Coping in a dental emergency can be quite worrying, especially if young children or older adults are involved. This blog post, written by our Golders Green dentist is here to help you understand what to do and how to cope in this challenging situation, and indeed how to find an emergency dentist.
How does emergency dentistry work
The first thing any dentist will do is to identify what the cause of the emergency and pain is. Sometimes this is obvious, mainly if there has been a trauma; however, extreme pain is often caused by underlying problems such as an abscess or untreated infection.
Once the cause of the pain has been identified, your dentist can move on to treat it.
If the pain is caused by trauma, then it is most likely due to an exposed nerve, your dentist will usually cover up this exposed nerve with a temporary dressing, wait for the trauma to heal and then restore the tooth, often with a crown. Sometimes, if the nerve has been damaged, a root canal filling is required.
If an infection causes the pain, then this is very often due to pressure being placed on the nerve. In this case, the dentist will need to release this pressure and release some of the puss from the infected area.
Is an infected tooth considered a dental emergency?
If you have an infection any tooth, then this is most likely caused by an abscess, this is a deep infection underneath the gum and close to the bone. This is therefore considered a dental emergency as extreme pain can result in additional problems which can develop quite rapidly.
How long can a tooth abscess wait for treatment?
If you believe you have a tooth abscess, then treatment should not be delayed, you should call your emergency dentist immediately.
This is because an infection like this, particularly if it is accompanied by facial swelling, can become severe rapidly, even life-threatening.
If you have the symptoms, you should call your dentist, or if you are unable to contact them you may need to visit your local accident and emergency department
What are the best painkillers for toothache?
The best type of painkillers a toothache is one that controls the pain (analgesic) and helps to reduce any information (anti-inflammatory).
For this reason, Ibuprofen or aspirin are usually recommended. If you are unable to take Ibuprofen or aspirin, then paracetamol is the next best thing.
What to do in a dental emergency
For emergency dental treatment the best thing to do is to phone your dentist. Most of them will have 24 hour emergency care provision.
If you have lost a tooth through trauma and there is severe bleeding then the best advice is to apply a soft , non-fluffy gauze over the wound and apply gentle pressure. Ask the patient to bite down gently and keep the pressure there until the bleeding stops.
Keep the dressing in place and don't be tempted to remove it as this could dislodge the blood clot and start bleeding again.
If the bleeding is severe then you will need to seek urgent dental treatment via your local A&E. Ideally we recommend that you take yourself all the patients to A&E as this helps free up emergency services.
However, if there are complications to the emergency dental treatment, such as other injuries from the trauma which require emergency assistance then the emergency number is 999.
How painful is it to have a tooth extracted?
You should feel no pain at all as you will be completely numb throughout the process. Your dentist will usually apply a topical anaesthetic, this is a little gel which is applied to the gum before any injection. This numbs the gum so you can't even feel the needle of the injection.
Your dentist will then test to ensure that the area is completely numb before extracting the tooth.
You may however find that the extraction site is a little uncomfortable for a couple of days afterwards, this mild pain can be relieved with Ibubprofen, aspirin or paracetamol. This short-term mild pain shouldn't last more than a few days.
After you have had a tooth extracted you should also avoid hot food, this is to help keep the clot in place and also to prevent you scolding yourself on a hot liquid which you may be unable to feel due to the anaesthetic injection.
Sometimes people leave their dental care to the last-minute as they are nervous patients. It's always best to talk to your dentist, especially about pain relief and anxiety, they can then modify treatments to help.
Is it possible to book an emergency dental appointment online
Most modern dental practices offer an online emergency appointment booking facility. If they don't have an online booking appointment service they should have a 24-hour answer service with instructions on how to make appointments.
If you're looking for an emergency dentist in London that provides online booking appointment facilities and same day appointments we would be happy to help, here is our online appointment booking link.