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Louisville Emergency Dentist

Young woman in pain holding cheekNo matter how careful you are, emergencies can happen at any time. Despite this, you can take solace in the fact that if you experience one, you can simply call 911 and someone will take care of you. However, if this emergency concerns your teeth and gums, calling 911 isn’t the best thing for you to do. Dr. Patrick Carroll and Dr. Deborah Shoemaker are specially trained to handle dental emergency situations, so when you need dental care fast, they’re the doctors you can trust. Hopefully you never have to deal with a dental emergency, but if you do, you now have a plan, and that is to call Exceptional Dentistry. We’ll always be there for you when you really need us!

When you’ve injured or broken your teeth, your first call should always be to Exceptional Dentistry. Our office has the personnel, the training, and the equipment needed to perform urgent dental care, which are things you simply won’t find in most emergency rooms/clinics. Often, these places will just send you to a dental practice anyway!

If you or a loved one has a dental emergency, be sure to call us first. This will enable our team to make an appointment to see you as soon as possible (even the same day!) and walk you through basic first-aid over the phone. Once you’ve made it here, you won’t wait, we’ll bring you to a treatment room immediately. Most of the time, we can complete emergency procedures in just one visit, but if we can’t, we’ll be sure to relieve your pain and schedule any follow-up visits necessary.

Woman holding cold compress to her cheek

When Should I Call My Emergency Dentist?

In these situations, be sure to stop whatever you’re doing and call us immediately for treatment:

  • Knocked out tooth
  • Partially dislodged tooth
  • Cracked, chipped, or broken tooth
  • Lost or damaged dental work (fillings, crowns, bridges, dentures)
  • Severe toothache
  • Large object stuck between the teeth
  • Injury to the gums or jaw
  • Swelling or pain in the face

Man receiving dental care

What to Do for a Knocked Out Tooth

If you’ve lost a tooth, carefully collect the knocked out pieces. Make sure to handle the tooth by the biting surfaces and not the more fragile root structure. Clean off the knocked out tooth or dental restoration and the area where the tooth was located using cool water. Do not rub, scrub, or use oral hygiene products to clean the tooth or the site of the knocked out tooth. Whenever possible, replace a knocked out tooth in the socket where it belongs. If you’re unable to replace the tooth, store it in milk or water to protect the tooth until you reach our office. If only part of your tooth is broken or knocked out, make sure to retrieve any pieces of the tooth. Avoid eating food if possible until you each our office. If you need to eat before you can get in to see our team, choose softer foods and chew with the non-injured part of your mouth.

Man in dental chair giving thumbs up

Handling a Broken Dental Restoration

If you have a broken or knocked out dental restoration, you can follow some of the same tips you’ll use with a broken or knocked out tooth. Clean off any knocked out parts of the restoration, and if the entire restoration is knocked out, you may be able to replace it using denture adhesive to hold the restoration in place until you reach our office. Bring any pieces of the dental restoration you can retrieve with you to our office. We may be able to use these broken parts to expedite the repair process. If sharp pieces of the tooth or restoration are protruding, you may want to cover them with orthodontic wax to protect soft tissue.

Man holding his jaw in pain

Removing Objects Stuck Between Teeth

If you have food or a foreign object stuck between teeth, don’t use sharp objects to try to remove the item. Begin by swishing water around the tooth with the stuck object. If this doesn’t dislodge the item, try using dental floss to remove the stuck object. If the object remains in place, wait for our team to help you. If you attempt to remove the object on your own, you may unintentionally damage your teeth or soft tissues.

Woman in dental chair talking to dentist

Slowing Mouth Laceration Blood Flow

If you have a soft tissue laceration, your first step should be to stop any bleeding. Begin by cleaning the area gently with cool water. Then, use clean cloth or sterile gauze to apply pressure on the damaged area. If bleeding continues for ten or more minutes even while you maintain pressure, you may want to try applying a cold compress to the damaged area. Cold will slow bleeding as well as relieving pain and preventing inflammation.


Woman holding cheek to indicate tooth pain


Relieving Tooth Pain

If you’re experiencing toothache and you’re unable to reach our office, there are several steps you can take at home to relieve pain. Take over the counter pain medications as directed for discomfort, but don’t place aspirin onto the damaged tooth as this can injure the surrounding soft tissue. Use a cold compress to reduce inflammation, swelling, bleeding, and discomfort. You can also use benzocaine and other topical pain relievers applied directly to an area with a toothache or discomfort. However, we recommend you talk to a member of our team first to avoid unintentionally causing further damage.

Model of a tooth next to a first-aid kit

Dental Emergency FAQ’s

Dental emergencies aren’t something that most people deal with very often, so having additional questions is understandable. Dr. Carroll and Dr. Shoemaker have many years of experience providing emergency dentistry in Louisville and have put together answers to the most common FAQ’s they hear below. But don’t hesitate to contact us if you’re unsure about anything else. We’re always just a phone call away!

Can I Wait To Get Emergency Treatment?

In nearly every kind of emergency, you’re putting yourself at risk of further pain, damage, and other complications by waiting to come in. One exception might be a chipped or broken tooth that isn’t accompanied by pain. However, even in this situation, your tooth is weaker and more susceptible to breaking again, which could lead to an extraction, so it’s best to be treated as soon as possible.

What If I Have an Emergency Over the Weekend?

Emergencies can strike at any time, but no matter when you find yourself in need of care, start by giving us a call. Our voicemail gives you an option for reaching both Dr. Carroll and Dr. Shoemaker outside of office hours.

If you feel that you can wait until the next business day or you simply have a question, leave us a message. Our front office staff always checks voicemail first thing in the morning and will get back to you right away.

How Do I Know If I’m Truly Having an Emergency?

Sometimes, it’s hard to know if you really need immediate care or not. Here are several indications that you’re having a true emergency:

  • Cuts that cause moderate to heavy bleeding
  • A knocked-out tooth
  • Pain that keeps you from sleeping, eating, or going to work
  • If you have facial swelling or a pimple-like bump on your gums, you may have an infection that needs to be addressed as soon as possible
  • A broken tooth or filling (again, if there’s no pain, you may be able to wait a day or two)

When Should I Go To the Hospital?

As an emergency dentist in Louisville, we can treat you in most scenarios but there are certain injuries that require medical attention first. In these cases, go to the nearest urgent care center or hospital and then call us soon after for any dental work that needs to be done: 

  • A broken jaw
  • You have facial swelling or a severe toothache and you can’t make it to our office within a few hours
  • Bleeding that won’t stop after applying pressure for 15 minutes
  • Large cuts or lacerations that may need stitches
  • If you’ve knocked out a tooth and can’t see us within an hour

My Toothache Went Away. Do I Still Need To Come In?

Yes. When a tooth’s nerve becomes infected from a large cavity, it results in a toothache. In some cases, the nerve dies before you can come in and the pain subsides. Many people think the problem has taken care of itself, but the infection is still there and can spread to other areas of the body and become dangerous if it’s not treated.