Dental emergencies tend to present themselves at the most inconvenient times. But the most important thing when dealing with sudden dental emergencies like a broken tooth or toothache, is to put your well being before your responsibilities (work is important, but you won’t get much done with a toothache).
It’s important to note that not all cases of broken teeth are the same: some are painful, some are not. Some may be caused by a broken filling and others are a result of tooth decay. Some chips happen obviously (like when you bite down on an apple too hard) and others go undetected. The best move when dealing with a broken tooth is to book an appointment and let the dentist assess and see what is going on.
At least, that’s the ideal response. But sometimes there are no immediate appointments, life gets in the way or the clinic is closed over the weekend. So, what can you do in the meantime?
What to do in a dental emergency
For broken teeth, most chemists sell temporary filling kits which are quite good at sealing off a chip and reducing any sensitivity that might come with it. Although useful, this sealant is not a proper fix: it’s best to organise some time in the dentist’s chair to correct your broken tooth. The longer you wait, the worse it can get. So, quick action is the best kind of action.
In cases of severe dental emergencies out of hours, where your face is very swollen and you are having trouble breathing or swallowing, visiting the hospital is advisable. Remember, hospitals are not equipped for treating broken and decayed teeth, or more minor sensitivities, but with severe infections after hours, medical professionals may be able to drain any excess fluid or pus around an infected site and prescribe medication to help contain the infection and pain, if it is overwhelming the body’s own immune response. If this does take place, remember your tooth will stay broken or decayed unless you also visit the dentist afterwards, even if the pain and swelling does subside. During office hours it is always best to contact your dentist first about tooth emergencies, rather than the GP or hospital.
Our clinic, along with many others, sets aside emergency slots each day to deal with unexpected dental mishaps. We are prepared to help and the best thing to do is call us as soon as the pain starts or the tooth breaks, rather than waiting and hoping the pain will disappear by itself.