Dental Emergencies

Has the worst happened? Your crown has just come off, you’ve chipped a tooth, or you’re in severe pain and you’re just about to go into an important meeting, on holiday or on a date!

Q. What should I do in a dental emergency?

A. First thing – don’t panic! Emergency Appointments are always available, so please call The Clinic as early in the day as possible and we will do our very best to help you. If you have an emergency outside our clinic hours, please call The Clinic and listen carefully to the instructions on the answer phone. We’ll get you back to work, rest or play in no time!

Q. How can I help myself at home?

A. If you have suffered an unexpected injury that affects your teeth it is advisable that a dentist is sought immediately and that any initial swelling, especially in cases with high trauma or tooth loss, is dealt with using ice packs. In cases where cuts have caused bleeding, it is always best to try and stop the bleeding using pressure and clean the wound as best as possible before visiting a dentist, doctor or accident and emergency department.

Q. I have toothache, what can I do to ease the pain?

A. Rub oil of clove (available at a pharmacist) around the gum next to the tooth that is hurting. A cold compress (ice pack) over the area may help or you can take ibuprofen 400 mg three times a day if you are over 18 and have no history of allergies, asthma or kidney disease. Otherwise two 500mg paracetamol tablets three times a day will help. Bear in mind they should be taken regularly and will take about an hour to take effect. Pain control is better if you take tablets before the pain returns. Avoid hot/cold/sweet foods. Then book to see your dentist. If you feel unwell, have a temperature or the gum starts to swell call The Clinic immediately.

Q. I have a loose filling, what should I do?

A. Work out which tooth the filling came from: looking in the mirror helps. Chew some sugar-free chewing gum. Dry the tooth with tissue/cotton wool. Break off a corresponding amount of chewing gum, or better still use some temporary filling material (available from The Lytham Dental Clinic or large pharmacies) and place it in the cavity. Bite together and grind side to side until the bite feels right. Again be careful not to eat on the tooth. Call The Clinic when convenient.

Q. My crown has come loose or has come off, what should I do?

A. If it is in one piece, clean the inside of the crown with tissue/cotton wool. Then work out which tooth it came off, and looking in the mirror replace it. Once you have worked out which way it fits, check that your teeth bite together as they did before. Take your crown off again remembering its position. Chew some sugar-free chewing gum, then break a small piece off (half the size of a pea). Place this, or better still some temporary filling material (available from The Lytham Dental Clinic or large pharmacies) inside the crown and replace it in the same place as before. Then gently bite down to check it is fully seated. This temporary measure should get you through your day. Try to be careful with sticky foods and try not to eat directly on the tooth. Call The Clinic when convenient.

Q. My child has knocked out his baby tooth, what should I do?

A. Baby teeth start coming out naturally from about age 6. If one is knocked out earlier by accident it is not generally considered a dental emergency and you can leave the tooth. Do not try and put it back as this may damage the adult tooth underneath. The adult tooth will grow eventually. Give some paracetamol mixture (Calpol®, etc) or ibuprofen mixture if the injured gum is sore. If worried, call The Clinic where we will happily advise.

Q. My child has knocked out his permanent tooth, what should I do?

A. This is considered a dental emergency. Firstly do not touch the root of the tooth, instead handle the tooth by the crown (the white part). Clean the tooth with clean water if necessary but be careful not to remove any of the important root tissue. Try and put the tooth back (the correct way round) into the socket as soon as possible – even before seeing a dentist. If you can, reattach the tooth then have your child bite on a handkerchief to secure the tooth in place and see a dentist as soon as possible. If you cannot put the tooth back into the socket, store it in milk or between the teeth and gums of the injured person’s mouth (to keep it moist). If this is not possible, as a last resort the tooth can be placed in the mouth of the parent of the child to transport it to the dentist. Call The Clinic as soon as possible.

Q. I have fractured a front tooth in half, what should I do?

A. Try to find the fractured fragment: this is very important. Call The Clinic as soon as possible. Dr Williams has been using a technique to rebond the fractured piece back in place, with great success. This is better than repairing the tooth with a crown or filling.

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