Dental emergencies do happen, and knowing what to do can make all the difference. It can mean the difference between being able to save a tooth or actually lose a tooth. The first thing you should be aware of is that you need to be registered with a dental clinic. This means you will have access to care which includes emergency care, if you are not registered with a clinic and end up having a dental emergency you may not have access to care or you may be charged hefty additional fees on top of the emergency call out charges.
With any dental incident or emergency it is important to contact your dentist right away, if it is out of hours you will need to call the out of hours emergency number which should be available 24/7 365 days a year, or you should visit your local emergency facilities. The majority of dentists reserve daily appointment slots for unscheduled appointments. This article provides expert advice on common dental emergencies and what to do. A cosmetic dentist can also help after your initial treatment.
Knocked out tooth – if you have a knocked out adult tooth, you should keep it moist all the time. You may try replacing the tooth back into the socket without touching the root, however if this is not possible you should place it between your teeth and gums in order to keep it moist, or the tooth can be placed in milk to preserve it until you are able to see your dentist.
If your child suffers a knocked out tooth which is a milk tooth, you should find the tooth and place it in milk until you can see your dentist which should also be as soon as possible. Your dentist will be able to examine the tooth and see if the whole tooth was knocked out or if only part of the tooth has come out. Your dentist can then decide whether the tooth should be implanted again.
Cracking a tooth – if you have cracked a tooth you should immediately rinse your mouth with warm water in order to clean the area. Apply a cold compress to reduce any swelling and you should see your dentist as soon as possible. You should eat away from the cracked tooth, drink from a straw and take paracetamol liquid if you have pain or sensitivity resulting from the cracked tooth.
Bitten tongue or lip – if you have bitten your tongue or lip this can be very painful. Often it will look worse than it actually is but you should clean the area gently with water and then apply a cold compress again to reduce swelling. You should see your dentist as soon as possible or attend your emergency facilities if there is excessive bleeding, the bleeding is not stopping or you have a lot of pain.
Severe toothache – if you have severe toothache you should rinse your mouth out with warm water to clean it. You can use floss to remove any food or debris. You should not put aspirin in case of irritation. Contact your dentist right away. Applying Sensodyne to your sore tooth or teeth can provide pain relief quickly to the affected area. This should be done as needed throughout the day, and not just when brushing your teeth.
For a broken jaw – if you worry your jaw may be broken, apply a cold compress and go to your hospital emergency department immediately.
Keeping prepared – it is a good idea to have floss in your first aid kit and a custom kit called the save a tooth preservation kit is also worth having in your kit as a standby.
Emergencies when travelling – ensure you have health insurance that includes dental cover, so you can access medical and dental treatment at home or abroad.
Preventing dental emergencies – by taking simple steps and precautions you can avoid emergencies where possible. Steps include wearing a mouthguard for sports and contact sports in particular. You should also avoid chewing ice and hard foods all of which can easily crack a tooth. You should also always use scissors to cut things and never your teeth.