An emergency trip to the dentist is never a welcome surprise. Unfortunately, unannounced
toothache, lost fillings, and accidents that knock teeth clean out, do happen.
When you’ve got a dental emergency on your hands it’s important that you try not to panic.
And as soon as it’s safe to do so, find and call the number of an emergency dentist.
What to do when you need
to see an emergency dentist
Luke, a dentist at Keppel Dental, says:
“Depending on the type of mouth trauma you’re
facing, try to prioritise the following actions for
each of these common dental emergencies.
Toothache is usually caused by a hole in the tooth, a gum infection or decay involving
the nerve. You should call immediately if:
- You experience facial swelling
- Your toothache has woken you up during the night
- You experience lingering pain to hot and cold sensations
- Spontaneous pain that comes out of the blue, or comes in waves
- Pain when biting, chewing, eating or even touching teeth together
If you’re really uncomfortable, you can try taking the recommended dose of an
over-the-counter pain killer. Remember, even if your toothache vanishes it’s still worth
making an appointment, so we can treat the cause and prevent recurring pain.
This might sound a bit gruesome, but if a tooth gets knocked out and is reasonably
clean the best course of action is to put it back into its socket and call your dentist for
advice — even outside of regular office hours.
When handling a tooth, avoid touching the root and hold it by the crown. A tooth’s root
is covered in thousands of cells which help regenerate damaged ligaments, but they can
only do that if they have a blood supply. So to increase the chances of your natural
tooth surviving, place it back in the gap and hold it there. Biting down on (or holding it
in place with) aluminium foil or tissue can help.
If the tooth is dirty — maybe because it was knocked out on a muddy sports field —
don’t scrub it. Give it a really quick rinse preferably in milk (long-life milk is perfect for
this), a saline solution, or water before putting it back in.
Can’t do it? Then the next best option is placing it in saline solution or milk.
Avoid keeping the tooth in water, because it’s too harsh and will damage the tooth
Speed is of the essence. In any missing tooth scenario, it’s important to get to a dentist
within an hour of the accident occurring. This is the best window of opportunity for us to
help you save your tooth.
An abscess can be identified by a pimple on the gum or swelling, and there may
be bleeding or the release of fluid.
Not all abscesses cause pain, but if you have one that hurts then follow the same
step as you would for toothache.
Swollen mouth and jaw pain
Suffering dull, non-specific pain in the mouth, or being unable to open or close the jaw
because it hurts can occur for a number of reasons. It could be down to a bad tooth, an
infection, or something else entirely.
If there’s pain or swelling in this area, it’s best to see a dentist first. Should it be an oral
health problem we can treat the cause straightaway — rather than just the symptoms.
Placing a hot or cold compress to the jaw or mouth can help ease discomfort in the
Once you’ve followed these steps as best as possible, call Keppel Dental on
(07) 4939 2155, even if it is out of regular office hours.
How quickly should you
see an emergency dentist?
Doing nothing and waiting impacts the level of treatment your emergency
dentist is able to provide. Call as soon as it is safe to do so.