You never know when you might need the services of an emergency dentist so it’s useful to know how best to handle a dental emergency.
Dental emergencies can happen at any time and if you’ve ever had one, then you know how frightening and/or painful they can be.
Many people, however, aren’t sure what is termed a dental emergency, who they should call, and what they can do at home when they experience a dental emergency.
Never fear, we’ve put together a few simple guidelines for you to follow to ensure that you’re prepared in the case of a dental emergency. So here goes ….
Let’s start by discussing the type of situations where you may need emergency dental care.
Is it urgent?
Certain dental emergencies are more urgent than others and need immediate attention from an emergency dentist whereas some can wait. It’s important for you to understand the difference between the two, particularly if you find yourself in pain or you suffer a dental injury over the weekend or during the night when dental surgeries are normally closed.
Below are some examples of urgent dental scenarios
- A dislodged or knocked-out tooth
- Injured jaw
- Painful toothache that will not subside
- Extreme tooth sensitivity
- Bleeding gums that will not stop
- Painful facial swelling
- Swollen cheeks combined with a toothache
Any of these problems require immediate emergency dental care. So it’s best not to delay. Get in touch with your dentist right away if you are suffering from any of these problems.
Most dentists have an out-of-hours number that you can call but If, for whatever reason, you still can’t reach your dentist then go to your nearest hospital emergency department where you should be able to receive help.
So, now you know what are regarded as urgent dental emergencies, let’s take a look at non-urgent dental emergencies.
Non-urgent dental emergencies
The following dental situations are classed as non-urgent dental emergencies:
- Broken or cracked tooth (unless it is causing you considerable pain)
- Food stuck between teeth
- Small chip in a tooth
- Lost filling, crown, or bridge
- Broken or damaged night guard or retainer
- Dull toothache
- Mild tooth sensitivity
While the above scenarios don’t call for urgent emergency dental care, it’s still recommended that you contact an emergency dentist as soon as possible. While you may be able to wait a day or two, it’s important to notify your dentist about the situation.
What to do if you need an emergency dentist, who to contact?
Your regular dentist is the obvious person to contact first when you experience a dental emergency but in some cases, it’s best to go straight to the emergency department of your local hospital. Generally speaking though, this should only be when you’re in unbearable pain or the bleeding won’t stop, and your dentist’s clinic is shut.
If you’re not in excruciating pain, then contact your dentist and explain the situation. At Randwick Smiles, we operate an emergency dentist service and keep a couple of slots free in our schedule for patients needing same-day dental treatment.
What you can do at home if you have a dental emergency
Depending on your dental emergency, there are a few things you can do at home to help ease your pain while you’re waiting to receive dental treatment. The most important thing you can do is stay calm. Panicking triggers a number of responses in your body that can make the situation worse, so try and remain as calm as you can while you seek the assistance you need.
Here are a few things you can do at home to ease discomfort or pain caused by a dental emergency:
- Rinse your mouth with warm salt water to reduce any swelling and relieve any irritation
- If you have knocked out a tooth, pick it up by the crown and place it in a small container of milk until you can get to the emergency dentist
- Try flossing around an affected tooth since you may have something stuck in the gum tissue or between your teeth
- Use a cold compress to numb irritation, reduce swelling, and stop any bleeding that has occurred
How to prevent dental emergencies
If you’ve suffered a dental emergency, you may be wondering what you can do in the future to prevent it from happening again. The best thing is to visit your dentist for twice-yearly dental check-ups. This way you are much less likely to have something unexpected or painful crop up in your mouth.
We understand that a dental emergency is never pleasant. However, knowing how to assess the situation and who to contact and when can make the difference between saving and losing a tooth.
If you’re not sure if you have a dental emergency, then it’s always best to be on the safe side and contact your dentist for advice. At Randwick Smiles our friendly caring dentists are experienced in dealing with all dental emergencies, so whatever your dental problem no matter how serious, we’re here to help. Don’t delay call us on (02) 8188 4625.