What to do in a dental emergency

It it is rare that you will ever suffer from anything that could be considered a dental emergency but in the unlikely event that you do with those it useful to give you some advice and guidance on what you can do.

What is a Dental Emergency?

We would consider it a dental emergency if you have:

  1. severe bleeding dental bleeding as a result of an accident
  2. severe dental pain
  3. bleeding from an extracted tooth which you cannot stop
  4. sudden and severe swelling around the tooth, gum or mouth. The swelling may or may not be accompanied by a bad taste or bad breath.

Clearly if you have had an accident and knocked the tooth out this is a dental emergency, or if you wake up one morning with a large dental abscess then this is also an emergency.

A chipped tooth, dental crown, dental veneer or filling would not normally be considered an emergency, so please make a regular appointment to see your dentist to have this problem remedied.

In the event that you do have a genuine emergency here is some advice.

Severe Toothache

Your first port of call in the event of serious toothache is to call your own dentist. Most dentists will operate some form of emergency dental care, even out of hours most dentists have an answerphone which has instructions for patients with severe toothache. If you are not registered at a dentist then we recommend going to Google and typing ’emergency dentist’ and adding your location at the end, you should then find a range of dental practices in the local area offering emergency treatment. Please bear in mind that you may have to pay for this emergency care as not all practices offer NHS treatments.

If you have severe toothache when it dental practice is not open then follow these simple steps.

If you are over 16 years old take painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, these can help to reduce pain and discomfort was do while waiting for your emergency dental appointment. You may also find that a cold compress applied directly over the area onto your cheek can help to reduce the pain, please do not apply ice directly to your tooth as this will increase pain!

Unfortunately the only thing you can then do is to visit a dentist. Your dentist will then discover the cause of the pain and treat this cause. You will normally find that we can get you out of pain very quickly in one appointment, the dental emergency number to call for our dental practice in Euston, London is 0207 679 7186

Dental Emergencies in children

Generally a dental emergency in children will be caused by trauma so please follow the instructions below. In the event that the emergency is as a result of extreme to take you can consider the use of a child painkiller solution, please read the instructions fully for use to ensure you are using the correct medicine for the age of your child.

If the emergency is caused by trauma then you will need to stay calm, your child will follow your own behaviour so staying calm is vital in helping your child.

Dental Emergency Management

Should you need to manage a dental emergency with a tooth that has been knocked out here are our top tips:

  1. Do everything you can to put the truth back into the mouth that it has come from, if possible put it back into the socket ensuring it is the right way round. If this is not possible then store the truth between the teeth and cheek.
  2. If you can’t do this then keep the tooth wet by placing it in a sealed container containing either the patient’s saliva or milk.
  3. Some local chemists sell dental emergency kits, these contain a container and sterile solution. It might be worth thinking about this and keeping one in your first aid cupboard.
  4. Apply a gentle cold compress to the patient’s cheek, avoiding any extremes of temperature as this could increase the pain.
  5. If the bleeding is severe apply direct pressure to the bleeding area. Placing some sterile gauze over the area and asking the patient to bite down may assist. (Make sure your fingers are out of the way first).

There are also a few things that you should not do, these are listed below:

  • Do not handle the tooth by its roots, instead only touch it by the part that is normally visible (Crown).
  • Do not try to clean the teeth, you may end up damaging nerves or blood vessels and inadvertently making further dental treatment more difficult.
  • Do not use any chemicals on the truth, some people think it is a good idea to use bleach to sterilise the tooth. Do not do this, it will damage the tooth irreparably.

Once you have completed all of this please call the emergency dental number of your local dental practice, if they are not available you may need to travel to your local accident and emergency department. However, please remember that accident and emergency is our only for extreme dental emergencies such as when a tooth has been knocked out, there is severe bleeding and you are unable to get to a dentist.

Alternate dental emergency phone numbers

If your local dentist is not available you may find that calling NHS direct on 111 may help. They may be able to offer you free advice on what you can do, if there is severe bleeding please only do this after you have controlled the bleeding following steps above.

Treatments the dentist may be able to offer

If your dental emergency is due to a severely broken tooth, or avulsed tooth (knocked out tooth) then your dentist may be able to place a dental implant immediately into this space. This can prevent further problems occurring due to the lack of support which the tooth offered the surrounding bone.

Here is a video which shows how this treatment could be carried out, don’t worry there isn’t any blood!