Managing Dental Emergencies

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Sirisha Penmetcha BDSC, FRACDS on

Visiting your dentist ASAP in case of a dental emergency is the best course of action, but it may not always be possible to get professional help immediately.

Feel free to contact our friendly team today.

Here are a few things that you could do, that may help alleviate the problem and possibly allow treatment to be deferred until it is safe to do so.

1. I have a tooth ache with severe sensitivity to hot/cold foods. What can I do?

Take over the counter analgesics such as neurofen or maxigesic every 6-8 hrs . If your pain is severe you may need a prescription for stronger pain killers. Please check with your GP about any medication that you take if you have any underlying medical conditions.

Avoid eating or drinking anything hot or cold. Room temperature food and drinks are recommended. Avoid biting/ eating hard to chew foods on the affected side. Soft diet and good oral hygiene should be maintained. A desensitizing tooth paste such as Sensodyne may sometimes be helpful.

If pain persists after 48 hrs, you will need to see a dentist to potentially remove the nerve in the tooth (first stage of Root canal treatment) or remove the tooth.

2. I have a tooth abscess/swelling with severe pain. What can I do?

See your GP or dentist for prescription of analgesics and antibiotics. Rinsing with warm salty water can help to alleviate any discomfort in the gum.  If pain persists after 24 to 48 hrs, contact your dentist for emergency treatment.

3. I have a broken filling/chipped tooth.  What can I do?

If tooth is not causing any sensitivity or pain, conservative management with soft diet and good oral hygiene. Avoid eating/ biting on the tooth; avoid hard foods in general to prevent tooth from breaking further. Also avoid hot/ cold foods to protect the nerve.

If the tooth or filling is sharp and cutting into the tongue, please contact your dentist to get the sharpness removed and potentially get a temporary filling.

4. I have pain in my gum/ulcer in my mouth. What can I do?

Use warm salty water, bicarbonate soda mouthrinse or alcohol free mouthwash like Listerine to rinse your mouth 2-3 times a day. For ulcers, you could also try a topical analgesic or numbing agent like bonjela from the local pharmacy.

5. I had an accident where my teeth are fractured/loose/painful. What can I do?

Contact your dentist immediately for remedial action.

If your front tooth has been knocked out, try to immediately store the tooth in a container with milk and take it to your dentist for potential replantation.

6. I have wisdom tooth pain. What can I do?

Use warm salty water or alcohol free mouthwash like Listerine to rinse your mouth 2-3 times a day. Take analgesics and anti-inflammatory medication like neurofen every 6-8 hrs. Sometimes antibiotics may be needed to alleviate the pain; see your GP or dentist for a prescription if pain is severe and persistent.

Take good care of your dental health

Practice good oral hygiene, avoid sugary and acidic foods and avoid hard to chew foods which can potentially fracture fillings/teeth. Read my post on Tooth decay and hidden sugars.

If you have a dental emergency, contact our friendly team today.

By Dr. Sirisha Penmetcha

Call our friendly team today