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What Is A "Dental Emergency"

While certain dental problems may be uncomfortable or embarrassing: such as a lost crown, fractured denture or having simply lost part of a filling, these are not generally regarded as emergencies.

Whilst they can be uncomfortable they can generally wait without damage to health for the next working day appointment.

The following are regarded as Dental Emergencies:

  • Uncontrolled bleeding from the mouth area
  • The complete avulsion (loss of tooth from the mouth) following trauma
  • The severe loosening or fracture of a tooth following trauma
  • The suspected fracture of a jaw
  • Where any foreign body within the mouth, or any loose structure, poses threat to breathing (airway)
  • Unmanageable dental pain

Emergency Dental Visit

During normal working hours we shall try our very best to see any of our patients with problems: usually the same day. Priority, of course, goes to our registered patients, but where we are able we shall also help all those people who seek our help: regardless as to whether they have a dentist or not.

If emergency treatment is carried out within working hours, we generally do not charge other than the actual cost of examination and treatment.

Please call the Practice Number and we will make arrangements to help you: 01646 690580.

Alternatively you can email us at Dentist@healthysmile.org.uk

Out Of Hours Treatment

When out of hours, (between 1730 - 0830 hours) we are generally unable to assist. The same applies to most dentists: private or NHS.

This of course is NOT the case if you hold practice 'membership' : in which case you have direct access to your 'on call' dentist by means of the member's emergency hotline. This service is unique to our practices.

Membership is available to all practice patients subject to enrolment

Click Here to visit our Members Page for full details

If you are not a member and require help during a weekend or a bank holiday period, you may leave a message on the practice phone. It is checked for messages usually between 1030 and 1230 hours.

Where a message is left clearly giving contact details, citing an emergency, one of our dentists will call you with a view to helping you.

Where this cannot be sorted over the phone, an emergency appointment may be offered subject to a charge (unless you have silver or gold membership - see Members Page). This cost covers the dentist and a dental nurse attending but not any treatment costs and is currently £75.

If you are experiencing problems that simply cannot wait until the practice is opened then we advise:

Contact NHS Direct Helpline for advice on 0845 4647. They are available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year to offer help.

Contact the Practice email for advice from a dentist (within 4 hours normally): dentist@healthysmile.org.uk

If very urgent, attend your local A&E Department.

How To Help Your Self In A Dental Emergency

How can you help yourself?

We understand that we cannot always be there when an emergency occurs, but one of the best things we think we can do when dissaster strikes is to give you the advice to help yourself. Below is a list of the most common dental emergencies that you can treat while waiting for a Dentist.

Bleeding

The mouth bleeds heavily after trauma or tooth loss. Unless you have a medical condition that prevents your blood clotting, you will most probably stop bleeding by yourself without complications. To help this:

  • Place a tightly wrapped cotton or tissue roll over the bleeding area.
  • Press or bite on this roll firmly for at least 30 minutes without dabbing, removing the roll or reducing pressure.
  • If this fails, repeat but do for 45 minutes, and then repeat again!
  • Remember if you remove the roll quickly you may pull out the clot and it will start bleeding again.
  • Be gentle.
  • Biting down on a wet tea bag may also help as the tannins are a good aid to clotting.

Only if the bleeding persists in a heavy manner after these measures should you then consider re- attending your dentist or presenting at your local A&E (Accident & Emergency Department of Hospital).

Avulsed Tooth (Lost From Mouth)

An avulsed tooth is a very serious dental injury that requires immediate attention. Acting fast with proper guidance can save the tooth and eliminate the need for complex treatment such as a dental implant.

If a tooth is knocked-out (concern mainly for adult front teeth), carefully retrieve the tooth without touching the root portion. Only handle the tooth from the crown (the part that is usually visible in the mouth). This avoids contamination of the root surface.

An attempt should be made to immediately made to place the tooth back into the socket. If the tooth roots are very dirty, gently rinse the tooth in a small amount of warm water or milk. Do not remove any tissue or ligaments that remain on the root surface. Gently place the tooth back into the socket ensuring it faces the correct way. Make arrangements to attend the dentist or A&E.

If the tooth cannot be placed back into the socket, hold the tooth between the cheek and gum as the best way to preserve the tooth is for it to be stored in natural saliva in the mouth.

If this is not possible a kit can be purchased from most pharmacies. The kit contains a liquid that is very similar to natural saliva. The tooth can be placed inside the solution and transported with the patient to the dentist. If the kit is not available, the tooth can be stored in milk.

The most important aspect is to get to the dentist as soon as possible. The tooth must be placed in the socket and stabilized within, ideally, an hour of being removed.

Following these recommendations and receiving prompt dental attention can mean the difference between saving and losing a natural tooth. In the event that the tooth cannot be saved, a dental implant may be the best way to replace the missing tooth.

Dental Trauma

Injury to the teeth or mouth can happen due to an accident or sports injury. Dental trauma may not always seem serious. But even minor injuries can cause infection or other problems. The key to saving your smile is getting help as soon as you are able, certainly within a couple of days, when an x-ray can confirm or exclude internal damage to bone or teeth. Certainly: the faster you're treated, the better the chances your tooth or teeth can be saved. Go to your dentist or the A&E at once if: you break one or more teeth, you have one or more teeth knocked out (see avulsed teeth above), a cut on your lip or tongue won't stop bleeding (see bleeding above).

To prevent such injuries it is strongly recommended that sport active patients (of all ages) have a professionally fitted mouthguard. This includes sports such as squash, football and tennis as well as all contact sports (including rugby). Typically such a mouthguard costs £60 and are far better than the cheaper, more bulky and less comfortable 'one fits all' guards bought from sports shops.

Loss Of Filling or Crown

Never use super glue to fix a lost filling or crown. There could be an underlying problem, such as tooth decay, that caused the filling or crown to fall off and this should be addressed by a dentist as soon as possible.

An Emergency solution (ideal if you are away and cannot get to a dentist) is to use an over-the-counter dental cement available from most chemists or pharmacists. These are generally pastes or putties that can be pushed into the hole or into the crown so it can be stuck back into place. They are temporary fixes only. Sugarless gum or denture adhesive may also be used help keep a lost crown or filling in place.

Dental Pain

Early dental pain can often be controlled in the short term by self bought analgesics: Ibuprofen or Paracetamol being the usual.

Sucking on an aspirin tablet next to a hurting tooth will not work and may burn the gum tissue.

Rinsing out your mouth with warm water and flossing with dental floss (or using inter dental brushes) may also help as this helps to remove any food particles that may be causing irritation: especially around the gum area.

It is essential then to visit a dentist as soon as practical so that they (we) can assess and fix the problem. This is important even if the pain goes away as there may well be residual damage to your teeth and/or gums.

This can always be potentially serious and should be addressed immediately to avoid the risk of permanent damage or future expensive and extensive treatment. You should always call your dentist immediately concerning any dental injury or concern as early intervention may provide for easier, cheaper and longer term results.

If you have concerns about visiting with us, please let us know and we can find ways to help you overcome any fears or anxieties (see section on Nervous Patients). Whatever you do: do not ignore problems in your mouth. Let us have a look at it and let us tell you if things are all right or on the downward spiral of damage.

Contact us and leave a message on 01646 690580

or email us: dentist@healthysmile.org.uk

Page last updated: 12 Sep 2017  12:30PM