You wake up with a swollen cheek, bite into an apple and break an incisor, your crown comes off, your molar is knocked out playing football, or you simply have a toothache. What should you do?

First, remember that most dental problems can be prevented. Good home care (brushing and flossing) and regular dental visits go a long way toward keeping your mouth healthy. Smart lifestyle choices do too – avoiding tobacco, alcohol, drugs, and eating a healthy diet.

Despite conscientious oral hygiene, problems with teeth and gums can occur. A good guideline is, if it is starting to hurt, call your dentist. The longer you wait, the bigger the problem, and the harder it is to fix it.

The Bristol Dental and Orthodontics team provides soothing emergency advice and treatment. Our “after hours” telephone line is answered 24/7; one of our staff will call you back. If you are experiencing a true emergency, you’ll be seen by a dentist right away.

One example of a dental emergency is when a cavity becomes large enough to invade the nerve at the center of the tooth. The nerve inflammation can flare up suddenly and painfully. If left untreated, infections can occur and can possibly turn into a life-threatening emergency. This tooth needs a root canal procedure. We’ll get you out of immediate pain and arrange for you to see our endodontic associate, a dentist who specializes in root canal treatment.

A broken tooth may not be as severe. Call Bristol Dental & Orthodontics for instructions, and protect the remaining tooth with dental wax. Don’t chew food in that area until the tooth is repaired.

A tooth may be lost – knocked out – from trauma such as an accident or a fall. If this happens, save the tooth but avoid touching the root. Place it in milk, and call your dentist immediately. Milk is the same pH as the human body. Placed in milk, the tooth has the best chance of remaining vital; we may be able to replace it with success. Do not put the tooth in water or saline!

Palliative dentistry involves getting relief for you quickly. We may recommend over-the-counter remedies or prescribe pain medication to keep you comfortable until your problem is resolved.