Out Of Hours Dental Dramas - What To Do

Dentist Blog

In the event of a dental 'emergency', ideally you'll have access to a 24 hour dentist.  However, if this isn't possible, what action should you take to tide you over until you can make it to your dental clinic?

Emergency dental kit

It's a good idea to put together an emergency dental kit.  The idea here is not to try to carry out DIY dental work on your teeth yourself – that's not recommended!  An emergency kit is useful to take with you on holiday or to have on hand in your home should you experience problems with your teeth outside of your dentist's normal consulting hours.

Here's what you need in your dental emergency kit:

  • salt
  • gauze
  • cotton buds
  • anti-inflammatory tablets or other painkillers
  • small container with a lid
  • packet of sugar-free chewing gum
  • temporary filling material (available from chemists)
  • teething gel

Armed with this simple kit you can effectively manage most emergency dental situations until you can get to the dentist.  Here's how.

Lost fillings

If one of your fillings falls out, try to preserve it to show to the dentist.  Keep it safe in the small plastic container in your emergency kit.  Gently brush the tooth with toothpaste and warm water to make sure it's clean and free from debris.  Plug the hole using a temporary filling plug and avoid eating on it so that you don't dislodge the plug.  The temporary filling medium is only designed to last for 48 hours, so you will need to see a dentist as soon as possible.

If the filling you've lost was exceptionally large, you may need to plug the hole with a piece of gauze to keep it clean and protect the tooth from damage.

Chipped teeth

If you chip a tooth, it's important to prevent further damage occurring until you can get it properly fixed.  Rinse your mouth with mild saline solution to sterilise the exposed broken surface.  Cover the chipped area using temporary filling material.

Lost crowns or caps

Caps and crowns can become loose and come off.  In order to protect the exposed area beneath the crown and to prevent damage, you'll need to try to re-fix the crown temporarily.  Clean the area beneath the crown thoroughly by gently brushing with toothpaste.  Clean the inside of the crown using a cotton bud to make sure there's no debris trapped inside it.  Place a blob of temporary filling medium inside the crown and refit it.  Bite down on the crown to fix it into place.

Toothache and gum pain

If you experience severe toothache or painful gums, it could be a sign of an underlying abscess or infection.  Pain and swelling relief can be provided by using babies' teething gel on the gum and taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug.  Avoid eating or drinking very hot or chilled foods as these can increase sensitivity and make the discomfort worse.

If the pain gets worse and you begin to feel feverish and generally unwell, you may have a serious infection developing which needs immediate attention.  Attend your local hospital who will have access to emergency dental treatment, rather than trying to hang on until your usual dental surgery is open.

In conclusion

The 'fixes' outlined above are only designed to be a temporary stop-gap until you can get to a qualified dentist.  However, if you put together a simple dental emergency kit, you could at least save yourself pain and further damage to your teeth while you wait for an appointment.


11 August 2015

Dental Checkups: Preparing for Your Checkup

Hi! My name is Sarah, and as a busy professional, I understand the importance of making the most of my time. That includes everything from having productive working lunches to making the most of my dental checkups. I have created this blog to help you maximise your dental checkups. In these posts, you can learn how to prepare for your checkup, which questions to ask during your checkup and more. I am also going to have posts explaining why checkups are critical to your dental health as well as the health of your entire body. Happy reading, and thanks for visiting my blog!