Nobody expects to need an emergency dentist, however from time to time life presents us with challenges – like a dental emergency – and it’s necessary to call upon the services and care of a dentist you can trust.
Whether it’s a chipped tooth, a painfully throbbing toothache, or trauma caused through an accident or injury, it can be hard to think clearly in the moment – let alone know if there’s a reliable emergency dentist to call on.
At Define Dental, we totally get it. And here’s how we can prove it.
As the Gold Coast dentist that’s been operating on the Gold Coast longer than any other (over 68 years!), we’ve seen our share of dental emergencies. In fact, over the years, many of our patients have been Gold Coast visitors who’ve unexpectedly needed an emergency dentist.
It’s through these decades of experience that we’ve refined our approach to dental emergencies. At Define Dental our friendly and compassionate team members are available to answer your calls and address your concerns – even during the current COVID-19 quarantine restrictions.
How to handle a dental emergency?
For any dental emergency, our aim is to see you on the same day (or at the latest, the very next working day if you contact us on a weekend or public holiday). Handling your dental emergency is as simple as giving Define Dental a call. That way we can discuss your concerns and decide on the most ideal course of action.
Some patients ask What is a dental emergency?
Because everyone has different pain thresholds and some people are fearful of seeing a dentist, there may not be a common view of what constitutes a dental emergency.
In our view, it’s a good idea to contact us if you experience any of the following.
When to see your emergency dentist
Most people want to act quickly when there’s a dental emergency, so if you’re experiencing any of these situations now, call Define Dental to discuss your options.
Top tips for a dental emergency
Not every dental emergency requires the same response so we’ve outlined our top tips for each kind of dental emergency.
Broken or chipped tooth or a lost filling or crown
A broken or chipped tooth or a lost filling or crown may be caused by trauma, tooth decay, or even pure bad luck.
If any of these situations has happened to you, try to keep a cool head.
The first thing to remember is to salvage the broken part of the tooth, crown or restoration.
Place the tooth into a piece of plastic wrap, a zip-lock bag, or a container with milk.
While this might seem a little unusual, it’s always good for the dentist to see the part of the tooth that broke and then decide if it can be repositioned or not.
There may be pain from a sharp edge of the tooth cutting your tongue or cheek; or the tooth itself being sensitive or aching.
In the first instance, cover the broken part of the tooth with wax. Beeswax can usually be sourced from an organic grocer. You can even use wax from a soft candle, orthodontic wax from the dentist, or sugar free chewing gum. Each of these may help with sensitivity and cover sharp edges until you can see your emergency dentist assess it.
Toothache or swelling
A constant toothache and/or swelling are clear signs to see your dentist sooner rather than later.
If your dental emergency happens out of business hours and you can’t contact us, here are some suggestions which may help relieve pain:
#1 – First, gently clean (brush and floss) around the painful tooth and try to obtain relief by rinsing your mouth with warm salt water to help dislodge any food caught between teeth.
#2 – If the toothache persists, use a cold pack to control any swelling (crushed ice or frozen peas in a moist tea towel work well). Place it on the site (outside your mouth on the side of your face) for five to ten minutes and then remove for five to ten minutes. Repeat as necessary.
#3 – Use over-the-counter pain medication to help manage the pain. The best starting point is Panadol (Paracetamol) and depending on your health and medical history Nurofen (Ibuprofen) is also another one to consider. Only use this exactly as directed on the packaging and contact us or your GP for any additional advice so we may consider your situation and advise you accordingly.
#4 – If you have a fever or a high temperature, or notice swelling on your gums or face, there’s a possibility you could have infection or an abscess. In this instance you need to seek urgent dental treatment or medical care. Phone us immediately so we can arrange emergency dental care for you as soon as possible. In cases where we are not available (after hours or due to government restrictions) and your situation is deteriorating rapidly, please phone a 24 hour emergency medical centre to arrange someone to assess you.
An abscess or infection will not heal itself and antibiotics (although possibly necessary) will only temporarily fix the problem. For this reason, it’s essential you see your dentist so we can assess the cause and do what’s necessary to prevent the issue from returning once your antibiotics are finished.
Knocked out tooth
Of course children lose their baby teeth so dealing with a knocked out tooth doesn’t apply in this circumstance. Rather, it’s relevant only for adult teeth. (Dental emergency tip – Never place a baby tooth back in the mouth!)
As with every kind of emergency, keep calm and try to find the missing tooth. Wash the tooth very gently in either milk or a saline (salt water) solution. If neither of these options are available, rinse it BRIEFLY in plain water. Do not scrub the tooth and avoid touching the root.
The next step is to try and put the tooth back in its socket. Check your other teeth to see which way to face the tooth, then push it firmly into the cavity, pressing it into place. Use a mirror where possible to see if it looks right. If necessary, it may be held in place with some aluminium foil or a clean handkerchief if it moves.
In the event the tooth can’t be placed in the socket, keep the tooth stored in milk or a saline solution, or in your mouth against the lip or cheek. The reason we do this is because we want to keep the cells in the root alive (and moist) until you can see your emergency dentist.
Whether you have managed to put the tooth back in or not, book in for emergency dental treatment with us as soon as you can.
How to prevent dental emergencies
Some dental emergencies, such as injuries or trauma, are unavoidable. However, there are measures you can take to help prevent dental emergencies. These include:
- Visit us regularly for dental examinations and preventive care to reduce your risk of a tooth infection and toothache. These regular visits help catch small issues before they become big (and often very costly) problems
- Invest in and wear a custom-fitted mouthguard when participating in contact sports or recreational activities
- Avoid using your precious teeth as tools (are we stating the obvious?!). You’d be surprised at the number of people who open packages and hold other items with their teeth! Don’t be that person.
- Never chew ice, popcorn kernels, candy or any hard food which can crack a tooth.
Whatever your dental emergency, calling on an experienced emergency dentist is wise. Regardless of the challenge that arises, the Define Dental team can provide more personalised advice based on your concerns.
Not only are we here to help. We’re here to get you out of pain and back on the road to smiling again.
Define Dental is the longest operating Gold Coast dentist. Located in Benowa on the Gold Coast, Define Dental has a team of dentists, led by Dr Les Jabbour, all of whom can help with your dental emergency, including during the current COVID-19 quarantine restrictions. Contact us on 5597 2100 if you have a dental emergency. We’re here to help.