Davidson Family Dentistry: Urbandale Chamber of Commerce 2022 Business of the Year and winner of the Metro's BEST DENTAL OFFICE in 2022 and 2021!

"Quality Dentistry, Affordable Service, Compassionate Care."

Emergency Care


A toothache is a very clear sign that something is wrong dentally and it is always a reason to give us a call. The pain may be originating in a specific tooth or in the gums. Sometimes it is clear what is causing the problem but other times the location of the pain is harder to pinpoint or may originate from one or more sources. Frequently an x-ray and an intra-oral photograph will be taken to help identify both the source and the extent of the problem. Our policy is to make sure we answer all of your questions prior to beginning any work and we will always give you options, if they exist, along with our recommendation for treatment.


An abscessed tooth is an infection caused by tooth decay, periodontal disease or a cracked tooth. These problems can let bacteria enter the soft tissue of a tooth and can lead to pulp (nerve) death. When pus builds up at the root tip in the jaw bone, it forms a pus pocket called an abscess. If the abscess is not treated, it can lead to a serious infection in the jaw bone, teeth and surrounding tissues. Symptoms of an abscess include: pain, swelling, redness in the gums, bad taste in the mouth and fever. An abscessed tooth can be treated with various treatments, depending on the severity of the infection including antibiotics, drainage of the infection, cleaning of the space between the tooth and the gums (called scaling and root planing), or root canal treatment.


When you break or lose a filling, call our office right away to set up an appointment. Decay can advance quickly when all or a portion of the filling is missing and the decay is not easily seen with the naked eye. Until your appointment to repair your filling, please keep it clean and be extra sensitive to not further damage the area.


Cracks in teeth are common as we age and depending on the size and location of the crack, treatment may vary and may include bonding, a crown, root canal treatment and crown, or an extraction. Some cracks may be very painful and others may not be discovered until we do a thorough exam of the tooth. X-rays are beneficial to rule out an abscess. Not all cracks are the same but in most cases your dentist will recommend a treatment plan so that further damage is not done to the tooth.


Root canal therapy permits a patient to keep a tooth that would otherwise require extraction. The treatment is necessary when the pulp tissue inside the tooth becomes diseased and/or damaged. Frequently the therapy is called for because of dental decay that has reached the nerve, trauma or coronal cracks. During treatment, the dentist makes an opening in the top of the tooth and cleans the diseased or dead nerve tissue and bacteria from inside the root. The resulting space is sealed with a filling material to prevent future bacteria from entering. Following a root canal, a filling or crown is required.


An extraction means to have a tooth removed, usually because of disease, trauma or crowding. Some extractions may be fairly simple and some may be classified as surgical extractions. A copy of our standard post-surgical instructions is included under the information for patients.


Wisdom teeth, also referred to as third molars, get their name by being the last teeth to come in during young adulthood. As part of a dental visit, your dentist will examine you to determine if your wisdom teeth are healthy and properly positioned. Every patient is unique, but in general, wisdom teeth may need to be removed when there is evidence of change in the mouth such as: pain, infection, cysts, tumors, damage to adjacent teeth, gum disease or tooth decay (if it is not possible or desirable to restore the tooth). Your dentist may also recommend removal to prevent problems or for other reasons, such as when removal is part of an orthodontic, restorative or periodontal treatment plan.


Many adults and some children have gum disease known as periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria in plaque which irritates the gums, making them swollen, red and more likely to bleed. One reason periodontal disease is so widespread is that it’s often a painless condition until an advanced stage. If left untreated, gums can begin to pull away from the teeth and form deepened spaces called pockets where food particles and more plaque may collect. Advance periodontal disease can eventually destroy the gums, bone and ligaments supporting the teeth leading to tooth loss. The good news is that with regular dental visits periodontal disease can be treated or prevented entirely.


Canker sores are also called apthous ulcers. They usually heal in 7-14 days and can be painful and annoying. We do not completely understand the cause of canker sores, but they are not an infection and are completely different from fever blisters which occur on the outside of the lips and are caused by a virus. The discomfort caused by canker sores can be controlled by using prescribed topic steroid mouth rinses and ointments.