Emergency (How to handle it) - National Dental Care

Knowing how to handle dental emergency can be important when it comes to saving teeth and reducing pain. We know that accidents happen – on the football field, while running up or down the stairs, or in the playground, but by familiarising yourself with the below you can help yourself and others, by taking decisive and calm action.


Majority of people will have experienced a toothache at some point in their lives. Strong toothache can impact on your diet, sleep and your moods.

Toothache may have several causes, such as:

  • Newly erupting teeth in young children
  • Tooth decay or trauma
  • Abscesses and infections
  • Swollen inflamed gums due to impacted food
  • Tooth erosion and heavy wear

An appointment with your dentist can quickly identify the root cause of the toothache and start treatment to relieve the pain.

At National Dental Care, our dentists endeavour to see most emergency patients. However, emergency appointments are very unpredictable and the time it takes to completely resolve a toothache on the day varies from case to case. This is why our typical emergency dental appointment is around 30 mins in duration. During this time, our dentist will diagnose the cause of your toothache, establish the need for any urgent pain relief treatment and possibly perform this treatment. They will then explain possible long term solutions for your tooth. Once you have been fully informed and decided which solution is best for you, you will be encouraged to return to complete the full course of treatment.

Knocked out (avulsed) or loose (subluxated) teeth- adult teeth only:

Sport and accidents account for a large number of dental emergencies.

Here’s what to do if you or someone else lose a tooth. Please note this procedure should be followed for adult teeth only, not for milk teeth.

Only touch the top (crown) of the tooth – do not handle the by the root, do not scrub, do not scrap any surrounding tissue on the tooth.  If the tooth needs cleaning, this can be done very gently by immersing it in a sterile saline solution or some milk

Try to replace the tooth into its original position and hold firmly in place. If that is not possible then place the tooth either underneath your tongue or into a small cup of milk while you transport it to the nearest National Dental Care Dentist.

Head straight to your National Dental Care Dentist – in most cases you will be seen quickly.

For loose teeth that have not completely fallen out it is important to see your dentist quickly so that they are able to preserve the nerve endings and blood vessels and save your tooth. If you are experiencing pain, place cold pressure to the area.

Chipped and broken tooth

If you or someone you know is experiencing pain as the result of a chipped or broken tooth a visit to your dentist will determine if the fracture is complicated (with nerve involvement) or uncomplicated (without any nerve involvement).

Whenever possible, bring your fractured tooth fragment to your dental visit as it can often be re-bonded to your remaining tooth structure.

Chipped and broken teeth generally require some form of cosmetic or restorative dentistry to restore their condition.

If you have chipped or broken your crown or bridge please contact your National Dental Care dental practice to have these repaired or replaced.

Broken jaw

A broken jaw will require initial treatment at a hospital to diagnose the extent of the fracture. In the meantime make sure the jaw is immobilized by strapping and application of cold pressure. A specialist Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon will need to attend to you and perform surgery to allow the fractured jaw to heal.

If you have suffered significant trauma to your jaw and think it may be fractured, you must present to your nearest hospital emergency department or visit the nearest National Dental Care dentist who will be able to arrange an urgent referral to the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon.

Depending on the damage some dental surgery or oral health care will be required after the initial treatment by the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon.

Lost filling

Over time your fillings may loosen or become damaged as a result of decay, teeth wear or deterioration of the bond between tooth and filling.

Your National Dental Care dentist can replace your filling with a stronger ceramic filling.

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