It is important to understand what to do in case of a dental emergency. UC Dental prides itself on making time available for any patient in pain to be seen on the day of calling. There will however be times when we cannot see you immediately (public holidays, Sundays, middle of the night), and in these cases it is important you know what to do until help is available.
Knocked a tooth out?
Have you knocked your ADULT tooth out in some sort of accident? This is one situation where acting quickly and correctly can make a huge difference to the long term result. The best treatment involves getting the tooth returned to its original position as quickly as possible. Immediately call a dentist for an emergency appointment. If you can, see your dentist within an hour of when your tooth is knocked out for the best chance of the tooth surviving the trauma. Handle the tooth by the crown (the top), not by the root (the pointed part on the bottom). Touching the root of the tooth can damage cells that are necessary to reattach the tooth to the bone. Gently rinse the tooth in water (ideally Saline or salt water) to remove dirt. Do not scrub the tooth! If you think you can, push the tooth back into the hole it came out of, making sure it is level with where it was before. If this is not possible, place the clean tooth in your mouth between the cheek and gum to keep it moist. It is important not to let the tooth dry out. If it is not possible to store the tooth in the mouth, wrap the tooth in a clean cloth or gauze and immerse it in milk or saline solution, available at chemists.
If a BABY TOOTH is knocked out, the tooth should not be replanted. The patient should be seen as soon as possible to make sure there are no remaining pieces of the tooth, though generally this is not an urgent appointment and could be made the following day without concern.
Swelling associated with a sore tooth?
Sometimes an infected tooth can lead to swelling of the soft tissues nearby to the tooth. If you notice any swelling at all, you should see your dentist immediately. Usually swelling tends to be localised to the area that the problem started, however in some more serious infections, swelling can spread quickly to other areas. Lower teeth can lead to swelling that affects your neck and airway, and this is considered a life threatening problem and needs to be treated without delay.
Likewise upper teeth can create swelling that if left untreated, can progress backwards towards the brain. Again this can become life threatening, and as such needs to be treated immediately. If this occurs, contact the emergency department of your local hospital, and they will provide medicine that will decrease the swelling quickly.
UC Dental takes these matters very seriously, and should we be open, we will make time available for you to be seen, so please do not hesitate to call us.