What To Do In Case Of Dental Emergencies?
On Sunday the 6th of September 2020, the Premier of Victoria and the Chief Health Officer declared that the current Stage 4 restrictions in Metro Melbourne have been extended until the 28th of September 2020.
This affects us here at Gentle Dental as it means we continue to be open for urgent and emergency dental treatment only. We are here for you and can see patients for the following treatment:
~ Emergency Exams
~ Pain Management
~ Emergency Root Canal Treatment
~ Damaged Anterior Teeth
~ Periodontal Disease
~ Loss of Crowns & Veneers
~ Teeth Extraction
~ Progressive Dental Disease
At this stage we are awaiting further updates from the Australian Dental Association regarding any changes to dental practices. If you have an appointment coming up in the next few week’s please be aware we will be in contact as soon as possible about potential alterations to your appointment. In the meantime, please bear with our team as we do our best to respond in line with the restriction extension. We understand that changes to many previously rescheduled appointments is very frustrating and we completely agree! We are doing the best we can to balance maintaining our patients’ oral health and guidelines from the ADA. We sincerely thank you for your patience in this matter.
Since we’re on the topic of dental emergencies, we thought we would cover some handy tips on what to do if you find yourself with a dental crisis!
So what should you do if you have a…
A dental abscess is a localized infection that forms at the root of the tooth. Patients may know they have a dental abscess if they are experiencing constant throbbing and aching associated with a tooth that is keeping them up at night. Patients may also have referred pain – where the pain seems to refer from upper to lower and vice versa. A dental abscess can not only cause damage to the surrounding teeth and tissues but if left untreated it can cause a more widespread infection and can be life-threatening. It is critical that you see a dentist immediately if you believe you have a dental abscess. In the meantime, rinse regularly with warm, salty water and use over-the-counter pain medication to minimise discomfort until you can be treated. Whilst antibiotics may temporarily alleviate the pain, they do not resolve the cause of the infection and often the pain comes back worse than before.
A periodontal (or gum) infection is usually associated with swollen and bright red gums, bleeding gums, gums that are tender to touch, bad breath and potentially pus between teeth. A periodontal infection is a gum infection that not only damages the soft tissues, but without treatment, can eat away at the supporting bone, leading to loose teeth and eventual tooth loss. If you are experiencing these symptoms, please book a time to see your dentist so treatment can begin. In the meantime, rinse with warm, salty water and use over-the-counter pain medication to alleviate the discomfort.
TMJ Flare Up…
The TMJ is the temporomandibular joint, it is the hinge that connects your jaw to your skull. Some people find that they are experiencing jaw pain due to clenching and grinding of their teeth (bruxism). In most cases, TMJ pain is temporary and can be self-managed with the help of a dentist to provide exercises and advice, and in some cases, through the help of a custom-made splint.
A Tooth Fall Out…
Firstly – stay calm! See if you can find and keep the tooth. Handle the tooth by the crown (the top) not by the roots. If the tooth has become dirty rinse it gently in either saliva or milk to remove any debris. If you are able to, gently place the tooth back in the socket. If this is not possible, keep the tooth moist by keeping it against your gums and cheek, or immerse the tooth in milk and sealing with plastic wrap. Time is of the essence when trying to save a tooth that has been dislodged so visit the dentist immediately!
Broken, Fractured, or Chipped a Tooth…
Rinse the mouth with warm, salty water. If the tooth is damaged due to trauma use an ice pack as a cold compress outside of the mouth to minimise swelling. And to be on the safe side, head to see the dentist as soon as possible.
Similar to the broken tooth, if there is any swelling present, use an ice pack as a cold compress. Keep the area clean by rinsing with warm, salty water and flossing between the teeth to ensure food doesn’t get trapped. Use your regular over-the-counter pain management medication, although we do usually recommend Nurofen (if it is safe to take depending on your medical history) as it is an anti-inflammatory. There is a chance the tooth has an infection, so see the dentist as soon as possible.
Soft Tissue Trauma…
If you’ve had an accident that has resulted in trauma to your tongue, lip or cheek, clean the area with warm, salty water and if necessary apply an ice pack as a cold compress outside of the mouth to reduce swelling and bleeding. Please see your dentist to ensure there has been no damage to the teeth/ roots of the teeth or if the damage is severe visit the emergency room.
Occasionally crowns can become loose and subsequently fall out. This often results in the tooth feeling sensitive as the dentine (second layer of the tooth) is exposed. There are a number of reasons we do not want to leave the crown off for too long, these include the chance of the gum growing over the tooth which can make it more difficult to re-insert the crown, and also that adjacent and opposing teeth can move, meaning it may be impossible to re-cement the crown. In the meantime, keep the tooth clean through brushing and rinsing with warm, salty water and keep the crown in a separate baggy. Sometimes if the tooth or crown were also damaged in the process of the crown falling out, the tooth needs to be repaired and the crown must be remade.
In the meantime…
We know how difficult it is to keep on top of your oral health with everything else going on; but taking care of your teeth during this pandemic is just one way we are able to take control of the things we can right now. To lend a helping hand, we have created a video guide on the proper way to brush your teeth with an electric toothbrush.
~ Brush for 2 minutes, twice a day
~ Angle the bristles 45 degrees towards the gums
~ Do not brush too hard – let the toothbrush do all the work for you!
We’re looking forward to seeing all our valued patients again once restrictions have eased. And just letting you in on a little secret – dentists and oral health therapists can tell when you’ve been brushing regularly and when you only brush minutes before your appointment!
To keep up to date please follow us on Facebook and Instagram as we endeavor to keep you in the know.
Dr Lisa Brownfoot and the Gentle Dental Team