5 Common Dental Emergencies

5 Common Dental Emergencies

Post Date: Aug 17, 2022

Oral health is often left out of the health equation. But the mouth is an important part of the body, and dental emergencies can have a huge impact on your life and pain levels. So CHP is working to make access to affordable dental care easier through its dental clinics. We sat down with Edmund Gubler, DDS, of the Bozeman Dental Clinic to find out more about some of the most common dental emergencies they see at the walk-in clinic, and how to prevent them.

Wisdom teeth

“Every other week I get someone in their late teens or early 20s, with a wisdom tooth that's coming in,” he said. “Because the tooth can't be cleaned well, it festers and causes them pain. As soon as the tooth is out, that pain is gone.” Regular exams can help show when wisdom teeth should be taken out preventatively.


All the brushing and flossing in the world can’t completely eliminate the risk of dental issues. For example, someone may slip on ice or take a baseball to the face. These can require a wide variety of treatments, like adding fillings or smoothing out chips, Dr. Gubler said. “For broken bones, it’d be more involved. Sometimes the inside of a tooth dies off because the nerve is disturbed.”

Large cavities

“Nearly every day someone comes in with a really large cavity that’s close to the nerve or in the nerve,” he said. These take 4-5 years of neglect to develop. The first sign of a problem like this is taking a sip of water and it really stings. “Depending on how bad it is, treatment can be a filling or root canal or to have the tooth removed entirely if it's really bad. It’s 100% preventable and a filling is a tenth of the cost of a root canal. It's better to just go see the dentist once a year.”


An abscess is a cavity that reaches a nerve and the nerve dies off. When bacteria eats to the nerve of the tooth, the bone gets inflamed. “Many patients who have this can’t eat because it’s so painful. Sometimes, there's not enough tooth left to save with a root canal.” He goes in to add, “That said, some people with abscesses can be asymptomatic as well.” That’s why regular x-rays at an annual cleaning can help, identifying problems before they grow.

Cold sensitivity

Cold sensitivity on the teeth can be caused by a variety of things. Sometimes it's from recession around the tooth. “We can treat this by giving the patient medication to desensitize,” Dr. Gubler said. “In most cases, this medication works long-term with no reapplication needed.”

How to prevent these emergencies

“It’s always cheaper to prevent than to treat. If your teeth are already physically hurting, it will be expensive to fix.” He recommends taking care of your teeth at home, flossing daily and brushing morning and night. “A lifetime of dental floss costs less than a filling.”

You can also seek care at the CHP walk-in dental clinic in Bozeman. Every day the clinic is open, there’s a walk-in clinic from 7:30 to 9:30 am. It's first come, first served, and the medical staff will see as many people as they can in that time. People can call first to check availability. “If someone is swollen, we try to fit them in as early as possible,” Dr. Gubler said. There is a walk-in dental clinic at CHP Livingston as well.

“We’ll see anyone regardless of ability to pay,” said Dr. Gubler. “We're here to see a very broad spectrum of patients from all different backgrounds. Today I saw a houseless person and an attorney.”

Don’t let cost keep you from dental care that can keep you from pain and keep you healthy. Access affordable care through the CHP dental clinics in Bozeman and Livingston.