One trip to the emergency dentist and all I got was a perforated sinus!

A couple of weekends ago I woke up with a terrible pain on the upper left side of my mouth. My regular dentist was closed, so my only option was an emergency dentist, so I called immediately. My teeth are in pretty bad shape so it was hard for him to determine between two of my molars which one was causing the problem. He said it would be best to just pull both teeth. I’m an anxious patient to begin with, so the uexpected news really had me freaked out. However, with the help of some nitrous, I was able to relax and get the teeth taken out. A couple of days after the extraction, I started having weird little pops on the left side of my nose. I took a decongestant and called the dentist office, only they didn’t seem too concerned. Then it turned into a fever so the office prescribed antibiotics. Things went down hill from there — the pain was back, along with a disgusting taste in my mouth. When I reported these symptoms to the office, they finally told me that my sinus was likely perforated when I had the teeth taken out. They got me in for an exam and dentist removed several pieces of bone and gave me more antibiotics. I thought I would start feeling better, but it’s been two weeks and I am miserable. There’s a discharge coming out of the sockets where my teeth were pulled and also from my nose on occasion. I’m done with this dentist – he doesn’t seem to care that things went seriously wrong...

Canker sore makes me want to cry… can a emergency dentist help?

I have always been prone to canker sores. I typically can power through them, but this one is really bad – so much so that I can hardly talk or eat. It’s bigger than most I have had in the past and boy, is it red. It’s also raised and has white on top of it. I am miserable. Would an emergency dentist be able to help me get rid of it? I also wondered about going to see my medical doctor. Maybe I’m just being a baby and should suck it up and just wait for it to heal on its own. Any advice? — Maggie   Maggie, You may be jumping the gun when considering an emergency dentist. You haven’t mentioned what home treatments you’ve tried, but there are several that really help. If you can manage the pain, it should clear up in about 10-14 days. If you’ve already tried an oral anesthetic from the dental aisle of your local grocery or drug store, you might pick up one of the products that is made to cover and protect the sore. Look for either a tube or little gel-like pads that adhere to the tissue. They may be a little uncomfortable or hard to keep in place, but they are great for helping with temperature changes – especially when it comes to eating a meal. If you think it looks like it may be infected topical antiseptic is in order. The patches often have medication in them, or you can rinse with a mixture of half hydrogen peroxide and half water. Listerine has also been found...

It’s hard to be “king” when my crown is all wrong!

Of course I had a terrible toothache while my dentist was out of town. I scoured the yellow pages for an emergency dentist and made an appointment. Overall, the experience was ok and at least my tooth doesn’t hurt anymore. He ended up doing a crown, but the problem is that it doesn’t match the rest of my teeth. Even though it’s not right in the front, it’s still visible when I smile or laugh – and it just makes me feel self-conscience. I don’t want to seem like I’m being picky, but do you think I can go back and ask him to fix the color? — Simon   Simon, Because emergency dentists are mostly focused on emergencies, flexible hours and getting people out of pain as quickly as possible, there’s often a wide variance in their skill – especially if your particular situation requires cosmetic procedures. Unfortunately, the only way to get the color right would be to re-do the crown. I’m sure the dentist you saw wants nothing more than for you to be satisfied with his work, but it just may be a matter of him lacking the skills to give you exactly what you need. Definitely call the office and let them know your concerns and see if they will be willing to fix it. If you have any doubts that they can make it right, you’d be better off going back to your regular dentist if he does crowns better or possibly seek out a cosmetic dentist in your area who can help. If it bothers you now, it’s likely you’ll be more...

Wisdom tooth trouble… is it an emergency?

I think my boyfriend needs to see an emergency dentist. He has been complaining about his wisdom teeth all weekend long and he won’t even eat because of them. I tried to get him to book an appointment with the emergency dentist, but he says they just get like that sometimes. He let me look at them and I can’t really see the tooth on the back right, but the gums are swollen up around it. He swears that’s normal, that the tooth just hasn’t come out all the way yet. Is this normal or should I keep pushing him to get checked out by the emergency dentist? By the way, he’s 23. I’m not sure if that’s relevant, but I had my wisdom teeth out when I was 18 and it seems weird to me that he hasn’t had it done yet.  — Therese   Therese, No two people are alike in terms of development. There are some who have wisdom teeth that emerge later in life, and some who never even need to have them taken out. What really matters is how they come in and how much space is available for them. Wisdom teeth can be problematic because there generally isn’t a lot of room for them. They push the other teeth out of the way and by shifting everything, it becomes difficult to clean between all the teeth. It’s also very hard to keep wisdom teeth clean, especially when they’re still partially covered by the gums. Sometimes, the gums will lift up just enough to allow food and bacteria in and it becomes trapped. This...

What’s a neurologist have to do with fixing my aching tooth?

I had a horrible toothache about a month ago and I went to the emergency dentist. He told me that my tooth was dying and that it needed a root canal. He did the treatment and I expected the pain to go away, but it never did. I went back to see him yesterday and he did an exam and x-rays and told me the tooth was fine. Worse yet, I think he suggested that the pain was in my head because he said that I should go see a neurologist. This is nuts. My tooth hurts. Is there really anything a neurologist can do or was the emergency dentist just trying to get me out of his office? — Sheila Dear Sheila, Though it sounds like the emergency dentist may have been missing some chairside manner, he wasn’t pulling your leg, and he wasn’t necessarily telling you that the pain was in your head either. A referral to a neurologist is not as strange as it may sound. In fact, a neurologist can investigate whether nerve damage is causing your pain. Though it doesn’t happen every day, it can and it sometimes feels just like a toothache. There are also other causes for pain, such as sinus pressure or sinus infections. The roots of your teeth reach up quite far, so trouble of almost any kind with your sinus cavities can feel like a toothache, too. If this is the case, you’ll probably have other cold or allergy symptoms as well, and taking a decongestant and/or antibiotic will help. You’ll need to see your primary care physician for...

What do you do if a tooth gets knocked out?

A few weeks ago at our friend’s house, our older boys were riding bikes and one of the boys had an accident and flipped over the handlebars and knocked his tooth out. Needless to say, the day ended quickly and they were off to the dentist almost immediately. It was quite traumatic and made me realized I would have no idea what to do if that happened to one of my kids. What steps should be taken if a tooth is knocked out? — Erin Erin, Ask any dentist and they could probably tell you they have seen lots of patients come in with a knocked out tooth. Unfortunately, it seems to be a common dental emergency visit. For a young child who knocks out a baby tooth, while it can be traumatic, most of the time they can stick the tooth under their pillow and wait for a visit from the tooth fairy. However, if it’s a permanent tooth, it’s a more urgent situation and there are specific steps that need to be taken. And while it may not a life or death situation for you, it more or less is for your tooth so you need to act quickly. First, find the tooth and get it in a moist environment (either wrap it in a damp paper towel or put it in a cup of milk) and then call your dentist. He or she may even suggest you try and put the tooth back in the socket until you can get to the office. A lot of people are really uncomfortable with that, but the main point...