Even with a great oral hygiene routine and regular appointments dental emergencies can still arise. Your usual dentist should always be your first port of call but what if it’s after hours or you’re on holiday? First things first, you should try and manage any pain with over the counter medicines but be sure to stick to the dosage recommendation. If you’re dealing with a severe dental problem outside of normal office hours, you will likely need an emergency dentist or even a trip to the emergency room. Issues related to dental health would rarely be considered necessary for a 999 response so avoid calling, but before you hotfoot it to the emergency room consider whether it is a real emergency or whether with the right pain management it can wait until the morning.
Things to consider
- Lots of people experience toothache at some point or another but tooth pain doesn’t always mean a dental emergency. Consider how severe the pain is and where the pain is coming from.
- Is your tooth loose? A loose tooth even when it’s not painful is a big problem. Once you have your adult teeth, you shouldn’t lose them.
- Do you have an infection, swelling or pus can be an indicator of an infection or an abscess which can potentially be life threatening. Treatment should not wait.
- Are you bleeding? Bleeding isn’t always a sign of an emergency. Bleeding gums for example can happen occasionally when brushing. How severe is the bleeding and where is it coming from? If the bleeding is more than just light gum bleeding then any treatment to stop it, alleviate severe pain, or save a tooth is considered an emergency.
A chipped or cracked tooth isn’t necessarily a dental emergency unless it is very painful or has left sharp pieces of tooth which could potentially cause damage to other areas of your mouth.
A mild toothache can also wait and shouldn’t be considered as an emergency unless you have a fever, severe pain and/or painful swelling or bumps on the gums.
A knocked out tooth, is considered a dental emergency and if treated quickly enough it is likely that your original tooth will be saved. Pick up the tooth by the crown, rinse it if it’s dirty and keep it moist. If you can put it back in it’s hole in the gum then do this. Otherwise keep it in milk or saliva.
It is important to note that the treatment provided in an emergency dental appointment may well be temporary, especially if the emergency is outside of normal office hours. The best way to avoid needing an emergency dentist is to practice good oral hygiene. Brush at least twice a day and floss regularly. Make sure you have regular check ups at your dentist. It is recommended to see a dentist every six months that way any potential problems can be spotted early on and a preventative treatment plan can be put in place.