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What Should You Do In a Dental Emergency?

09 / 08 / 2023

In many cases, you get warning signs of an impending dental problem. Sensitive teeth or bleeding gums are mild symptoms that tell you to seek treatment. These may gradually develop into more severe problems. 

When you’ve got plenty of notice, you can book a dental appointment at your convenience. But some dental problems hit without warning. Sudden pain or the loss of a tooth can cause stress and worry. 

If you’re ill or injured, you can get medical help that same day. So, why’s this not the case with visiting the dentist? 

At GM Dental, we offer same-day emergency dental appointments so you can get treatment quickly. In this guide, we’ll share everything you need to know about emergency dental care. 

What Is a Dental Emergency?

If you’re concerned about a dental problem that’s suddenly started affecting you or has worsened dramatically, this may warrant an emergency dental appointment. So, what defines a dental emergency?

Some problems are quite clearly an emergency. For example, if you’ve been in an accident and you’ve badly damaged or lost a tooth, a quick repair can often save it. Sometimes, pain or swelling can also be considered an emergency.

Here are some examples of potential dental emergencies: 

  • Severe dental pain
  • Chipped, cracked, or broken teeth
  • Dislodged teeth
  • Lost or damaged fillings, crowns, or bridges
  • Abscesses and infections 
  • Facial injuries that result in dental trauma

When Does a Dental Emergency Mean Going to A&E?

Before you rush to a hospital for emergency dental care, stop and think about whether it’s the right course of action. 

As a rule, dental emergencies require treatment from a dentist. You won’t find a dentist at an accident and emergency unit, and doctors aren’t trained to help. 

There are, however, exceptions to this rule. If you have excessive bleeding, facial trauma, or severe life-threatening swelling restricting your breathing, go to A&E. 

How Can You Care for Your Dental Emergency?

If you’re in considerable pain, we’ll do everything possible to see you quickly. In the meantime, you’ll need to take steps to care for your emergency yourself. The nature of your emergency dictates what you should do.  

Missing Tooth

If a tooth comes out, call us right away as it’s sometimes possible to save a tooth. Before you come to your appointment, carefully rinse your tooth under a tap or clean it using your own saliva. Avoid touching the root as you do this. 

Next, rinse your mouth removing food debris which might cause infection. 

It’s sometimes possible to slide a tooth back into the socket. If you’re able to, bite against a clean cloth to keep the tooth in position until your emergency appointment. 

If you’re unable to put the tooth back into its socket, place it in a glass of milk. This helps maintain the right pH balance and preserve the tooth. 

Where a tooth has broken and a portion of the root remains in your mouth, we will need to extract this during your appointment. 

Abscessed Tooth

An abscess is a pocket of pus which forms around a tooth causing pain, swelling, fever, and tenderness in the lymph nodes. Abscesses need treating promptly as they can spread. 

While you’re waiting for your appointment, use a soft toothbrush and don’t floss around the abscess. Just before your appointment, rinse your mouth using warm saltwater. This draws the pus to the surface 

Abscesses are painful, but it’s important to avoid using any painkillers or numbing gels until we’ve seen you. 

Damaged Teeth

While cracked teeth aren’t always an immediate concern, severely damaged teeth are often painful. Additionally, if a fractured tooth has jagged edges, it can cut the inside walls of your mouth.

While waiting for your appointment, rinse your mouth with warm saltwater to ward off bacteria and apply a cold compress to that side of your face to reduce pain and inflammation. 

Emergency Dental Appointments in Barnet, Rochester, and Ashford

At GM Dental, we aim to provide emergency dental care when you need it the most. Our skilled and compassionate team will give support, advise, and treat you promptly. 

If you’re faced with an emergency, call us on 02039741255 to book an appointment.

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