Christmas is just around the corner, a time for fun and celebration. Most dental practices around the country will be closed over the festive period.
A lot of our patients are unsure what to do if they suffer a dental emergency over the Christmas period. We have put together this guide on what to do in a dental emergency over the festive season while dental practices are closed.
The first thing you should do when you have a dental emergency is to call your dental practice. Even if they are closed, they will have an answerphone message set up explaining what you should do in a dental emergency. Stella Maris Dental patients will be directed to another local practice for emergencies.
A dental emergency can consist of a wide variety of problems and can be very common over Christmas. This can range from bleeding, pain, chipped or broken teeth and even a tooth being completely knocked out. For each different emergency problem, we would recommend treating it in a certain way.
If you are experiencing toothache, the first thing you should do is rinse your mouth well with warm water. Your mouth may become swollen and if this is the case, applying a cold compress to the outside of your mouth or cheek may help to reduce the swelling. Taking over-the-counter pain relief like paracetamol and ibuprofen may help to ease your pain until you can see a dentist.
We see a lot of teeth getting chipped or broken over the festive season. People use their teeth to open bottles, tear sellotape and even break open nuts – all things your teeth are not designed to be used for.
If you chip or break a tooth, try to save any pieces that you can. Rinse your mouth with warm water as soon as you can. If you experience any bleeding, apply gentle pressure to the area with some gauze until the bleeding has stopped. To prevent or reduce swelling, you can apply a cold compress to the affected area.
Unfortunately, teeth are not invincible and can be knocked out from trauma. Lost teeth have the highest chances of being saved when you are seen by a dentist within an hour of the incident. It is very important to keep hold of the tooth, rinse it with water and try to place it back into the socket. If this isn’t possible, keep the tooth between your gum and cheek or place it in a small amount of milk. Try to ensure that you only handle the tooth from the crown end (the white part) and do not interfere with the darker pointy root surface.
If a child loses a baby tooth, it doesn’t need to be kept but it is still a good idea for them to see a dentist as soon as possible to check there are no fragments of the tooth left behind.
If your existing filling falls out or breaks, book an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible. Use a piece of sugarfree chewing gum to fill the cavity, or use temporary dental cement that is available from pharmacies. Try to avoid any hard or sticky foods until your filling is replaced.
If you do experience any dental emergencies over the Christmas period, remain calm. Many of these problems can be fixed easily by a dentist. Call your regular dental practice and follow any instructions they give you on their answerphone machine.
Not all dental problems need emergency care. If you are not experiencing pain and the situation is manageable, make an appointment with us when we are next open if possible.