It can happen in the blink of an eye — suddenly, your busy routine is disrupted by a fractured tooth or severe pain in the back of the mouth. In these instances, fast relief is understandably a priority, and the Soldotna Dental Arts team is here to help without delay. The skilled emergency dentist in Soldotna, AK, Dr. Christensen, strives to accommodate emergencies as soon as possible for new and current dental patients alike, relieving discomfort and recommending restorative dentistry solutions as needed to preserve and revitalize oral health. Don’t wait — if you’re in the greater Kenai Peninsula area, contact us today!
Why Choose Soldotna Dental Arts for Emergency Dentistry?
Same-Day Appointments Available for Emergency Patients
Sedation Dentistry Available for Optimal Comfort
Experienced & Compassionate Dental Team
What to Do In a Dental Emergency
Dental injuries, accidents, and emergencies tend to happen without warning, resulting in soft tissue injuries, fractured teeth, partially dislodged teeth, and even teeth that have been fully knocked out. Other dental emergencies like severe toothaches may develop slowly over time until they become too painful or distracting to ignore. In either case, time is often of the essence in these frightening situations, so it’s important to stay calm and pick up the phone immediately. From there, here’s what to do:
Schedule a same-day emergency appointment: When it comes to treating your dental emergency fast, you can count on Soldotna Dental Arts. We’ll do everything we can to see you the same day as your dental emergency, and we’ll provide first-aid instructions over the phone.
Get an emergency exam with Dr. Christensen: As soon as you arrive, Dr. Christensen will see you for an emergency exam. He’ll focus on getting you out of pain while learning more about the source and extent of your emergency.
Review the findings and make a plan: Afterwards, Dr. Christensen will review his findings with you and fully explain all your treatment options. Together, you’ll formulate a treatment plan to get your oral health back on track.
Get the care you need right away: Once a treatment plan has been made, our talented team will get to work right away. No matter what treatment you need, we’ll always focus on your comfort and health. For particularly nervous or uncomfortable patients, we may recommend sedation dentistry to help you relax while we care for your smile.
Unparalleled Experience & Qualifications
At Soldotna Dental Arts, our patients will always come first. Dr. Christensen has undergone extensive specialty training at the Las Vegas Institute, which enables him to handle a wide variety of common emergencies with confidence, precision, and exceptional success. Better yet, he makes time in his schedule for these dire cases as soon as possible instead of leaving patients waiting days or even weeks without the relief they desperately need. On the contrary, we strive to get your daily routine back on track without delay.
The Most Common Dental Emergencies
Some patients are hesitant to visit their emergency dentist because they don’t want to make a big ordeal over a small problem that might go away on its own. Unfortunately, waiting to handle the situation often only makes it worse. So, if you’re worried about whether your problem is a true dental emergency, you can contact our dental office. Here are some signs that your situation is urgent:
With so many potential causes of your toothache to consider, it’s very important that you don’t assume it will get better on its own. This is particularly the case if your pain does not go away, you notice pimple-like bumps on your gum tissue near the tooth, you have a fever, or you notice swelling or redness in your gums. These are all signs of a dental emergency.
How you should handle a toothache:
Take painkillers ahead of your appointment with our dental office, such as ibuprofen. You should also avoid trying to pop any pimple-like bumps on your gums if they have developed. This can both irritate your gums and increase the risk of infection.
How we treat toothaches:
We’ll need to perform a detailed exam of your mouth to better understand what may be causing your tooth pain. The treatment we perform will directly reflect the problem at hand. For example, tooth decay would require a dental filling or crown, while an infection would need antibiotics and potentially root canal therapy to address. Severe damage to a tooth experiencing pain may need an extraction if it cannot be salvaged.
When a tooth is chipped, it typically is not considered a dental emergency. However, chipped teeth can easily become more damaged over time, which is why you should still call our dental office the moment it occurs. The chip can also leave the tooth more vulnerable to decay and infection.
How you should handle a chipped tooth:
Collect any pieces of your tooth that you can and bring them with you to our dental office. Use a cold compress to reduce any swelling of your cheek and take ibuprofen to manage any discomfort. Do not chew any hard foods as this can cause the chipped tooth to break more.
How we treat chipped teeth:
Most of the time, chipped teeth are easily restored with tooth-colored composite resin. However, if the chip occurred in a visible tooth, such as the one in your smile, you may want to opt for a veneer instead. This restoration is ultra-thin and designed to blend in exactly with your adjacent teeth.
More often than not, minor damage to teeth is not necessarily urgent. That means it can be addressed at the next earliest business day, rather than immediately. However, severe cracks, or cracks that extend past the gumline, are considered emergencies that should be addressed right away, especially if you notice pain or sensitivity that doesn’t get better. Some cracks can be so small they aren’t visible with the naked eye, so call our dental office just to be safe.
How you should handle a cracked tooth:
Do your best to avoid chewing with the cracked tooth and stick to soft foods in the meantime. Avoid foods that are very hot or cold to reduce the risk of sensitivity. Take painkillers and apply a cold compress to your cheek in 10-minute intervals for up to one hour to reduce swelling.
How we treat cracked teeth:
When damage is minimal, direct bonding is generally enough to address it in the long term. If your tooth is more severely cracked, a dental crown may be needed to prevent it from cracking any further.
Being sensitive to hot and cold substances may or may not be a dental emergency in that it usually doesn’t need to be treated immediately. Sometimes, it is just a small annoyance; however, depending on the severity of your sensitivity, you may wish to have Dr. Christensen examine your smile just to be sure. It could indicate that decay has penetrated the deeper layers of the tooth, which needs to be treated as soon as possible. Pay attention to your sensitivity—what triggers the reaction, how severe it is, which teeth it affects, and other details.
How You Should Handle Sensitivity to Hot & Cold
Although your sensitivity could point to a cavity, it may also be the result of enamel wear. If you are not doing so already, try rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash, which can reinforce your teeth against bacteria. You can also use a straw to avoid contact with your teeth when drinking cold or hot beverages. If your discomfort continues beyond a couple of days, it may be time to reach out to us for an appointment.
How We Treat Sensitivity to Hot & Cold
If necessary, we will remove the decayed tooth structure of the tooth and use a filling or dental crown to restore it. Otherwise, we may be able to use composite resin or apply a coating of fluoride to protect your sensitive teeth from these sensations.
Yes, it is! A knocked-out tooth requires immediate attention, regardless of the circumstances. In fact, this emergency needs to be addressed typically within an hour in order to save the natural tooth. Without emergency care, the chances that you will lose the tooth rapidly increase, which is why you need to contact Soldotna Dental Arts right away if this happens to you or a loved one.
How You Should Handle a Knocked-Out Tooth
You must act quickly in this situation. After calling our dental office, pick the tooth up by the crown, or the part of the tooth that normally shows above the gumline. Do not touch the root structure of the tooth or any tissue that may still be attached. Rinse off the tooth with warm, clean water, and try to reinsert it into the tooth socket. If you are unable to do so, put the tooth preferably in a container of milk, although a container of clean water works as well, to keep the tooth moist, and be sure to bring it with you to your emergency appointment.
How We Treat Knocked-Out Teeth
We start by re-implanting the tooth where it belongs in your mouth. Once we’ve reseated it, we place what is called a splint, which holds the tooth in position as the tissues heal and regain stability. If we are unable to save the tooth, we can then talk about your replacement options, but rest assured that we will do everything we can before considering this course of action.
Absolutely! Losing a filling or crown is not just an aesthetic issue; it also impacts your teeth’s function. In addition, without a filling or crown to protect it, your tooth becomes exposed and vulnerable to decay. You may also experience pain or sensitivity because the nerve or center of the tooth is not shielded from acids in your mouth.
How You Should Handle a Lost Filling or Crown
After locating the filling or crown, rinse it with clean water. If you cannot find the restoration, cover your exposed tooth with some dental wax. To temporarily attach the restoration back to your tooth, you can use a dab of toothpaste. Do not use super glue or other adhesives not intended for dental use.
How We Treat Lost Fillings or Crowns
Depending on the damage to the restoration and your tooth, we may be able to reuse the crown or filling. However, keep in mind that we may need to create a new restoration.
Certainly. A broken denture can make eating and speaking not only difficult but also painful. It should be addressed right away so that you can resume your normal function.
How You Should Handle a Broken Denture
If your denture breaks, do not keep it in your mouth. It could damage your soft tissues or any remaining teeth you may have. Call us right away and try to eat only soft foods like mashed potatoes, eggs, and oatmeal.
How We Treat Broken Dentures
In some rare cases, we may be able to fix the denture, but most of the time, we will need to replace the restoration entirely. If this is the case, we’ll order a new denture from our dental lab and make sure it fits comfortably.
Permanent, adult teeth should not feel loose, so when it happens, it’s definitely concerning. You may not need immediate attention for pain, but you shouldn’t put off contacting us, or the tooth could come out completely.
How You Should Handle Loose Permanent Teeth
Try not to agitate the tooth by sticking to a soft food diet and being careful when you bite down or chew. When you brush or floss your teeth, be gentle around the affected tooth, careful not to disturb it.
How We Treat Loose Permanent Teeth
Loose adult teeth are often a sign of advanced gum disease or dental trauma. In some cases, we can save the tooth through periodontal therapy, but in others, we may need to remove the tooth. If this happens, we’ll review your replacement options and find the perfect solution for your smile.
Is an Injury to the Gums, Lips, or Tongue a Dental Emergency?
At first glance, a soft tissue injury may not seem like an emergency. Most of the time, bleeding stops within 10 minutes, but there could be damage to your teeth or jawbone beneath the surface. It’s important to get checked out to make sure nothing more serious has occurred because of the injury.
How You Should Handle an Injury to the Gums, Lips, or Tongue
If you or a loved one has suffered a soft tissue injury like a cut or has bitten a lip or the tongue, first control the bleeding with clean gauze. It should subside in about 10 minutes. If bleeding continues, you should visit an emergency room for further examination.
How We Treat Injuries to the Gums, Lips, or Tongue
In most cases, the soft tissues will heal quickly on their own. However, in more severe situations, we may need to use stitches to help in the healing process. Otherwise, we will inspect your teeth and jawbone to ensure that a more serious dental problem is not present.
Jaw Pain or Clenching
Is Jaw Pain a Dental Emergency?
It could be, depending on the level of pain or restricted motion you have with your jaw. If you find it difficult to eat or it interferes with your daily life, then let us know about it right away. In other cases, the pain may only last a few days, so closely monitor your situation, and let us know if the pain persists.
How You Should Handle Jaw Pain
You may use over-the-counter pain relievers and cold compresses to help manage your joint discomfort. You can also avoid crunchy or chewy foods like chips, nuts, and the like. If the jaw pain continues beyond a few days or happens consistently, give our dental office a call.
How We Treat Jaw Pain
Jaw joint pain may be the result of a misaligned bite, in which case, Dr. Christensen may be able to correct the issue. Clenching or grinding your teeth while you sleep (a condition called bruxism) may be the underlying cause of your jaw pain, meaning that a custom nightguard should alleviate the tension and pain.
It’s never a good idea to leave a stuck bit of food debris between your teeth. Not only can it make your teeth sore, but it can also shift your teeth slightly out of alignment. Before giving our Soldotna dental office a call, try to get the object out by gently flossing between your teeth. If that doesn’t work, do not try to use a knife or other pointed instrument to dig or pry the object out. These sharp objects can damage both the soft tissues and your tooth enamel.
Keys to Preventing Dental Emergencies
Want to prevent dental emergencies in Soldotna? You’re not alone. While it is comforting to have a team of professionals who are willing to provide immediate assistance should a problem arise, it’s far better to avoid these sudden injuries from the start. Whether it is watching what you eat, giving up bad habits, protecting your teeth during a game, or maintaining optimal oral hygiene while at home, there are several things you can do to stay out of the emergency dental office and instead, enjoy your beautiful, healthy, and damage-free smile. Here are just a few:
Keep Your Regular Dental Appointments
Regular six-month dental checkups and cleanings are some of the most effective ways to avoid common oral health problems like tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, and even oral cancer. By allowing Dr. Christensen to examine your oral cavity regularly, we can catch issues early on and minimize your risk for restorative care later on. Instead of worrying about dental fillings, crowns, root canal therapy, or possible extraction, you can enjoy a healthier smile that is without decay or disease.
Keep Brushing and Flossing
Good at-home oral hygiene habits are strongly encouraged by dentists. When brushing, flossing, and rinsing occur daily, you can expect healthier teeth and gums that don’t possess dental caries or gum disease. As a result, you can lessen your chances of developing certain problems that require extensive and often costly treatment. Not to mention, you can avoid developing an infection that can not only impact your oral health but your overall well-being, too.
Be Mindful of What You Eat
Fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, leafy greens, and foods rich in calcium are some of the best to incorporate into your daily diet. Too much sugar and starch can lead to dental decay and gum disease. If bad bacteria and harmful particles remain on the teeth for too long, you may experience a nagging toothache or serious infection that involves untimely procedures to fix. Changing your eating habits may not be easy, but it will certainly be worth it once you realize how it can help you avoid scheduling an appointment with your emergency dental office in Soldotna.
Wear a Mouthguard to Protect Your Teeth
Whether you like playing sports or suffer from bruxism at night, a customized mouthguard is the answer. Sports-related injuries are all-too-common, and teeth grinding is often caused by much stress. With this unique, customized oral appliance, you can protect your tooth enamel and soft oral tissues from serious damage. Comfortable to wear and easy to use, you’ll have greater peace of mind knowing your smile is safeguarded against a hard hit, sudden fall, or excessive wear and tear.
Use Tools to Open Packages, Not Your Teeth
How many times have you opted to skip the scissors and just use your teeth to open a package? If you’re being honest, probably more times than you can count. Your teeth are not tools but are instead used to chew and cut through food. Scissors, pliers, and other actual tools should be used to do their job. In failing to take the time to find these items, you are putting your teeth and gums at risk for a dental emergency because you can accidentally cut your soft tissues and/or accidentally knock out, chip, or crack a tooth.
Understanding the Cost of Emergency Dentistry
Naturally, emergency dental care comes with a price. It’s important to be aware of the costs involved before you agree to any sort of treatment. Sometimes only a minor filling will be required, but in other situations, treatments such as root canal therapy may be necessary. At Soldotna Dental Arts, the cost of emergency dentistry in Soldotna will be explained to you ahead of time so you know what to expect when the time comes for payment.
Every Dental Emergency is Different
Believe it or not, visiting your emergency dentist in Soldotna is relatively inexpensive. During your appointment, our team will evaluate the extent of your condition and determine which treatments are necessary to get your smile back on track. Since every case is unique, it’s impossible to provide an accurate cost estimate until you come in for an exam.
However, some common solutions for dental emergencies include root canal therapy, extractions, dental crowns, and TMJ treatment. We will explain our findings and the recommended treatment plan, plus provide a cost estimate in advance so there won’t be any surprises!
Taking Care of Your Smile Can Save You Money
Not every dental emergency is entirely avoidable. Although some happen because of accidental injuries, the majority are the result of unchecked infection or damage. Fortunately, you can keep your smile healthy and save thousands of dollars over the years by investing in routine dental checkups.
On top of that, you can avoid breaking the bank by visiting our team as soon as you notice something wrong with your oral health. Taking care of a problem right away will help you avoid needing more expensive and extensive treatment later on.
Does Dental Insurance Cover Dental Emergencies?
The good news is that most dental insurance plans offer some level of coverage for emergencies. At least one yearly emergency exam is typically fully covered, while common services associated with hurting teeth like root canal therapy, extractions, and dental crowns are eligible for 50-80 percent of coverage. Of course, every policy is unique which is why you should confirm the details with your insurance provider before committing to anything. Our team is more than happy to help with this process if needed!
Another Option for Making Dental Emergencies Affordable
Don’t have dental insurance? No problem! We offer flexible financing through CareCredit. This third-party financier specializes in medical and dental financing, and they offer patients low-to-no-interest payment plans. Contact us to learn more!
Dental Emergency Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re dealing with a dental emergency, it’s difficult to act efficiently and effectively because of the pressure and stress of the situation. That’s why Soldotna Dental Arts offers over-the-phone, first-aid guidance and same-day appointments to minimize the damage to your mouth and quickly relieve your pain. For your convenience, we’ve also compiled some common questions we receive from our patients below.
Should I Go to the ER for My Dental Emergency?
Depending on the trauma you face, you may need to visit your local emergency room before coming to your emergency dentist in Soldotna. If you’re experiencing uncontrollable swelling, breathing issues, difficulty swallowing, deep cuts, a jaw dislocation, or a jaw fracture, immediately visit your nearest hospital first. Once you’ve received the urgent medical support that you need, be sure to schedule an appointment with our dental office so we can take care of any of your dental concerns.
Do I Need a Root Canal?
The most common symptom that our patients experience that results in the need for root canal therapy is a severe toothache. This is caused by infected pulp which is located in the inner chamber of your tooth and is extremely sensitive. Using root canal therapy, we can prevent the infection from spreading by removing the damaged pulp and sanitizing the inside of the tooth.
Many people panic at the thought of getting a root canal because they’re notoriously known to be painful. At Soldotna Dental Arts, we make sure that the process is virtually painless from start to finish by using local anesthetic and even sedation dentistry for our anxious patients.
Will My Emergency Dental Visit Be Covered By Insurance?
Every dental emergency is unique, just like every insurance plan. That’s why it’s difficult to estimate what treatments will be covered and which ones won’t. The best way to learn whether your dental insurance company will contribute to the cost of your treatment is to contact them directly. A majority of minor restorations such as fillings are typically covered, while more major procedures such as tooth replacements have a smaller portion of the cost covered. At Soldotna Dental Arts, our team is more than happy to help you maximize your benefits. We also offer additional financing with flexible payment plans through CareCredit.