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Our team understands that emergencies almost always arise after-hours. Not only are they a matter of inconvenience, but they can be a significant source of stress. Some situations call for immediate attention, yet others can be remedied or improved by following a few simple tips. While these suggestions may not solve the issue entirely they will offer relief or peace of mind until we can care for you when our office opens. Whether you’re a potential new patient experiencing a jaw related emergency or a current TMJ patient encountering an unsettling issue you may find helpful guidance throughout this page.
Possible Broken Jaw
A suspected broken jaw requires immediate evaluation by your dentist, or an emergency room physician. A broken jaw has very clear symptoms which include facial swelling, difficulty opening your mouth very wide, and severe pain. You may also experience bleeding from the mouth, lost or damaged teeth, and your jaw could appear abnormal. With any of these symptoms, you should immediately control the swelling using a cold compress. Next, using a small towel, stabilize the jaw. You can do this by placing a towel under your chin and tying it around the top of your head. This will keep the jaw in place while you make your way to your nearest emergency department. Our emergency after-hours answering service stands ready to notify your doctor of your situation. Once reached, the doctor will offer further guidance and possibly make arrangements for an afterhours emergency visit depending on your individual needs. If an emergency department physician resolves your issue it’s important that you still be evaluated once our office opens to help prevent the situation from recurring in the future.
Dislocated Jaw or Locked Jaw
A dislocated or locked jaw can cause significant pain and anxiety. You should not try to force the jaw back into the proper position, pry it open, or force it shut. Relocating the jaw to the appropriate position and unlocking the jaw should only be performed by a highly trained and experienced professional. The doctors and staff at Central Dental treat these situations regularly and are well versed in the course of care necessary to alleviate your pain, move your jaw back to the correct position and provide stabilization as healing occurs. If you are in need of a dentist or doctor that treats TMJ issues or jaw injuries, call Central Dental immediately. A qualified doctor, or caring member of our team, will return your call to coordinate your care.
Loose or Wobbly Splint/Appliance
Usually, increased salivation is the primary cause of a loose or wobbly splint. This excess salivations works as a lubricant allowing the appliance to slip or move more than intended. Once your body acclimates to your new appliance the amount of salivation should decrease, and the splint should settle and remain fairly snug. If this is not the case, a simple adjustment may be all you need. Do not attempt to adjust the appliance yourself as it may cause damage or negatively impact functionality. Give our office a call during normal business hours and one of our friendly team members will schedule some time for the doctor to adjust your appliance.
If your daytime appliance becomes broken you will need to schedule an appointment to have it evaluated for possible repair during normal business hours. If only a small fragment has broken off, and the appliance, still provides ample support you may continue wearing it until the time of your scheduled appointment. If the appliance is no longer suitable for wear, you will need to wear your nighttime appliance continually until the time of your appointment. You may call our office to request an earlier appointment time if need be.
If your nighttime appliance becomes broken, you will need to schedule an appointment to have it evaluated for possible repair during normal business hours. You will need to wear your daytime appliance continually until the time of your next scheduled appointment. You may call our office to request an earlier appointment time if need be.
Warm and cold compresses and the use of anti-inflammatory medications may reduce discomfort caused by muscle tension. Apply the warm and cold compresses to the side of the face and temple for approximately ten minute intervals to reduce the intensity of the discomfort. Unfortunately, these methods are used to manage pain, rather than prevent it. Our doctors will not call in pain medication after-hours for TMJ discomfort as proper appliance wear will provide adequate relief. Pain that persists with proper appliance wear is rare, but can occur, you will need to schedule an appointment to be evaluated by your doctor.
Limit large jaw movements and try to avoid applying pressure to the jaw while sleeping. Choose soft food and stay away from foods that require repetitive chewing. For example, avoid chewing gum, taffy, pretzels, steak, potato chips, and raw carrots.
If you are not a current patient and you are experiencing jaw and tooth discomfort upon waking you may be grinding your teeth at night. You should request an appointment to be evaluated by a Central Dental doctor as soon as possible. Left unchecked, this behavior can cause increasing discomfort and damage to the dentition leading to high cost treatment in the future.