinks can aggravate the tooth so do avoid them. A broken tooth can be scary and even embarrassing! Get to a dentist quickly.


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WHAT'S CAUSING THE SWELLING?
Swelling can mean many things. Usually, it means a nasty infection. Immediate professional attention is very important. Call your dentist right away!


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OUCH - A DENTURE SORE SPOT!
Your dentist can usually relieve the cause of irritation quite easily. Adjustments after fitting dentures are very common! Until then, a little Ora-base applied to the spot will serve as a bandage if the area is really sore. If your dentures are old and loose, for your sake, don't try to reline them yourself or use denture adhesives. This can make matters worse, so see your dentist for any denture problem!


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OH NO, YOUR CROWN (OR BRIDGE) FELL OFF!
First, check the crown or bridge to see if it's in one piece. If it is, place a thin coat of petroleum jelly inside the crown or bridge. Then, carefully press it back in place. It is important to keep the teeth in their proper position by replacing the crown or bridge immediately. Do not chew on the replaced crown or bridges as it may come off again. This is only a temporary solution. Be sure to call your dentist as soon as you can to have the crown or bridge examined and re-cemented.


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DO YOU HAVE PAIN AROUND YOUR JAW JOINT?
This pain is often related to your teeth. If you are bothered by jaw joint pain, try these temporary solutions:

  1. Eat soft foods.
  2. Use warm, moist towels over the joint area.
  3. Take aspirin or an aspirin substitute for pain.
  4. Avoid talking, chewing and clenching as much as possible!

Be sure to call your dentist for attention. This type of pain requires treatment, which should not be delayed. These symptoms can worsen.


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BROKEN ORTHODONTIC APPLIANCE?
If this should happen to you, place a ball of wax over the broken and/or jagged wires to prevent stabbing the inside of your mouth. Your pharmacist often has this type of wax for these types of emergencies. Call you orthodontist for immediate assistance.


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COLD SORES BOTHERING YOU?
Cold sores are symptoms of a virus and can be awfully painful. As with any virus, these sores run their course in about 7 to 10 days. If these sores appear on or about your lips, keep them moist with some petroleum jelly. Your dentist will be able to help with a new prescription drug especially for these sores. If the sores aren't gone within 7 to 10 days, or worsen, call your dentist!


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HELP FOR TEETHING PAIN
Teething can be a difficult time for babies and mommies! If your child seems to be uncomfortable, apply some Ora-jel to the area where the tooth is erupting. This gel is pleasantly flavored and can be applied directly to the problem area. Time cures this problem, so be patient!


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HELP - MY TOOTH GOT KNOCKED OUT!
First, find the tooth. Immediately after, call your dentist. Then wrap the tooth in clean wet gauze. It's important not to clean the tooth. Cleaning can damage the attachments on the tooth. Success is greatest if you see your dentist within thirty minutes after the accident. The longer you wait, the less possibility of success! Get to your dentist quickly!


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Dental implants vs bridgework.

If you're missing a tooth, you're in good company: Some 70% of the U.S. population is also missing at least one, usually a back tooth (molar). Adult teeth are often lost due to decay, gum disease, failed root canal therapy, or fracture — particularly if they have already been heavily restored with fillings or crowns. When it comes to replacing a lost tooth (or even two or three adjacent teeth) there are generally two treatment options available: the old standby, fixed bridgework; or the modern, high-tech solution, dental implants.

While either one can offer an aesthetically pleasing and functional replacement, there are some important differences between the two methods of treatment. To help you decide which one is right for you, let's take a closer look at each technology.

A Bit of Dental History

Although an early type of dental bridge was used by the Etruscans around 700 BC, the modern bridge (also called a fixed partial denture) first became available in the early 20th century. The part which replaces missing teeth, called a “pontic” (French for bridge), is fixed in place by attachment to adjacent, healthy teeth, called “abutments.” The pontic is made to resemble a row of natural teeth joined together; how many teeth it will consist of depends on how many are missing.

For example, if just one tooth is gone, a three-unit fixed bridge will be needed. This consists of a replacement for the missing tooth (the pontic), plus a crown for each of the two teeth adjacent to the gap. If more teeth are missing, more units would be required in the bridge. A seven-unit bridge might be needed for three missing teeth; this would consist of three replacement teeth, plus four crowned abutment teeth — two on each side of the gap — to handle the extra stresses.

Caution: Failing Bridge

The crowns fit over the tops of the abutment teeth, which must be prepared (re-shaped by the removal of tooth structure) to receive them — and therein lies a problem. In order to securely attach the crowns, the enamel (and some dentin) must be removed from the abutment teeth. This renders these otherwise healthy teeth more susceptible to decay; it may also necessitate root canal treatment. Additionally, if existing crowns are present, they will have to be removed and redone.

The potential problems don't end when a bridge is in place. Because of the way bridgework “sits” below the gums, there is an increased potential for gum disease in the area. Plus, because a bridge requires that two teeth do the work of three (or more), the forces at work in the mouth generally cause the system to fail over time. Ten years is considered a good lifespan for a well-cared-for bridge.

The Modern Standard: Dental Implants

Beginning in the late 1970s, dental implants became available in the United States. This remarkable system for tooth replacement relies on the osteophilic (bone-loving) properties of titanium, the metal from which the below-gum part of the implant tooth is made. Placed directly into the bone of the jaw, an implant fuses with the living bone tissue, making it sturdy and long-lasting. The lifelike crown on top makes it virtually indistinguishable from the natural teeth.

If you have one missing tooth, you need just one implant — healthy adjacent teeth aren't affected. A greater number of lost teeth can often be replaced by a smaller number of implants, with no need to compromise the teeth nearby. Plus, while the chance of tooth decay is eliminated, the potential for gum disease isn't increased. In fact, with normal brushing and flossing, a dental implant can last a lifetime.

Implants generally cost more than bridgework initially — but they have been shown to be the most cost-effective long-term option. They also have other advantages, including one that no other tooth replacement system offers: the ability to stop the loss of bone, which invariably occurs after tooth loss. So when you're weighing your tooth-replacement options, it pays to consider the long-term value of dental implants.

Related Articles

Dental Implants - Dear Doctor Magazine

Dental Implants – Your Best Option For Replacing Teeth Dental implants have many advantages over older methods of tooth replacement like bridges and dentures — from the way they function and feel to the way they look and last. Vigorous research has documented and confirmed that in the right situations, dental implant success rates are over 95%. It is no exaggeration to say that they have revolutionized dentistry. They may even change your life... Read Article

Losing Teeth - Dear Doctor Magazine

The Hidden Consequences of Losing Teeth For those missing even one tooth, an unsightly gap is actually the least significant problem. What's of far greater concern is the bone loss that inevitably follows tooth loss. Dental implants can preserve bone, improve function and enhance psychological well-being. Learn how implants serve both as anchors to support replacement teeth and preserve bone... Read Article


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Towne Centre Family Dental and the Implant & Smile Makeover Studio

908-874-4555
419 US-206 Hillsborough Township, NJ 08844