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What to do in a dental emergency

Dental emergencies can be quite common so here are our top tips on what to do with some of the most common problems.

We’ve put these into two lists, the first list is what would be considered a dental emergency, the second list are urgent appointment requests but ones that would not normally mean you need to see a dentist immediately.

Problems and quick solutions for common dental emergencies

  • Extreme pain from a toothache. If you have extreme toothache pain we recommend a cold compress is applied on the outside of your cheek around the area of the toothache pain. Relief from toothache pain can also be achieved with hourly salt and warm water mouth rinse.
  • Chipped or broken teeth with bleeding/severe pain. If the broken or chips tooth is bleeding from the tooth itself or around the gum next to the tooth then bite down gently on a piece of clean/sterile gauze. A teabag can also be used instead of the cause as the tannins within the tea have been shown to help with bleeding also. To reduce pain, chipped or broken tooth follow the advice above about extreme pain, to date. Important note, if the chipped or broken tooth is not bleeding and there is no pain then this will not be considered a dental emergency. Simply make an appointment with your dentist at the most convenient time.
  • Avulsed ( knocked out) tooth. Apply pressure with clean/sterile gauze to the gum area where the tooth has been knocked out. If you know that the tooth is totally clean which has been knocked out, holding it only by the Crown (the part of the tooth that you see) and not the root attempt to replace the tooth if you feel able, ensuring it is the right way round. If you are not able to do this then place the tooth with some milk into a bag before visiting your emergency dentist.
  • Dislodged tooth. If the tooth has become dislodged then it can be gently pushed back into its original position and bleeding controlled with pressure applied by biting down gently on a clean/sterile piece of gauze.

If any of the situations above apply to you then follow the emergency advice given and give your emergency dentist call immediately, if you are not able to visit an emergency dentist then it will be necessary to visit a local accident and emergency department.

Problems and solutions for urgent appointment requests, but not normally considered an emergency.

  • Loose Crown. If the crown becomes loose or falls out it can be put back in place by purchasing a cementation kit available at most high street chemists. Whilst this will hold the crown back in for a short period of time you will need to visit a dentist to have it permanently fitted
  • Dislodged or lost dental filling. If a dental filling comes out and there is no pain then simply making an appointment at the most convenient time is all that is required, you should tell the dentist that you have a feeling which has come out as they can them prioritise this to see you quickly. If there is extreme pain caused by the loss of dental filling then hourly rinsing with warm water and salt can help as well as a cold compress on the outside of the tooth against your cheek. Taking over-the-counter painkillers can also help.
  • Broken Dental Braces. If bracket becomes dislodged from the tooth and is still attached to the wire then you may be able to unclip it and remove it completely to prevent it rubbing. If the bracket comes away completely from the wire then just call your orthodontist and let them know, so long as you have an appointment reasonably quickly your treatment should not be affected.
  • Chipped or broken teeth, no bleeding/severe pain. Whilst this is unsightly and sometimes uncomfortable if the tooth is sharp, it is not considered a dental emergency as many people can live with chipped or broken teeth quite happily. Simply call your dentist to make an appointment, they may then be able to restore the chip broken tooth with a white dental filling.


Shrik Kotecha
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