Five Examples In Which a Dental Emergency is Also Cosmetic


Five Examples In Which a Dental Emergency is Also CosmeticApproximately 127.6 million Americans visited the dentist in 2017. This includes both regularly scheduled cosmetic dental treatments and emergency dental care. There are some cosmetic dental treatments that are not emergencies. For example, dental care to whiten teeth or reshape gums, while physically and psychologically important, typically do not require an emergency dentist. Other cosmetic dental treatments may be performed in the course of addressing an emergency. Here are examples of five dental emergencies that may require cosmetic dental treatments.

Chipped or Broken Tooth

Whether from a slip and fall in the bathroom, a workplace accident, or biting a rogue olive pit, a chipped or broken tooth can alter both the function and appearance of a tooth. After rendering any necessary first aid to stop bleeding of the face and mouth, emergency dentists recommend collecting any broken pieces of the tooth, applying ice to the face and mouth to reduce swelling, and scheduling a visit to the dentist to repair the tooth. Chipped or broken teeth are typically repaired with a filling, dental bonding, dental crown, or dental veneer. The chosen procedure will likely depend on the size of the remaining tooth and which tooth was chipped or broken. Dental crowns are cemented over the remaining piece of the tooth like a cap. Dental veneers are cemented to the surface of a tooth. In either case, the tooth regains its unchipped or unbroken appearance.

Lost Crown or Filling

A lost crown or filling can likewise occur due to trauma, such as biting something hard or being hit in the mouth. Again, after rendering any first aid to stop bleeding, the lost crown or filling should be collected and an appointment with a dentist should be scheduled. The emergency dentist will prepare the tooth to make sure there is enough natural tooth left for a filling or crown and re-fill or re-cap the tooth. In the event that there is not enough natural tooth for a filling or crown, the emergency dentist may extract the remaining tooth and prepare the socket for a dental implant. The dental implant is covered with a dental crown to replace the extracted tooth.

Lost Tooth

A lost tooth typically occurs due to trauma. When a tooth is knocked out, you should collect and, if possible, insert it into the socket in the gum where it originated. You should pack the area with gauze and hold the gauze in place by biting on it. This will hold the tooth in place and slow any bleeding. When the missing tooth has been broken, you should store the tooth pieces in milk. In either case, an emergency dentist should be seen immediately, since it is often possible to save the tooth if action is taken quickly.

Loose Tooth

For a tooth that has been knocked loose, but not out of the socket, first aid should be applied to stop any bleeding and ice should be applied to slow any swelling of the mouth and jaw. You should schedule a dental appointment to determine the condition of the tooth. Occasionally, the root of a loose tooth is damaged to the point that a root canal is necessary. A root canal is a procedure in which the nerve and pulp inside a tooth are removed and the empty root canal is filled with cement and sealed.


While not necessarily a cosmetic problem, abscesses can cause visible swelling to the jaw and face. By resolving the abscess, the swelling is relieved. An abscess is an infection in the teeth or gums. It is often characterized by pain in the teeth or gums, a pus-filled sac, and swelling of the surrounding tissue. An abscess is typically treated by draining the pus and performing a root canal. If the tooth cannot be saved, the tooth may be extracted. In either case, antibiotics are prescribed to combat the infection and reduce swelling.

In sum, many problems for which emergency dental care is needed also require cosmetic dental treatments. For example, an emergency dentist may be consulted for chipped or broken teeth, loose or missing teeth, lost crowns or fillings, and abscesses. Treatment of these issues not only restores function to teeth but can also restore their appearance.

Drew Rossell