Signs You Need Emergency Dentistry Blog

24 January 2017

Modern technology has made emergency dentistry better than ever before, and you can now rest easy knowing that any emergency you face can be treated. However, many people do not know how to tell what is, and is not, an emergency. Dental pain is one of the most common reasons people choose to visit an emergency dentist, and a tooth ache may be triggered by quite a few situations.

For example, you may cause a hairline fracture in your tooth by biting something particularly hard to chew, something that would cause immediate and severe pain. Generally, a throbbing pain occurs in a restored tooth when the filling has fallen out, or you may feel pain after drinking liquids that are cold or hot. Therefore, a toothache is your first sign of trouble, and will tell you exactly when you need to consult emergency dentistry, but there are other signs you can look for that can tell you the same thing.

Broken Teeth

A tooth can break at any moment due to a number of causes, such as being struck in the mouth, or biting something too hard for it to handle. If your tooth breaks, you will immediately feel severe pain that will make it impossible to eat, or speak, without difficulty. For this reason, you need to call on emergency dentistry right away, to reduce pain faster and treat the issue as soon as possible. In the meantime, apply a cold compress to the area to minimize any swelling of the soft structures, and minimize movement of your mouth.

Broken Jaw

Road accidents, physical attacks, and even a simple fall, can cause your jaw to be fractured or broken, and emergency dentistry can help to save your jaw from long-term problems. Immediately after the incident, call an ambulance and try to stop any bleeding and swelling by applying cold pressure to the affected area. A trained emergency dentist should be able to set your broken jaw, and take steps to keep your teeth properly aligned for correct healing.

Lost Fillings

When you lose a filling, the soft inner tissue of your tooth is exposed to the open air, and this can cause infection, pain, swelling, and severe sensitivity to hot and cold. Call an emergency dentist immediately after losing the filling to have the tooth cleaned and the filling replaced quickly. Doing so will help you avoid an infection and return your tooth to its optimum functionality.

Covid-19 and your care

We have now received clear guidance as to what dental procedures we can safely carry out and at what stages during the pandemic.

Below is a summary of the guidance as we understand it, although this may modify over the next few days as some small inconsistencies are clarified.

The government has set five different risk levels for the pandemic 1-5 (low to high), although this changes on a daily basis.

The treatments that we can carry out safely in dental practice will change with the risk level.

Treatments are significantly limited at level 4.

During the next few weeks, we will attempt to contact each patient that has contacted us with a significant dental problem during lockdown, and we hope to book an assessment appointment for those patients in the week commencing 8th June.

Practice doors will be locked at level 3, 4 and 5. Entry to the practice will be limited to pre-booked appointments.

There will be very clear criteria provided in due course as what is required before arriving at the practice, and what the procedure will be upon arrival. We will endeavour to ensure that each person knows exactly what to expect at their visit as this will be quite different to what you have been used to.

The appointment diary will be structured to take into consideration those patients who are shielding, may have underlying medical issues and so on.

The first week is expected to be a slow start as we ensure that the new protocols are working effectively for everyone’s safety. These protocols will be audited and modified until required.

At level 4 we should be able to carry out the following:

Dental assessment (initially restricted to patients who have current urgent need, or did and contacted us during lockdown).

X rays but only for patients who tolerate them well.

TEMPORARY re cementation of crowns. (We cannot dry the tooth effectively enough to cement a crown permanently with the restrictions we face).

Fabrication or repair of removable dentures.

Simple dental extractions. If a tooth breaks, it is probable we will have to leave the roots in place until we are at a lower level of risk. Naturally, we will assess the risk very carefully prior to treatment.

Tightening of loose dental implants if possible, without using a high-speed handpiece (drill).

Temporary fillings.

Draining of a swelling/abscess.

Provision of antibiotics.

Trimming of sharp orthodontic wires (not reliable re cementation of loose brackets, or replacement of missing brackets).

Treatment is only to be offered after careful assessment.

Cosmetic orthodontics

Cheshire Dental Centre provide many of these treatments. We may now be able to progress some of our Quick Straight Teeth cases. We will be in touch with each patient shortly, but please allow us to contact you; we hope that it is understandable that we will be prioritising patients with urgent dental need.

The PPE (personal protective equipment) requirements for the above are not too onerous, and we will not look too different to normal. As you are aware, the cross-infection control at Cheshire Dental Centre has always been exemplary and one of our top priorities.

Although we have been organised with the new PPE guidelines well in advance there may be the occasional time where we are awaiting stock. All practices are attempting to source the necessary PPE we need to keep you and us safe, but supplies are scarce and consequently very expensive.