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Freedom Dental emergency procedures

What is classed as a dental emergency?

Any dental emergency, such as an injury to the teeth or gums can be potentially serious and should not be ignored. Ignoring a dental problem can increase the risk of permanent damage as well as the need for more extensive and expensive treatment later on. Dental emergencies are classed as:

  • Toothache or swelling that suggests an infection of a tooth or gum
  • Severe toothache or facial pain which is not controlled by taking over-the-counter painkillers
  • Trauma of the face, mouth or teeth after a recent accident or injury
  • A permanent tooth being knocked out
  • Bleeding after tooth extraction that you cannot control
  • Serious swelling of mouth or face which is getting worse

Getting in touch

  • 105 Station Road
  • Cheadle Hulme
  • Cheshire
  • SK8 7BG

What pain relief is best for toothache?

The best over-the-counter painkillers for toothache are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs for short. These include ibuprofen, this is sold both as a generic version (cheaper!) and under many brand names. Do not take these if you have asthma and always read the label for contraindications!

Paracetamol is also pretty good for dental pain. Some people have reported that Paracetamol with Codeine has worked for them when other pain medications didn’t. However, dental pain often comes from inflammation and pressure on various tissues and nerves of the face. NSAIDs can be better for dental pain because they are both pain relievers and good anti-inflammatories. It can be very dangerous to take too much paracetamol. Never put any painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth because it may burn the gum tissue.

For contraindications, side-effects and maximum doses, always read the label!

How do I know if I have a dental abscess?

Acute pain with or without swollen gums or face are signs of a possible infection or abscess. Please contact your dentist as soon as possible. Abscesses are infections that occur around the root of a tooth or in the space between the teeth and gums. Abscesses are a serious condition that can damage tissue and surrounding teeth, with the infection possibly spreading to other parts of the body if left untreated.

You may need antibiotics to prevent the infection from getting worse and spreading. Antibiotics kill the bacteria that are causing the swelling, tissue damage and infection and therefore help to relieve pain as well.

What do I do if I have an accident resulting in trauma of the face, mouth or teeth?

Contact your dentist as quickly as possible, if out of hours go to your nearest A&E. Initially cleanse the affected area with a mild salt-water solution then apply pressure using a cold compress to the affected area for a minimum of 5 to 10 minutes. When you initially see your dentist they will want to assess the extent of the damage and what remedial action needs to be taken.

What do I do if I knock a tooth out?

Contact your dentist as quickly as possible, if out of hours go to your nearest A&E. Knocked out teeth with the highest chances of being saved are those returned to their socket within 1 hour of being knocked out.

Immediate action to be taken, retrieve the tooth, hold it by the crown (the part that is usually exposed in the mouth), and rinse off the tooth root with water if it's dirty. Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, try to put the tooth back in place. Make sure it's facing the right way. Never force it into the socket. If it's not possible to reinsert the tooth in the socket, put the tooth in a small container of milk (or cup of water that contains a pinch of table salt, if milk is not available).

Other Non-Urgent Dental Problems

  • Objects caught between teeth. First, try using dental floss to very gently and carefully remove the object. If you can't get the object out, see your dentist. Never use a pin or other sharp object to poke at the stuck object. These instruments can damage your gums or scratch your tooth surface.
  • Lost filling. See your dentist as soon as possible. As a temporary measure, stick a piece of sugar free gum into the cavity or use an over-the-counter dental cement. Do not use anything that will form a permanent hard covering as this can cause further damage when your dentist removes it.
  • Lost crown or veneer. If the crown or veneer falls off, make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible and bring the crown with you. If you can't get to the dentist right away and the tooth is causing pain, use a cotton swab to apply a little clove oil to the sensitive area (clove oil can be purchased at your local chemist). If possible, slip the crown or veneer back over the tooth. Before doing so, coat the inner surface with toothpaste, denture adhesive, sugar free gum or an over-the-counter dental cement to help hold the crown in place. Do not use super glue!
  • Broken braces and wires. See your orthodontist as soon as possible. If a wire breaks or sticks out of a bracket or band and is poking your cheek, tongue, or gum, try using the eraser end of a pencil to push the wire into a more comfortable position. If you can't reposition the wire, cover the end with orthodontic wax. Never cut the wire, as you could end up swallowing it.
  • Loose brackets and bands. See your orthodontist as soon as possible. If brackets become loose place orthodontic wax over the braces to provide a cushion. If the problem is a loose band save it so that it can be recemented.

Out-of-hours dental care (5pm – 9am)

If you have a problem outside normal practice hours or you're in pain, you can first try helping yourself by taking painkillers. If you feel the problem can wait until normal practice hours, you can call NHS 111 for self care advice.

Emergency dental care

If your problem is more urgent, you can access out-of-hours dental services in your area by calling:

  • 0161 337 2246
  • NHS 111

Go to the accident and emergency (A&E) department of your local hospital if you:

  • Have a large swelling which is worsening and starting to affect your breathing
  • Are bleeding a lot and it won't stop
  • Trauma of the face, mouth or teeth after a recent accident or injury

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