Dealing with dental emergencies

Do know what constitutes a dental emergency?

There is a difference between a dental concern and a dental emergency. A dental concern is an aesthetic or functional problem like chipped, cracked or crooked teeth.  A dental emergency is a chipped, cracked or broken tooth that is causing pain or swelling.

If you are suffering persistent dental pain, you should visit Marriott & Hand as soon as possible.

Tooth knocked out

If your tooth has been knocked out, rinse it very gently in milk, holding it by the crown (the part you would normally see in your mouth) —don’t hold it by the root as this area is sensitive and easily damaged. Once it’s been cleaned, try as best you can to place it back into the socket from where it was lost, using the surrounding teeth as your guide; this may be uncomfortable, however the longer it is out of your mouth, the less the odds of success long term.  If you can’t accomplish this, place the tooth on the inside of your mouth, between your teeth and your cheek. An ice pack over the injured area will help reduce the swelling.

For the best chance to save your teeth, you’ll need to get to a dentist as soon as possible. Time is of the essence and there is only a fairly narrow window of opportunity to put the tooth back.


Often patients who experience a dull toothache think it’s unimportant, and that it’ll just go away eventually. Sometimes this happens, albeit often temporarily, but most of the time a dull toothache is indicative of a much bigger problem like tooth decay or a damaged pulp.

If the pulp is inflamed, or there is considerable tooth decay, you may require root canal treatment to get pain relief. If, however, you ignore the pain, you could end up needing the tooth to be extracted, and the downside of an extraction is the negative impact on your jaw, your bite, and your remaining teeth.

Root canal therapy (endodontics), if required, can often save your tooth and stop the pain. Only a proper diagnosis and the correct treatment application will fully resolve the problem for you.

In the event that your tooth is sore and you notice the gum area around the tooth is swollen, place a cold compress (icepack) outside the cheek. Do not heat this compress. It must be cold to be of any use to you. Avoid applying ice packs for more than 10 minutes at a time without a break in between.

Braces and retainers

If a wire is causing you irritation, there are a few things you can do at home. For instance, you can cover the end of the wire with a small ball of soft orthodontic wax (most pharmacies carry this wax for emergency relief), a piece of gauze or small cotton wool ball. However, if the wire is embedded in your check, tongue or gum tissue—don’t try to remove it. Let us do it for you.

If you have a loose or broken appliance, visit us or your orthodontist as soon as possible.

Broken tooth

If you suffer a broken tooth, try to clean any debris from the injured area using warm salty water. If caused by a blow, place a cold compress on the face in order to minimise swelling. Go to the dentist as soon as possible.

Visit Marriott & Hand for all your dentistry needs

At Marriott & Hand in Melbourne we cater to patients who require emergency treatment. If you’ve had a tooth knocked out, rinse it in milk and contact our dental practice. We will do our best to accommodate you.

To find out more about how we can help you, or to book an appointment, contact us today.

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