What to do when you…
Knock out a tooth
If your child has knocked out one of their primary (baby) teeth, DON’T attempt to put it back in. Instead, phone for an emergency appointment with one of our dentists, and bring the tooth with you if possible. Treatment will depend upon whether the entire tooth or part of the tooth has been knocked out. If you’re unsure if the knocked out tooth is a baby one, place it in milk or saliva (as described below), and visit us ASAP.
If you have knocked out an adult tooth, follow these steps:
- Locate the tooth as quickly as possible, picking it up by the crown. AVOID touching the root of the tooth.
- If the tooth is dirty, rinse in milk. If milk isn’t available, you can rinse in tap water, but only for a second or two. DON’T scrub or soak the tooth.
- Insert the tooth back into its previous position. Ensure the tooth is the right way around and check in a mirror that it looks ‘right’ compared to the surrounding teeth.
- When the tooth is ‘in’ bite down on a soft cloth or tissue to help keep the tooth in place.
- If the tooth wobbles, fold a small piece of aluminium foil over the tooth to help keep it in place, or if your mouthguard is handy, put it back on to help stabilise the wobbly tooth.
- If you can’t get the tooth back in, don’t panic. Keep the tooth moist by storing it in a container with milk or saliva, ensuring the whole tooth is immersed. DON’T place the tooth in water, and DON’T wrap it in tissue or cloth as it will dry out the tooth.
- Visit us immediately, ideally within 30 minutes. This sooner you see us, the greater the chance the tooth with survive.
Break a tooth
While you don’t need to panic about a broken tooth, you should make an appointment to see us as soon as possible. If there are any tooth fragments, collect them, place them in milk (as described above), and bring them with you to your appointment. In some cases, it may be possible to attach them to the affected tooth.
If you experience a blow to the teeth or the mouth, there still may be damage, even if you can’t see it. Cracks to the tooth or damage to the root of the tooth can lead to infection, decay and the loss of a tooth, if left unchecked. Give us a call to make an appointment, so we can assess if there is damage, and whether you need treatment.
Lose a filling or a crown
Losing a filling or a crown isn’t a dental emergency, but you do need to see us as soon as possible, to prevent further damage to the tooth. If you lose a crown, put it in a safe place and bring it with you to your appointment. Take care with hot or cold foods and drink, as the exposed tooth tissue may be more sensitive.
Have a toothache
A toothache is usually a sign that something is wrong! Ring our dental practice to make an appointment. Explain that you are experiencing a toothache so we know to schedule you as soon as possible. In the meantime, painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen may be used to relieve the pain.
Have a swollen gum
Swollen gums in general are a sign of early gum disease (gingivitis), but other things such as improper brushing or flossing, tobacco use, hormonal changes or chemotherapy may also contribute. However, if you have one gum that is particularly swollen and sore, it may be a symptom of an underlying infection. Make an appointment as soon as you can, so we can assess the problem, as you may require antibiotic treatment.
Experience complications after a dental procedure
The most common problems patients experience after a dental procedure are sensitivity, pain, swelling or bleeding.
Sometimes a tooth may become sensitive to hot and cold, following dental treatment. This is not unusual and usually improves within 1-2 weeks. A simple treatment is to place sensitive toothpaste as an ointment overnight around the affected tooth. Please contact us if you’d like a free sample. More prolonged sensitivity is generally a sign of a contaminated nerve to the tooth, and requires assessment and treatment by your dentist.
You may experience pain after deep fillings or extractions. If you are able to take analgesia, your dentist may recommend you have some before the local anaesthetic wears off. Pain that increases 3-4 days after treatment is often an indication of a problem and needs to be checked by a dentist. Please call us so we can help make you more comfortable.
This may be due to soft tissue inflammation which usually improves by taking anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen. Occasionally there may be swelling following root canal or extraction procedures. Please contact us to discuss if you require prescription medication.
When anaesthetic wears off, blood flow to the area increases, causing what’s called a ‘rebound bleed’. This is common. Apply firm pressure by biting on gauze swabs, or a clean cotton handkerchief or tea towel, whilst seated with your head elevated for 20-30 minutes. This should stop the bleeding. Some medications alter clotting and if you are unable to stop the bleeding, your dentist can provide some topical medication to help clotting.
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