Abacus Dental Care, 52 Lennon Drive, Milton Keynes, MK8 0AS

What To Do When a Dental Emergency Happens?

Unfortunately accidents do happen and often at the most inconvenient times. You might find it’s on the weekend, over bank holidays or christmas when dental surgeries are closed. If you’ve ever had a dental emergency, you know that they can be painful and rather scary. Hopefully you’ll be able to know, after reading our advice, whether you should be calling your dentist or heading to A&E. Here at Abacus Dental Care we’re going to share a few of the most common dental emergencies and what you should do if one happens to you or someone you care about.


Anything in your mouth that causes you pain or discomfort needs to be examined by a dentist as soon as possible and a toothache is not an exception. There is likely to be an underlying reason that you’re experiencing pain in your mouth. Booking an appointment with your dentist is the first step to getting you or someone you care about out of pain whilst restoring your oral health. If your tooth pain is severe or there is bleeding or pus discharge from the area with your toothache, call your dentist as soon as you can.

Tooth abscesses can also cause high levels of pain, swelling in the gums and face, bad breath, and sometimes fever. Abscesses are definitely a dental emergency and need to be addressed and treated as soon as possible. An abscess in a tooth can occur without any trauma as a result from tooth decay which has reached the root of your tooth. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your dentist as soon as you can to book an appointment. Below is a list of dental emergencies that require urgent care:

  • Knocked out or missing tooth
  • Bleeding in the mouth that won’t stop
  • Injured or suspected broken jaw
  • Painful swelling in the mouth/face
  • Significantly cracked or fractured tooth
  • Tooth that is misaligned or “jammed” up into the gum-line
  • Bruising or swelling in the gum-line
  • Presence of pus in the gums or around the teeth

‍Knocking a tooth out

Losing a tooth in an accident can happen from playing sports, falling or getting hit in the face and it can be extremely shocking and terrifying at the time of the incident. If your tooth does gets knocked out, here are some steps for you to follow:

  • Remain as calm as possible and locate the tooth
  • For adult teeth, handle the tooth by the crown (the chewing surface) and place it back in the socket immediately if you are able to do so
  • For baby teeth, do not place the tooth back into the socket
  • Avoid touching the root of the tooth
  • If the tooth is dirty, gently rinse it off with water but do not use soap or any chemicals
  • Do not wrap the tooth in a paper towel or any kind of cloth, try to keep the tooth moist at all times

If you cannot place a tooth back in the socket, submerge the tooth immediately in milk or use a dental emergency kit if you have one. Depending on where you are located, and the day/time of the accident, you’ll want to call your dentist as soon as possible. If you are unable to find the missing tooth or the tooth is broken and can’t be saved, try not to worry. Your dentist will recommend options for replacement including dental implants which are the gold standard when it comes to replacing missing teeth. Dental implants are made to match your natural teeth and are screwed into your jawbone so they do not require removal like dentures. Dental implants can last a lifetime when looked after well.

Your tooth is broken, fractured or misaligned

You should be aware that not all broken and fractured teeth are classed as a dental emergency. Minor fractures and chipping of your teeth do not require an emergency dental visit. However, if you experience a major fracture or break in the tooth, for example the tooth snapping at the root, this would be a dental emergency. If the tooth is “jammed” up into the gum-line or is suddenly misaligned with the surrounding dentition, this would also be a clear sign of a dental emergency. Here are a list of signs that you could be experiencing a dental emergency:

  • A fracture line has appeared in the tooth
  • A fracture line in the tooth extends up into the gum-line
  • A sizable portion of the tooth is gone
  • The tooth is bleeding
  • The tooth is misaligned with the surrounding teeth
  • You are experiencing significant pain and discomfort
  • The tooth is changing colour or has changed colour

This is by no means a full list of dental emergencies; when in doubt about a situation, consider it an emergency and call your dentist.

To make an appointment here at Abacus Dental Care, give us a call today on 01908 260757 or book your appointment with us online.

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