If a serious dental emergency occurs AFTER HOURS please contact the ADA Locum Dentist on (08) 8272 8111 or go to the Emergency Department of the Royal Adelaide Hospital.
Dental Emergencies – What You Can Do
At Essential Dental we know dental emergencies can happen at any time day or night, and sometimes we can’t be there to assist in the first instance. Dental emergencies can and range from an agonising toothache to a knocked-out tooth. If this happens to you, and it falls outside our extended hours of business, here are some handy tips in case a dental emergency occurs. Remember, a calm, rational response can help prevent tooth loss or any permanent damage.
How soon should I see a dentist?
Most injuries to the mouth should be treated by a dentist as soon as possible. Getting there within 30 minutes can make the difference between saving orlosing a tooth. Most dentists reserve time in their daily schedules for possible emergencies, so explain the full condition to staff so they can fit you in immediately.
How do you respond if you have a…
The first step is to stay calm and find the actual tooth. Handle it by the crown (the top), not the root, without scraping or rubbing away any tissue fragments. If possible, rinse the tooth quickly in milk or some saliva to remove any dirt or debris. Then try to gently hold it in place in the socket. If you’re not able to replant the tooth, keep it moist by immersing it in milk or saliva (not water), sealing it in plastic wrap, or placing it in the person’s mouth next to the cheek. Time is critical in saving the tooth so contact the dentist immediately for an emergency appointment.
Chipped, fractured or cracked tooth
Clean the area by rinsing the mouth with warm water. Use an ice pack wrapped in a clean towel or a cold compress on the face if needed to reduce swelling. The urgency depends on the severity but only a dentist can discern how serious the condition is. It’s better to be safe than sorry – head to the surgery as soon as possible.
Rinse the mouth with warm water to clean it out. If swelling is present, place a cold compress to the outside of your mouth or cheek. Gently use dental floss to remove any food caught between your teeth. Do not put aspirin directly on your aching tooth or gums as it may burn the gum tissue. For quick relief, ask your dentist or pharmacist about any over-the-counter pain medication. If the pain persists, see your dentist as soon as possible.
Bitten lip, tongue or cheek
This often occurs during eating or as a result of a fall. Clean the area gently with warm, salty water. Then apply pressure to the area with an ice pack in a clean cloth or a cold compress to the area outside to reduce bleeding and limit any swelling. If bleeding continues after about 15 minutes, see your dentist or go to the emergency department of the Royal Adelaide or your closest hospital..
This is a localised infection that usually forms at the root of the tooth or in the space between the teeth and gums. This painful condition can actually damage tissue and surrounding teeth and if left untreated, it can cause more widespread infection and may be life threatening. So it’s important to see your dentist as soon as possible. Regular warm salt water rinsing can also help alleviate discomfort until you’re able to see your dentist. An appropriate course of antibiotics will often address infection and provide relief, therefore, please contact your local GP in the event of an emergency of this nature.
Lost filling or crown
If a cavity develops underneath a filling or crown, it can become loose and eventually fall out. It can be rather painful because the exposed middle layer (dentine) of tooth will be sensitive to any hot or cold foods. A new filling or crown will be needed so visit your dentist as soon as you can for a solution.
How can you prevent a dental emergency?
There are simple precautions to help prevent certain injuries to the teeth. When participating in sport or recreational activities, always wear a custom-made mouthguard that is designed and fitted by a dentist.
When opening a pack of chips, a bag of peanuts or other plastic containers of food products, always use scissors rather that your teeth. Also, try not to chew on hard objects such as ice, pens, nuts or even a brutal baguette!
Always seek dental treatment as soon as possible for decayed or broken down teeth that you may be aware of. Just because they are not painful today doesn’t mean that they won’t be painful tomorrow!
If you have a dental emergency, contact us on (08) 8251 7677 at your earliest convenience and we will organise an appointment at our Golden Grove Dental Clinic as soon as practical… so you can ‘discover the difference’.