Pain is the main symptom that brings people to the dentist. A tooth may suddenly become sensitive to heat or cold. Chewing may cause a tooth to hurt. A filling may have fallen out, leaving behind a throbbing ache. Any injury to the teeth or gums is potentially serious. Apart from the fact that even minor dental emergencies can cause excruciating pain, there’s always a risk of damage to nerves or blood vessels and of infections, which can become life threatening. If you ignore dental pain, you’re taking a chance because delays in treatment may significantly increase the risk of permanent damage. And that could lead to the need for more extensive and expensive treatment later. At one time, there were few options for dental emergencies: The main solution was to remove damaged teeth. Now you can benefit from tremendous advances in pain management and restorative techniques. Teeth can be repaired with synthetic materials that are durable and cosmetically equal to the natural material. New imaging techniques make it easier for Dr Perry to identify the problems and Dr Perry can almost always reduce or eliminate pain within a few minutes.

When to call your dentist

If you’re not sure if a dental problem is an emergency, we offer this advice to you: If it hurts, it’s an emergency. This is because even injuries that appear superficial may affect the vital, living tissues inside the teeth. Quick treatment vastly improves the odds of saving the injured or damaged tooth or teeth. Even if you aren’t experiencing much pain, any structural damage to a tooth – from a sports injury, for example – should be considered an emergency. Chips or fractures can affect the living tissue inside the tooth, causing future problems. Dr Perry can prevent it from getting worse. The same is true of a lost filling or crown. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, the loss of the structural support makes additional damage likely. If you see you’re the dentist right away, there’s a good chance we will be able to repair the damage with a minimum of treatment. If you wait, the tooth may get progressively weaker, pieces may break off or the tooth may crumble, requiring a more extensive treatment.

Severe pain

Any traumatic injury to the gums or teeth can cause excruciating pain. In other cases, however, the underlying cause of severe pain is not obvious. Pain that comes on suddenly may be caused by particles of food that lodge in a cavity and irritate the nerve. If you lose a filling or a crown, you may feel severe pain when air or hot or cold substances hit the uncovered part of the tooth. Pain that slowly becomes more severe over a period of time is commonly caused by debris lodged under the gum. Popcorn is a common offender. Because the hard cellulose fibers of the kernel don’t break down, it can remain stuck between your gum and your tooth. The longer any substance irritates the tissue, the worse the pain gets. Should the area get infected, you could develop an infection called an abscess that can become a serious health problem if left untreated. Pain when you bite, especially if it is accompanied by a foul odor, can be a sign of an abscess that needs immediate treatment.

What you can do

First, call 631-654-0707 and make an appointment.

In the interim, here are a few steps you can take at home to try to relieve some of the pain: Take ibuprofen, aspirin or another over-the-counter analgesic. However, be aware that you need to seek dental care immediately. If you mask the pain with a painkiller and ignore it, the infection can spread and could become life threatening. If you can tell where the pain is coming from, brush the area or flood it with warm salt water, either by swishing it around your mouth or by using an irrigation device such as a water pick. If the pain is caused by debris lodged in a cavity, washing the area may relieve the problem. Floss your teeth, This may remove debris that’s lodged under the gum. Apply an ice pack to your cheek or jaw to relieve discomfort.

What we will do

Even when dental problems cause a lot of pain, the underlying problems and treatments often are relatively simple if you seek treatment right away. If you have a cavity, we will clean out any debris, remove the decayed tooth structure and place a filling. Once the inner part of the tooth is protected, the pain will usually disappear immediately. If your problem is related to debris under your gums, we will use special instruments to remove the debris. If you have an infection, you may be given a prescription for antibiotics.

An abscess in the tooth or gum may require more extensive treatment.