What Are the Most Common Dental Emergencies? | RTD
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What Are the Most Common Dental Emergencies?

If you have a sudden toothache, your tooth is damaged or knocked out, or other problems, it's important to see a dentist for professional care as soon as possible. Delaying your visit could make a problem worse or more difficult to treat.

If you have a dental emergency in the Gold Coast, call Robina Town Dental now on 07 5575 9100 to talk to our emergency dentists. We make time for urgent patients every day, and we'll try to see you as quickly as we can.

What to do in a dental emergency

Injuries and sudden pains in your mouth can be worrying, but if you're experiencing a dental emergency, it's important not to panic. Your dentist can advise you over the phone about any measures you should take to prevent a problem from getting worse, and book you in for an appointment if you need urgent care.

Knowing what to do in common situations could help you to feel calm and improve your chances of making a full recovery. Here are some tips for how to deal with common dental emergencies and how your dentist can provide a long-term solution.

1. Toothache

A toothache is a common symptom of many conditions, and isn't always an emergency. However, if your tooth pain is severe, started suddenly, or happens when you bite down, you should see a dentist as soon as possible, as it's possible your tooth may be vulnerable to infection or further damage.

To ease a toothache in the short term, you can try:

  • Rinsing your mouth with warm water
  • Taking pain relief medication (taking care not to let it contact your gums)
  • Applying a cold compress or ice pack to your face

Your dentist will examine your mouth and ask about any other symptoms you may have to determine the problem and suitable treatments.

2. Chipped or cracked tooth

Teeth may be damaged by impacts, biting something hard, forceful teeth grinding or other causes. Even minor cracks can make a tooth vulnerable to infection, and more severe damage can risk injuries to your mouth.

If your tooth is damaged, you should first rinse your mouth to remove any pieces or debris. Applying a cold compress to that side of your mouth could help to relieve any associated pain and swelling, and placing soft gauze on the tooth should help to stop bleeding before you can see your dentist.

Dentists may use a crown to repair a chipped or cracked tooth. You may need a root canal treatment if the crack reaches the centre of your tooth.

3. Knocked-out tooth

A knocked-out tooth is a serious dental emergency that needs urgent care.

If the tooth is still in one piece, and you can see a dentist in less than an hour, there's a chance it could be successfully reattached. However, in most cases, your dentist will discuss your options for replacing the tooth with a dental implant, bridge or denture once your mouth has healed.

If you want to try to save a tooth, first see if you can put the tooth back into your gum, taking care not to touch the roots or cause injury. If not, carefully place it in a container with some milk or saliva and take it to the dental clinic. They will let you know whether or not it can be saved.

If a child loses a primary tooth (baby tooth), this shouldn’t be placed back into the gum, as this could damage the permanent tooth that will eventually come through in its place. Your child’s dentist may discuss options such as space maintainers to prevent the surrounding teeth from shifting into the gap.

4. Lost crown or filling

If you break or lose a dental crown, filling, veneer or other restoration, this could leave your tooth vulnerable to bacteria or further damage. You should see a dentist as soon as possible so they can repair or replace the restoration and check for any other problems.

If your tooth is exposed, you can cover the cavity with a piece of sugar-free gum for temporary protection before you see a dentist. You shouldn’t try to repair dental work yourself.

5. Broken braces

Braces and aligners are designed to put constant pressure on your teeth during orthodontic treatment. If they become lost or damaged, this could interrupt your treatment, or your teeth could start to shift position.

You should see a dentist as soon as possible to repair or replace your orthodontic appliance. If brace wires have come loose or broken, they should be moved into a position where they won’t cause damage or injury, or covered with orthodontic wax to prevent contact.

6. Dental abscess

If you see a pimple or swollen area on your gum, this could be a sign of a dental abscess. This is a serious condition that needs urgent care to prevent the infection from spreading and eventually causing tooth loss and other complications.

For immediate relief from pain and swelling, you can rinse your mouth with a salt water solution, use a cold compress or ice pack, or take over-the-counter medication. Abscesses are sometimes caused by an impacted wisdom tooth and may involve minor surgery to treat, as well as antibiotics.

7. Facial swelling

Swelling of the face around the mouth may be a sign of an oral infection, so you should see a dentist for a diagnosis and to discuss treatments.

If your face is swollen, you should avoid lying flat and keep your head elevated. It’s also important to drink plenty of water. Placing a cold compress or ice pack against your cheek could help to reduce any accompanying pain.

8. Bleeding

Bleeding of the mouth may have a number of causes, from recent dental treatments and injuries to a sign of gum disease. Bleeding normally stops on its own when applying a clean cloth or gauze for up to 20 minutes. If it doesn’t stop, or keeps happening, you should see an emergency dentist or visit your nearest emergency room.

Don’t rinse your mouth and avoid eating and drinking, sucking, spitting or smoking while your mouth is bleeding or likely to bleed. Keep your head elevated and don’t lie flat before you can see the dentist. A cold compress on the outside of the mouth could also help to control bleeding.

9. Mouth sore

A sore spot in your mouth may be a mouth ulcer, caused by an injury, or a symptom of gum disease or other diseases. Mouth sores aren’t always a dental emergency, but you should contact your dentist if the sore doesn’t seem to be healing or is getting larger or more painful.

Taking over-the-counter painkillers and rinsing your mouth with hydrogen peroxide solution may provide temporary relief from mouth sores.

10. Something trapped in your teeth

If you get food or another object stuck in your teeth, first try to dislodge it gently using floss or by brushing your teeth. You should avoid using sharp objects such as toothpicks, as these could scratch the enamel off your teeth or cause injuries in the mouth.

If you can’t remove the object, make an appointment with a dentist. Allowing food to stay trapped can be painful and could attract bacteria.

Dental emergency app

If you’re in an emergency situation, our dentists can give you advice over the phone about what immediate steps to take before you can see us. We also recommend the ToothSOS app by the International Association of Dental Traumatology, which has step-by-step guides to many common dental emergencies.

You can download the app free for iOS or Android devices.

How to avoid a dental emergency

Accidental injuries can’t always be avoided, but you can take steps to lower your risk of being involved in a serious dental emergency, such as:

  • Wearing a mouthguard when you play sport. A sports mouthguard cushions impacts to the face, especially when the mouthguard is custom made by a dentist.
  • Not biting into anything too hard, especially if you have worn or weakened teeth.
  • Not using your teeth for anything else. Whether it’s biting fingernails, crunching ice cubes or opening packaging, bad habits can result in dental emergencies.
  • Following good daily care for your teeth and gums, eating a healthy and balanced diet, and seeing a dentist once or twice a year for a check-up and oral hygiene treatments.

Emergency dentist Gold Coast

At Robina Town Dental, we know that some things just can't wait. Our qualified and experienced team can help with all types of common dental emergencies. We give priority to urgent patients during normal clinic hours when possible, and we can also give you expert advice over the phone about caring for your immediate symptoms before you visit us.

Call our friendly team on 07 5575 9100 or text 0413 062 026. For less urgent matters, you can also contact us. Our Gold Coast dental clinic is conveniently located in Robina Town Centre, and we welcome patients from all surrounding areas including Burleigh Heads, Mudgeeraba, Miami, Varsity Lakes, Burleigh Waters, Merrimac, Mermaid Waters, Worongary and Clear Island Waters.

Call Now: 07 5575 9100