Dental Emergencies and Solutions

A dental emergency happens when pain or swelling occurs in your teeth or gums and needs to be attended to by a dentist as soon as possible. Seeking dental assistance when this happens will improve the chances of saving the affected tooth and help prevent any permanent or costly damage. The following information will help guide you with what to do if an emergency occurs.

Toothache

Can occur on any tooth/teeth and could be caused by several things which is why it is important to see your dentist very soon. In the meantime, follow these steps:

  • Rinse mouth with warm salt water to help clean the mouth
  • If there is swelling, place a cold compress on the affected side of your face
  • Take either paracetamol or ibuprofen to help with pain relief

Abscess/Swelling

An abscess is a swelling in your mouth which is filled with pus and can cause a lot of pain. They occur due to infections which can spread to other parts of the body if left untreated. Often, your local GP will prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection but this does not necessarily remove the source of the infection and you are at risk of it occurring again. See your dentist as soon as you can.

Lost Filling or Crown/Chipped Tooth

If a crown falls off, try and retrieve it and take it to your dentist as they will be able to place it back on. As for a lost filling, it needs to be replaced as soon as possible because the exposed tooth will be sensitive to temperature and air, causing a lot of pain and risking further damage to the tooth.

With regards to a chipped tooth, it could leave you with an uncomfortable sharp edge and, depending on the location of it, could affect the aesthetics of your smile. The different treatment options available include filing the tooth down or restoration.

Knocked Out Tooth

You should try as best as you can to put the tooth back in its socket if it is knocked out. Bit into a clean towel to keep the tooth in place and then see your dentist immediately. It is ideal that this is done within an hour of the injury. If you cannot replace the tooth back in its socket then the following steps should be followed:

  • Place the tooth in a cup of milk or saline (do not place it in plain water as this damages the cells on the root of the tooth making it much more difficult to attach it back on the gum)
  • If milk or saline isn’t readily available, put the tooth in your mouth between your gum and cheek as it is really important to keep the tooth moist
  • Alternatively, you could also put your saliva into a cup and fully immerse your tooth in it
  • Once the tooth is adequately protected, see your dentist immediately

Bleeding

Using a clean bandage or handkerchief, apply pressure to the affected area. If the bleeding does not cease in 10 minutes, see your dentist immediately.

Jaw Pain

There are a number of reasons jaw pain could occur, including grinding/clenching. If you have difficulty eating or opening your mouth, see your dentist promptly and use a cold compress on your jaw area in the meantime to help relieve some pain. Anti-inflammatory medications can also be taken.

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