Dental first aid: What to do until you can see a dentist in an emergency

Dr. Terry Rose, Smile In Style

No one expects an emergency, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared. That is why we provide emergency dental services for adults and children. With two offices in the northern Melbourne area, we are just a short drive away when you need us. However, the steps you take before you arrive at the dentist’s office can make a significant difference in your comfort and the outcome of the situation.

Here are some tips to help you handle various types of dental emergencies:

  • Stay calm – This may be easier said than done, but it is important in any emergency.
  • Assess the damage – Decide if you need to see a dentist, or go to the emergency department for medical treatment. Facial injuries involving broken bones, significant lacerations, or uncontrollable bleeding should be treated by a GP immediately. If you need a dentist, call our office right away.
  • Gather broken pieces – Collect any lost teeth, parts of broken teeth, or dental restorations. Bring them to our office with you. If a tooth is knocked out, be careful to avoid disturbing any soft tissue clinging to it. Rinse it very gently and place it back in the socket or in a clean container with milk.
  • Control bleeding and swelling – Gauze or other soft, sterile material may be used to apply pressure to bleeding wounds. An ice pack can be helpful in keeping swelling down.
  • Pain relief – Dental numbing gel or clove oil may be applied to the tooth or gums. Over the counter oral pain relievers may be helpful, but be careful to follow the directions on the label. Taking more than the recommended dose or holding a pill against your gums can be dangerous.
  • Quick fixes – Sometimes a loose crown can be temporarily “glued” down or a filling can be temporarily replaced. Never use superglue, or any kind of actual glue except denture adhesive. Other materials that are safe to use include over-the-counter temporary fillings, sugar-free chewing gum, or toothpaste.

Be prepared for dental emergencies – add our office numbers to your contacts for easy access. We can be reached at 03 8400 4104 (Moonee Ponds) or 03 8001 6021 (Sunbury).


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