Emergency Care

At Desoto Dental Services, we know that when a tooth is cracked or abscessed, the pain can be debilitating. We want to help our patients get out of pain with the most appropriate treatment. We provide emergency care to all patients during our regular office hours. We provide emergency care to patients of record during the times our office is normally closed.

Depending on the diagnosis, emergency care can range from taking antibiotics (if there is swelling present) to root canal therapy or even extraction. We try to give our patients a thorough examination and diagnosis with possible treatment options so they can make an informed decision.

Pain medication is not prescribed after hours, unless there is a problem associated with a recent treatment that the dentist is familiar with. Prescribing medications for conditions that have not been observed by the dentist could lead to more serious problems with the patient's health.

Emergency treatments include, but are not limited to:

Periodontal therapy for a gum abscess (localized swelling of the gum associated with periodontal bone loss and pocketing):

A periodontal abscess may be associated with symptoms ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain. There may be fever and/or a general feeling of malaise. Treatment usually includes scaling (deep cleaning) with anesthesia and antibiotics if indicated. Following emergency care, a complete periodontal workup should be done and a treatment plan presented.

Temporary (sedative) fillings:

For teeth with decay or large restorations that are causing pain or discomfort, a sedative filling may be indicated. A sedative filling is a type of restoration that is composed of materials that will help the tooth combat the disease-causing bacteria and is left in the tooth for approximately 12 weeks. If the sedative filling helps to "calm" the tooth, a permanent filling or crown may be indicated. If not, root canal therapy or an extraction may be required.

Open and drain a tooth or teeth with infected pulp (first step in root canal therapy):

This removes the dead or diseased dental pulp and alleviates pain so the patient can make a treatment decision that is not influenced by acute pain.

Adjust high bite:

A high bite can make a tooth sore, or even painful to the point that is seems like the nerve of the tooth is infected. Checking and adjusting the bite should be done before a more aggressive form of treatment is initiated.

Extraction of unrestorable tooth or teeth:

Teeth that are not indicated to be restored, or that need treatment that the patient chooses not to accept can be extracted to eliminate dental pain. Patients should understand the changes that occur in the mouth affecting the remaining teeth when teeth are extracted. Once a tooth is removed, the teeth next to the space, and opposing the space will move over time. This can affect the patient's bite and the treatment options for restoring the space if too much time elapses after the extraction.


Sometimes, the severity of the dental problem is such that it is appropriate for the patient to see a specialist. If the dentist determines that this is the case, pain will be managed for a few days if necessary to allow for scheduling at the specialist's office.