What to do in a dental emergency

If you’ve experienced a dental emergency, you know how scary and painful it can be. Dental emergencies can happen anywhere, anytime, often when you least expect it. 

If you have a dental emergency it’s important to take action, ignoring the problem can result in more serious damage in the long-term. But what do you do in a dental emergency? 

First, what is a dental emergency? 

A dental emergency is any problem with your teeth or gum that requires immediate professional care to stop any further damage or reduce pain. A dental emergency is often painful and can stop you carrying on with your day. 

Some dental emergencies include: 

  • Broken, cracked or chipped teeth.
  • Knocked out teeth.
  • Severe toothache and swelling.
  • Lost fillings or crowns. 
  • Injuries to gums. 
  • Continued bleeding.
  • Cysts or abscesses.

What to do in a dental emergency

If you’re in South Brisbane and experience a dental emergency, the first thing to do is seek immediate assistance and call The Practice on 07 3733 3223. We’ll do everything we can to arrange an appointment with one of our dentists as soon as possible. 

In the meantime, here are a few things you can do in a dental emergency:

Knocked out tooth

If you have had an accident and knocked out an adult tooth, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible to get the best long term result. 

We want to get your tooth returned to its original position as soon as possible and seeing a dentist within an hour of your tooth being knocked out gives the best chance of the tooth surviving through the trauma. 

We recommend handling the tooth carefully, avoiding touching the root (bottom) and only touching the crown (top). If you touch the root you risk damaging cells that are needed to reattach the tooth to the bone. 

You can rinse the tooth in water (saline or saltwater is best) to remove any dirt – but please don’t scrub it! If you can, try placing the tooth back into the space it came from, otherwise keep the tooth in your mouth, between your gum and cheek to keep it moist. Don’t allow the tooth to dry out! Another option is to wrap the tooth in a clean cloth or gauze and place it into milk or a saline solution – which you can purchase from a chemist. 

What about baby teeth? While it can be scary for a child, having a baby tooth knocked out isn’t quite as serious as an adult tooth. If a baby tooth is knocked out, it shouldn’t be replanted. We recommend visiting our dentists to ensure there aren’t any pieces of the tooth still remaining. You won’t have to worry about visiting the dentist immediately, the next day will be fine. 

Loose tooth

If you have had an injury in the South Brisbane area and a tooth is now loose or moved out of alignment, it’s time to call an emergency dentist at The Practice, West End

If you can, we recommend gently moving the tooth back into place, however you shouldn’t use any force that causes the tooth to fall out. Try and hold it in place until you can visit the emergency dentist. 

Cracked, chipped or broken teeth

While it’s not possible to put your tooth back together if it is cracked, chipped or broken, a dentist may be able to restore it. Book an emergency dental appointment as soon as possible. 

In the meantime, gently rinse out your mouth with warm water, and if you need it, place an ice pack on your cheek near the damaged tooth to reduce swelling. 

dental practice west end

Swelling and toothache

When a tooth is infected it can cause you great pain and lead to soft tissue swelling. You’ll notice the swelling is generally around the area that is causing the problem, but it can spread quickly. If you have severe toothache and swelling you should seek professional help immediately

Other problems can occur and from lower teeth the swelling can affect your neck and airway, which is considered a life threatening problem and you should seek help immediately. Swelling of the upper teeth can also cause major problems and even affect your brain. In this case, we recommend contacting the emergency department at your local hospital. 

Missing filling or crown

Without a filling or crown in place your tooth can become infected, causing a lot of pain. We recommend calling us for an emergency appointment right away. 

Cysts or abscesses

Cysts and abscesses can indicate a serious infection and should be seen by a dentist for treatment asap. 

Severe injury to mouth or jaw

If you receive a serious injury to your mouth or jaw, we recommend visiting the emergency department at your local hospital as soon as possible. 

The Practice West End – Emergency dentist

At The Practice we pride ourselves on our ability to make time for any patient in pain to be seen on the day you call. We don’t want you to experience pain for longer than you should and our dentists will try and fit you as promptly as we can. 

For emergency appointments at our South Brisbane dental clinic, contact us on 07 3733 3223.

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