What To Do In A Dental Emergency?

What To Do In A Dental Emergency?

Advice for our Canterbury patients on what to do when a sudden toothache strikes or a tooth breaks.

With the best will in the world, accidents can, and do, happen. It may not even be our fault when they do, and however well we look after our teeth, we can never rule out the possibility of the need for urgent dental care. Today, we will take a look at a few possible scenarios and offer advice to help you to receive prompt care and what to do while you are waiting for it.

It should be said that, above all, patients should remember that healthy teeth are generally stronger than unhealthy ones so making sure that you have regular check ups at Bradley and Partners Dental & Implant Clinic is the place where everyone should start. Providing that you do this and brush and floss your teeth well at home, you should give yourself the best chance of avoiding preventable problems like tooth decay.

Don’t wait

One thing you shouldn’t do if you have a toothache or a tooth is broken is to put off contacting us in the hope that it will go away. Even a minor toothache most likely indicates tooth decay and putting off contacting us, and perhaps controlling the pain with painkillers, is only storing up more serious problems further down the line. Make sure to get in touch with our Canterbury dental practice straight away and we will arrange for a dentist to see you as soon as possible.


Whether your pain is mild or severe, make sure to contact us straight away. Once you have done this, there are a number of things you can do to make yourself more comfortable until such time that you can see a dentist.  You can try rinsing your mouth with warm water which will not only help to keep it clean and perhaps remove some lodged debris, but may also help to soothe the discomfort a little. You may also take over the counter painkillers if suitable and if you feel it necessary to make the discomfort manageable. If the problem has caused any facial swelling, you can apply a cold compress to the outside of the cheek to help reduce any swelling and also help to numb it a little.

Broken tooth

Once a tooth has broken, it may break even more if you ignore it instead of contacting us for emergency dental treatment – so please make sure to do so straight away. In the meantime, however curious you are, don’t poke at the broken tooth with your finger or any other implement, even if it doesn’t hurt to do so, as this may cause further damage. You can gently wash the tooth with warm water but avoid swilling vigorously.  If you are away from home and are unable to see a dentist until you return, you may be able to use a temporary filling solution that can be bought from chemists. This will at least help to avoid any cuts caused by a sharp edge. Even if you feel pleased with your own filling though, you must contact your own dentist on your return as it is likely there will be tiny gaps in your temporary filling where bacteria can live and it won’t be long before a toothache strikes if you leave it as it is.

Knocked out tooth

Although rare, a tooth can be knocked out. This is most likely to happen perhaps if you play a sport like football or rugby, but a fall or collision can have the same result. If a significant blow to the head is received, you should seek urgent attention at the local A&E to rule out any serious head injuries. As far as the tooth goes, if you can locate it straight away, pick it up by the crown part, avoiding contact with the roots. Rinse it in water but don’t wipe or scrub it even if it looks like it might need it. If possible, insert it back into the socket but do not force it. If in any doubt follow the next piece of advice. If you do insert it, try to hold it in place by placing a clean piece of cloth or gauze over it and biting gently onto that. Failing this, place the knocked out tooth in a small jar along with the patient’s saliva ideally or failing that, in milk. The longer a tooth is out, the less the chances of its recovery are, so contact us immediately.


These can be serious if ignored so do make sure to call us promptly. In the meantime, a warm saline solution washed around the area will help to keep it clean and may draw out some of the infection and help reduce swelling. Your local pharmacist should be able to advise you of the best pain reliever to take in this situation.

Restoration failure

Although most restorations last a long time, they can become detached. Whether you have a crown, a filling or even dental veneers, it is important to contact us if they become detached. What you most definitely shouldn’t do is to attempt to re-attach these yourself and especially so using regular adhesive as these may cause further damage. If not replaced, your tooth will become exposed and tooth decay and possibly root canal infections may occur.

We hope that this guide proves useful (although we also hope that you never need it). We will always do what we can to see a patient in need as soon as possible and, where we can, save the natural tooth. Where this is not possible, we have a range of solutions available, including increasingly popular implants, to help you have a functional set of teeth again.

If you need an emergency dental appointment, please get in touch with us as early in the day as you can by calling Bradley and Partners Dental & Implant Clinic on 01227 463529.