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What to Do in a Dental Emergency

10 Mar 2022

Often, the symptoms of dental problems can come on quite quickly causing considerable pain and discomfort when you least expect it. Dental pain can be troublesome, and it can stop you from going about your normal daily activities.

If you had a sudden stomach ache, you’d make an appointment to see your doctor that day. So why don’t you do the same with your dentist? 

You might think that you need to wait weeks until you can get your dental problem seen, but if you’re facing a dental emergency in Cheam, Chessington, or Stonecot, Love Teeth are here to help and can often see you on the same day.

Here’s everything you need to know about dental emergencies.

What Is a Dental Emergency?

Before you take action, you need to decide whether what you’re experiencing is actually an emergency, or whether it’s something you can wait to see your dentist about at your next appointment.

Some dental issues are quite obviously emergencies. If you’ve just had an accident and you’ve badly damaged or lost a tooth, you’ll want this to be fixed quickly. But if you’re in pain or have swelling, does that warrant an emergency appointment? On some occasions, it does.

Coming to see us sooner rather than later can often make a big difference in averting further complications.

If you’re in any doubt about whether or not your situation is an emergency, give us a call on 020 8337 0629

Avoid Visiting Accident and Emergency

When experiencing any kind of healthcare-related emergency, the instinct is often to head to the A&E department of your local hospital. Don’t. If there are no other medical problems, dental emergencies should typically be dealt with by your dentist.

A doctor in an A&E department is not generally equipped to deal with the majority of dental emergencies. The only exception to this would be if you have facial trauma, excessive bleeding, or considerable swelling in your mouth that could be life-threatening.

Caring for a Dental Emergency

Chances are, your dental emergency is quite painful. We’ll do our best to get you in for the earliest possible appointment, but until you arrive in the clinic and while you wait to be seen, you may need to take care of your emergency. 

Abscessed Tooth

When you have an abscessed tooth, we’ll need to see you as quickly as possible. The pocket of pus that forms around your tooth can lead to facial swelling, bring on a fever, and cause the lymph nodes in your neck to become tender.

If an abscessed tooth is left untreated, it can spread to the jaw and elsewhere in the body. We’ll get you in at the first opportunity, however, in the meantime, it’s best to avoid consuming hot food and drinks.

When brushing your teeth, use a soft toothbrush and avoid flossing in the area surrounding the abscess.

Immediately before your appointment, rinse your mouth with warm saltwater. This will help draw out the pus to the surface.

Although abscesses can be very painful, avoid using painkillers and numbing gels before your appointment.

Cracked or Chipped Teeth

Ordinarily, a cracked tooth won’t cause too much concern, meaning that you may not need to visit us immediately. That said, in severe cases, they can be painful. Broken edges of a tooth can be sharp, and there may be a chance that this could scratch or cut your mouth.

After calling us to make your appointment, you can look after the fractured tooth by rinsing your mouth out with warm water. 

To alleviate some of the pain, you could also apply a cold compress to the area of your face nearest the broken tooth. 

Missing Tooth

If a tooth has been knocked out, particularly at the front of your mouth, it can be a cosmetic concern. Nobody wants a big gap in their smile. Besides this, the gaps where teeth have been knocked out can cause other dental problems.

Spaces between teeth can become havens for plaque, leading to an increased risk of tooth decay and dental infection. Not only this, but the neighbouring teeth may start to move into the gap, and your jaw may also start to become weaker as it no longer needs to retain a tooth.

If a tooth has been knocked out, coming to see us straight away may mean we may be able to save it. Once you’ve called us to make an immediate appointment, run your tooth under a tap for a few seconds or use your own saliva to clean it. Don’t touch the root as you do this, hold it by the crown.

Rinse your mouth out and make sure there is no food debris as this could cause infection.

You may be able to slide the tooth back into its socket. If you can do this, use a clean cloth to bite against to keep it in place until we can see you.

If you can’t get the tooth back into the socket, don’t worry. Put the tooth in a glass of milk until you can bring it to us. Milk is great for ensuring the pH balance for the tooth is just right while preserving it.

Have You Got a Dental Emergency?

Dental emergencies can be scary and you may have worries or anxiety about what will happen next. Our aim is always to see you as soon as possible so we can get a head start on maximising the effectiveness of any treatment while reducing any discomfort.

If you’re experiencing dental pain, swelling, or have lost or broken a tooth, call us as soon as possible and we’ll do everything we can to get you in for an immediate appointment. With clinics in Surrey and Sutton, we’re always happy to help turn a crisis around.

Get in touch straight away on 020 8337 0629 to find out how we can help.


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