Patient Education

Online Dental Education Library

Our team of dental specialists and staff strive to improve the overall health of our patients by focusing on preventing, diagnosing and treating conditions associated with your teeth and gums. Please use our dental library to learn more about dental problems and treatments available. If you have questions or need to schedule an appointment, contact us.

 Dental Emergencies

Frequently, the first New Patient visit is an emergency visit involving pain and discomfort.   We want to see you the same day you call.  We will take an Xray of the problem area, then Dr. Christian will examine you and determine what treatment is needed.  If it is possible to treat you immediately, we will do so.  If not, you will be reappointed for definitive treatment after your pain has been handled.

1. Cap/crown came off:
This can happen especially when biting into hard, sticky foods.  It is important to get the crown recemented as soon as possible to protect the tooth and prevent it from shifting.  Occasionally the crown came off because the underlying tooth fractured, in which case, additional treatment will be needed.

2. My jaw is swollen:
This is a sign of a Dental abscess, and at this point, the tooth either needs to be extracted or a root canal therapy if it can be restored.  Before any treatment, you must take antibiotics to get rid of the abscess and the pain.  The swelling is caused by bacterial products (pus, gas), which also cause the pain.  The antibiotic kills the bacteria,and the swelling and pain go away.  The presence of pus also prevents the anesthetic from working making for an unpleasant visit for both patient and doctor.  I prefer that patients take their antibiotics before attempting treatment.

3. My tooth is broken:
Sometimes a tooth can be broken or cracked, and only after eating something "soft' does the fragment come out.  The cause can be either trauma or decay.   Depending on the size and location of the fracture, the treatment can range from a simple filling to a crown, root canal or extraction.  Often, front teeth are broken while playing sports, hence the need for properly fitted custom biteguards.

4. Swollen gums:
Can be caused by either an abscessed tooth or the build up of material (calculus or food particles) under the gums.  An abscessed tooth is treated as in #2.  If it is gum related, the material has to be cleaned from the gums, in which case this is a gum abscess.

5.  Broken Denture:
The denture has to be left with us and sent to a Dental lab for repair.  If a tooth came off, sometimes we can replace it easily, especially if the patient has the tooth.  If the tooth was lost, then the denture has to be sent to the lab for a replacement.  In either situation, you will be without your denture for about a day.  After these incidents, I usually advise patients to get another set of dentures in case of such problems. 

6. Impacted Wisdom Teeth:
These third molars are usually fully erupted by the age of 16.  If they are impacted, they will be extremely uncomfortable while they try to erupt into the mouth, which they cannot do.  Our jaws seem to be getting smaller.  I believe these teeth should be extracted when patients are young, healthy and covered by their parent's insurance.  They won't get any better.

7. TMJ problems:
This manifests as aching tight jaws, sore teeth, headaches, and neck or shoulder pain.  The most common cause today is stress resulting in grinding and clenching teeth, especially at night.  We need to examine the musculature and source of the pain, before determining treatment.  Until then, ice and anti-inflammatories (eg Ibuprofen) help.

8. Tooth Knocked Out:
This can be extremely traumatic for both the patient and their parent.  Find the tooth, rinse off any dirt or debris, wrap it in a wet paper towel (glasss of milk is best), and get to your Dentist, or an ER with a Dentisit on call, e.g. Mountainside, St. Barnabas or UMDNJ ( the Dental school) Hospitals.