How to Handle a Dental Emergency Like a Pro
Dental Emergencies

How to Handle a Dental Emergency Like a Pro

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Accidents can happen any time, but you can lower your risks by being prepared. Find out what to do in a dental emergency with EVP Dental in East Victoria Park.

5 minute read

Even when you take good care of your oral health, injuries to teeth and other dental emergencies can happen without warning. You might not be able to avoid accidents, but you can avoid making the situation worse and improve your chance of a full recovery when you know how to respond.

Read these tips to find out what to do in common dental emergencies, including:

  • Tooth pain
  • Loose or damaged tooth
  • Knocked out tooth
  • Lost or broken filling or crown
  • Fractured or broken dentures
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Mouth sores or ulcers
  • Swelling or fever
  • Painful or broken jaw

Whatever the situation, it's also important to call your dentist for advice or to make an appointment with an emergency dentist if you think you need urgent attention. EVP Dental sets aside time during business hours to help treat emergency patients, which could make all the difference to saving your tooth.

If you need to see a dentist urgently, call EVP Dental on (08) 9470 3944. Our dentists in East Victoria Park will see you as soon as we can.

 

Tooth Pain

Toothache or pain is one of the most common symptoms of dental problems. Not all of them are serious, but you should still see a dentist if the pain doesn't go away or is severe.

To help you deal with the pain in the meantime, you can try:

  • taking over-the-counter pain relief medication, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • placing an ice pack or cold compress against your cheek
  • swishing Savacol antiseptic rinse in the mouth and throat to kill bacteria
  • flossing between your teeth to remove any trapped food

DON'T put aspirin directly on your teeth or gums, as this can cause burns or damage. You should also avoid very hot, cold, sweet or spicy foods while your tooth is recovering if it feels more sensitive.

Severe toothache and sensitivity can sometimes be signs of a tooth pulp infection, which may require root canal therapy. If the pain is due to an impacted wisdom tooth, your dentist will tell you whether you could benefit from wisdom tooth removal.

 

Loose or Damaged Tooth

If you think your tooth might be chipped, cracked or it feels loose, rinse your mouth with warm water (taking care not to swallow any fragments) and eat soft foods while it recovers.

Make an appointment to see a dentist so they can determine how serious the damage is. They may recommend treatments such as a white filling or dental crown to restore your tooth, depending on its condition.

If you have pain or swelling, these may be reduced by taking pain relief or anti-inflammatory medication or using an ice pack or cold compress.

If you're worried about the sharp edges of a damaged tooth scratching or cutting your mouth, place some dental wax or sugar-free chewing gum over these areas until you can see a dentist.

DON'T eat hard foods that could make the damage worse and avoid touching the tooth as much as possible. You should still brush and floss carefully to reduce bacteria in your mouth.

 

Knocked Out Tooth

Losing a tooth can be an upsetting experience, but staying calm and getting to a dentist quickly can improve the chance of the tooth being successfully reattached and functioning as normal.

This requires that the tooth is still intact and the roots (the pointy end) are not damaged. For the best chance of saving your tooth:

  • Pick it up by the crown (the smooth end), not the root
  • Gently wipe off any dirt or rinse it with milk or saliva
  • Try to place the tooth back inside the socket
  • Bite down on gauze or a clean cloth to hold the tooth in place
  • Get to a dentist as soon as possible, ideally within 30 minutes

DON'T touch the tooth roots, rinse the tooth with water or try to force it back in if it doesn't fit.

If the tooth doesn't fit in the socket, you can still take it to the dentist as long as you keep it moist. Some options are:

  • Hold the tooth in your cheek, if you're confident you won't swallow
  • Place it in a container with some milk or saliva (not water)
  • Wrap it in plastic film with milk or saliva
  • Hold it in a damp cloth if this is the only option

If you can't make it to a dentist in time, or your tooth is too damaged to save, it's still important to have a check-up with a dentist as soon as possible. They can check for any other problems and help you avoid further damage.

They can also discuss options such as a dental implant or partial denture for replacing the tooth after your gum has healed, so you won't be left with a gap and can avoid problems such as teeth shifting in the future.

 

Lost or Broken Filling or Crown

It's not only damage to teeth that can be a dental emergency. Fillings, crowns and other restorations can be necessary for your teeth to function normally. If these get knocked out, damaged or the tooth underneath wears down, this could affect your ability to eat or risk further injuries to your mouth. It could also leave you open to infection if the interior of the tooth is exposed.

If you still have it, bring the damaged filling or crown with you when you see your dentist. Depending on its condition and the underlying tooth, they may be able to reattach it or may recommend replacing it with a new restoration.

As with a damaged tooth, you should cover any sharp edges with dental wax or sugar-free gum to protect your mouth before you can see a dentist.

DON'T try to reattach a filling or crown yourself and avoid very hot, cold, sweet or spicy foods if your tooth is sensitive.

 

Fractured or Broken Dentures

When you rely on dentures to eat and speak normally, damage to dentures can be considered a dental emergency.

Take out your dentures as soon as they're damaged and take any broken pieces along to your dentist. They may be able to repair broken dentures on the same day or you may need a replacement.

DON'T try to repair or realign dentures yourself. Poorly fitting dentures can be uncomfortable and affect your appearance.

 

Bleeding from the Mouth

Bleeding in the mouth can have a number of causes and isn't always serious, but you should contact a dentist if you're not sure what's causing it or if it doesn't stop after a few minutes. If the bleeding is heavy, go to the emergency room.

Bleeding gums are often a sign of gingivitis (gum disease). If you think this is the cause, avoid touching your gums and rinse your mouth with Savacol antiseptic rinse or warm salt water to help prevent infections.

DON'T rinse your mouth if the bleeding may be caused by cuts or following a dental procedure. In these cases, place gauze or a clean cloth over the site and apply pressure for 5 minutes.

 

Mouth Sores or Ulcers

Sore spots in your mouth that are painful or don't clear up within a week could be serious and should be checked by a dentist. You can try to reduce your discomfort before then by:

  • Rinsing your mouth with Savacol mouth and throat rinse or warm salt water
  • Avoiding using that part of your mouth so you don't irritate the sore
  • Placing a cold compress or ice pack against your cheek
  • Using over-the-counter painkillers or anaesthetic gels

DON'T place aspirin in contact with the sore, use steroid creams or apply heat that may help an infection to spread.

 

Swelling or Fever

Swelling of the face or lymph nodes under the jaw usually indicate an infection, especially if it's accompanied by signs of fever. If your tooth and face also feel painful or sensitive, these could be signs of a dental abscess. Seek immediate treatment with an emergency dentist or go to the emergency room.

Less severe swelling of the mouth may be reduced by:

  • Regular salt water mouth rinses
  • Placing a cold compress or ice pack against the affected area
  • Taking anti-inflammatory medication

 

Painful or Broken Jaw

Injuries to the jaw can be extremely painful and make it difficult to move your jaw to eat or speak. There's also a risk of making the injury worse if you try to use your jaw, so you should see a dentist right away.

To avoid accidentally using a broken jaw before you can see a dentist, immobilise it by tying a bandana or other fabric around your head, holding the jaw firmly closed.

 

How to Avoid a Dental Emergency

You can't prevent all accidents, but you can lower your risk of ending up in an emergency dental clinic by taking steps to protect your teeth and jaws. Some of the best defences are:

 

Emergency Dentist in Perth's East Victoria Park

If you need an emergency dentist near you, EVP Dental is just 7 minutes from Perth CBD, in reach of Southern and Eastern suburbs.

Call (08) 9470 3944 to talk to our team for advice or to book an appointment today. For less urgent enquiries, you can contact us online.

 

References

  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/oral-health/what-to-do-in-a-dental-emergency