Dental Emergencies

It is rare that you will ever suffer from anything that could be considered a dental emergency but in the unlikely event that you do , here is some useful advice and guidance on what you can do.

What is a Dental Emergency?

We would consider it a dental emergency if you have:

  1. severe bleeding dental bleeding as a result of an accident
  2. severe dental pain (that does not respond to painkillers)
  3. bleeding from an extracted tooth which you cannot stop
  4. Sudden and severe swelling around the tooth, gum or mouth. The swelling may or may not be accompanied by a bad taste or bad breath.

Clearly if you have had an accident and knocked the tooth out this is a dental emergency, or if you wake up one morning with a large dental abscess then this is also an emergency.

A chipped tooth, dental crown, dental veneer or filling would not normally be considered an emergency, so please make a regular appointment to see your dentist to have this problem remedied.

Out Of Hours Emergencies

Out of hours emergency service is available to patients after normal working hours. This service is available to patients of Lostwithiel Dental or patients that have not got a regular dentist or visiting the area.

The NHS service is provided to patients who have a dental emergency (acute dental pain, acute infection, bleeding or trauma). This out of hour’s emergency service can not treat missing fillings, loose crowns, denture issues or any other minor problem.

If you have a genuine dental emergency outside of the practice opening hours and you are a NHS or Private patient please call 03330 063 300 (Open 7.30a.m– 10.30 pm).

If you are a practice plan member please call 0800 783 2337.

If you have a non urgent dental problem and are a patient of the practice, please contact us as usual during working hours and we will endeavour to assist you ASAP.

In the event that you do have a genuine emergency here is some advice.

Severe Toothache

If you have severe toothache when it dental practice is not open then follow these simple steps.

If you are over 16 years old take painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, these can help to reduce pain and discomfort was do while waiting for your emergency dental appointment. You may also find that a cold compress applied directly over the area onto your cheek can help to reduce the pain, please do not apply ice directly to your tooth as this will increase pain!

Arrange on appointment ASAP with your dentist.

Dental Emergency Management

Should you need to manage a dental emergency with a tooth that has been knocked out here are our top tips:

  1. Do everything you can to put the tooth back into the mouth that it has come from, if possible put it back into the socket ensuring it is the right way round.
  2. If you can’t do this then keep the tooth wet by placing it in a sealed container containing milk.
  3. Some local chemists sell dental emergency kits; these contain a container and sterile solution. It might be worth thinking about this and keeping one in your first aid cupboard.
  4. Apply a gentle cold compress to the patient’s cheek, avoiding any extremes of temperature as this could increase the pain.
  5. If the bleeding is severe apply direct pressure to the bleeding area. Placing some sterile gauze ideally or handkerchief over the area and bite down.

There are also a few things that you should not do, these are listed below:

  • Do not handle the tooth by its roots; instead only touch it by the part that is normally visible (Crown).
  • Do not try to clean the teeth; you may end up damaging nerves or blood vessels and inadvertently making further dental treatment more difficult.
  • Do not use any chemicals on the tooth, some people think it is a good idea to use bleach to sterilise the tooth. Do not do this; it will damage the tooth irreparably.

Contact the practice or out of hours emergency number , if they are not available you may need to travel to your local accident and emergency department.

Non-urgent Dental problems

A lost filling or crown is rarely an emergency. However, it can be painful because the exposed tooth tissue is often sensitive to temperature, pressure or air. If you lose a crown, put it in a safe place and make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as you can.
Don’t wait too long. What is left of the tooth will not be as strong as your crown. It could be damaged more without the crown to protect it. Also, when a crown is missing for a long time, your teeth may move into the space where the crown was. If this happens, your crown may no longer fit.

Before you see the dentist, here’s what you can do.

  • If you still have the crown, you may be able to slip it back over the tooth. Before you do that, clean the inside of the crown. Then coat the inside of the crown with tooth “cement,” which you can buy in the dental section of your pharmacy. Some tooth cements need to be mixed; others don’t. If you can’t find tooth cement, you can use denture adhesive or even petroleum jelly. These aren’t permanent solutions, but they will help to hold the crown in place until you can see your dentist. You should not use any household glues. They are not safe to put in your mouth. They can damage the tooth and crown.
  • If you’ve lost the filling or crown, you can put dental cement directly on the tooth surface. This will help to protect and seal the area until you’re able to see your dentist.

Please remember that accident and emergency is only for extreme dental emergencies such as when a tooth has been knocked out and there is severe bleeding.