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Posts for tag: dental emergency

By Hillis Family Dental
March 18, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental emergency  

If you have ever damaged or knocked out a tooth, you probably remember the anxiety-ridden moment you realized what happened. dental emergencyHowever, having a solid idea of what you should do during a dental emergency can help you keep your cool and handle the situation with ease. Learn more about what to do during a dental emergency by reading below, and contact Dr. Amanda M. Hillis at Hillis Family Dental in St. Peters, MO, for personal treatment.


Dental Emergencies and How To Handle Them

  • Chipped Tooth: A chipped tooth is usually not considered a dental emergency since it affects the aesthetics of your tooth more than its functionality. However, if you chip a tooth and the chip reaches up to or underneath the gum line, you should see your dentist as soon as possible.
  • Broken Tooth: A tooth normally breaks due to either heavy decay or an injury. In either case, a broken tooth can result in tooth loss if left untreated. If you break a tooth, try to recover the broken pieces and take them with you to your dentist appointment. Broken teeth often require a dental crown to help stabilize and protect them from future injury.
  • Knocked Out Tooth: If a tooth becomes dislodged and falls out, you should take immediate action. Hold the teeth only by its crown and rinse it gently with water if necessary. Avoid scrubbing any tissue from the tooth’s roots. If possible, place the tooth back into its socket, stopping if you feel any discomfort or pain. Store the tooth in a container of milk if you can't put it back in its place and bring it with you to our St. Peters office as soon as possible.
  • Dental Abscess: A dental abscess is an infection of the tooth and its surrounding tissues. The abscess will look like a pimple or lump on the gums and may be very painful or uncomfortable. It is important to have your abscess seen by your dentist as soon as possible as the infection could spread to other parts of the body.
  • Toothache: A toothache is usually a good indication that you have a decayed tooth which requires a root canal. Avoid “waiting it out” and see our dentist as soon as possible.


For more information on dental emergencies, please contact Dr. Amanda M. Hillis at Hillis Family Dental in St. Peters, MO. Call (636) 970-7902 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Hillis today!

By Hillis Family Dental
June 20, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

Pain, sensitivity and tooth movement are common signs of a cracked tooth. However, some people with teeth fractured by accident, cracked toothexcessive decay, big fillings or dental abscess show absolutely no symptoms. Only your St. Peters, MO, dentist, Dr. Amanda Hillis, can tell for sure if your tooth has this common problem. Also, she has the expertise to repair fractured teeth so they stay in place and function for many additional years.

Cracked Tooth Syndrome

It's also called CTS, and it can happen suddenly, in a car accident for instance, or over time when multiple fillings, acid erosion or other enamel-thinning conditions weaken tooth structure. Unfortunately, if not diagnosed and treated promptly, a cracked tooth may need extraction and replacement with fixed bridgework, a partial denture or dental implant.

So, your St. Peters dentist advises her patients to be aware of what is happening in their mouths. Signs of a cracked tooth include:

  • Discoloration of tooth enamel
  • A sudden, sharp pain when biting down or when releasing pressure on a tooth (this is rebound pain)
  • Tooth mobility
  • Loss of tooth enamel or a filling
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures or sugar-laden foods (such as cake frosting or soda pop)

If you sustain a blow to the mouth, habitually clench or grind your teeth or observe any of the above signs, please contact Hillis Family Dental. Neglecting a cracked tooth often leads to decay, abscess or even tooth loss.

Treatments for a cracked tooth

To determine if you have a cracked tooth, Dr. Hillis will look at your tooth and take digital X-rays. Also, she will use a small handheld instrument called an explorer to detect any enamel defects or problems with crowns or fillings.

Depending on the damage, she may:

  • Remove old filling material and decay and place a tooth-colored filling
  • Repair minor damage with composite resin, a natural-looking blend of acrylic and glass that bonds directly to tooth structure
  • Cover and protect healthy tooth structure with a dental crown or porcelain veneer (for the front side only)
  • Perform root canal therapy to remove diseased soft pulp and cover the tooth with a crown
  • Extract the tooth if the fracture is too extensive to repair

Preventing cracks and other damage

The American Association of Endodontists says that both children and adults can avoid many instances of cracked teeth. Dr. Hillis agrees and advises her patients to:

  • Contact her office right away if you are experiencing any kind of oral discomfort
  • Brush twice daily and floss once a day as the American Dental Association recommends
  • Wear a customized night splint (mouth guard) if you grind your teeth
  • Get semi-annual check-ups and cleanings to remove damaging plaque and tartar and to spot problems before they become painful or complex to repair

Are You Worried about a Tooth?

If you suspect you have a cracked tooth or other oral health problem, please contact Hillis Family Dental in St. Peters, MO, for an appointment. Acting right away can save your precious tooth! Call (636) 970-7902.

By Hillis Family Dental
December 23, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: dental emergency  

Don’t ignore a true dental emergency. Seek treatment right away and know how to handle the situation.

A dental emergency often arises when you least expect it, which can elicit panic and horror on the sufferer. But before you lose your dental emergencyhead, it’s important that you know how to best handle a dental emergency if it happens to you. Our St. Peters, MO dentist, Dr. Amanda Hillis, offers up some tips for what you should do if this situation arises.

First and foremost, if you are dealing with any of the issues below you need to seek medical attention right away from our St. Peters emergency dentist:

  • Broken/cracked tooth
  • Dislodged tooth
  • Knocked-out tooth
  • Bitten cheek/tongue
  • Toothache
  • Lost dental work
  • Broken braces
  • An abscess

These are all serious dental issues that require immediate care in order to preserve the health of your smile. For many of these situations, time is critical and the sooner you come into our office for treatment the better. Of course, there are some things you can do, before you head to our office, to help ease any symptoms you may be having:

  • Try a commercial pain reliever: If you are experiencing pain and swelling you may want to take an OTC medication, like ibuprofen, which can target both symptoms temporarily. If anything, it can at least ease your symptoms until you make it into our office.
  • Ice away the pain: By applying a wrapped ice pack to the side of your face where the injury is, you can also reduce inflammation and pain. Wrap the ice pack in a towel before applying to the skin and hold it there for up to 10 minutes at a time.
  • Stop the bleeding: If you bite your tongue or cheek and it’s bleeding apply a clean towel or gauze to the area and apply pressure for about 10 to 15 minutes. If the bleeding doesn’t go down or if it actually gets worse, give us a call. We will advise you as to whether you should come into our office or head to your local emergency room.
  • Protect nearby gums and soft tissue: If a wire has sprung off your braces it may be likely to cut your gums or cheeks. To prevent an injury from happening, use the eraser end of a pencil and carefully try to push the wire back in. You can also apply orthodontic wax, which you can buy at your local drugstore, to the end of the pointy wire.
  • Handle teeth carefully: This is particularly important for a knocked-out tooth. Always handle a tooth by its crown and never its root, which can further damage it. If the tooth is fully knocked out, try and rinse it off with water and then place it back into the socket. If this doesn’t work, hold the tooth between your gum and cheek and head right into our office immediately so if we can save the tooth.

Don’t let a true dental emergency catch you off guard and, remember, you can rely on your emergency dental specialists at Hillis Family Dental in St. Peters, MO for the care you need.

By Hillis Family Dental
May 23, 2016
Category: Oral Health

For anyone else, having a tooth accidentally knocked out while practicing a dance routine would be a very big deal. But not for Dancing With The Stars contestant Noah Galloway. Galloway, an Iraq War veteran and a double amputee, took a kick to the face from his partner during a recent practice session, which knocked out a front tooth. As his horrified partner looked on, Galloway picked the missing tooth up from the floor, rinsed out his mouth, and quickly assessed his injury. “No big deal,” he told a cameraman capturing the scene.

Of course, not everyone would have the training — or the presence of mind — to do what Galloway did in that situation. But if you’re facing a serious dental trauma, such as a knocked out tooth, minutes count. Would you know what to do under those circumstances? Here’s a basic guide.

If a permanent tooth is completely knocked out of its socket, you need to act quickly. Once the injured person is stable, recover the tooth and gently clean it with water — but avoid grasping it by its roots! Next, if possible, place the tooth back in its socket in the jaw, making sure it is facing the correct way. Hold it in place with a damp cloth or gauze, and rush to the dental office, or to the emergency room if it’s after hours or if there appear to be other injuries.

If it isn’t possible to put the tooth back, you can place it between the cheek and gum, or in a plastic bag with the patient’s saliva, or in the special tooth-preserving liquid found in some first-aid kits. Either way, the sooner medical attention is received, the better the chances that the tooth can be saved.

When a tooth is loosened or displaced but not knocked out, you should receive dental attention within six hours of the accident. In the meantime, you can rinse the mouth with water and take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication (such as ibuprofen) to ease pain. A cold pack temporarily applied to the outside of the face can also help relieve discomfort.

When teeth are broken or chipped, you have up to 12 hours to get dental treatment. Follow the guidelines above for pain relief, but don’t forget to come in to the office even if the pain isn’t severe. Of course, if you experience bleeding that can’t be controlled after five minutes, dizziness, loss of consciousness or intense pain, seek emergency medical help right away.

And as for Noah Galloway:  In an interview a few days later, he showed off his new smile, with the temporary bridge his dentist provided… and he even continued to dance with the same partner!

If you would like more information about dental trauma, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Trauma & Nerve Damage to Teeth” and “The Field-Side Guide to Dental Injuries.”