Urgent Appointments for Dental Emergencies
Broken fillings, dental pain – Can i get this fixed? Please call us to find out about an urgent appointment for your dental emergency. In some cases we may be able to see you on the same day.
Answers to frequently asked questions:
Toothache can strike at any time and is often excruciatingly painful. It can be caused by a number of things including tooth decay, gum disease, wisdom teeth, trauma and cracked teeth. It may be made worse by contact with the affected tooth or area, or by changes in temperature e.g. with cold water against the tooth. If you are experiencing dental pain it is very important that you get it checked out by a dentist so they can determine the cause of the pain, help resolve it and help you maintain your teeth and gums to prevent further problems.
At Merivale Dental Group we realise how painful these issues can be and so if you contact us with a toothache or other dental pain we will make every effort to see you on that day.
In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to help keep yourself more comfortable. The best pain relief for toothaches and other dental pain is an anti-inflammatory painkiller such as ibuprofen which can be taken in combination with paracetamol. These are readily available from supermarkets and pharmacies – follow the directions on the packaging as taking too much can cause other problems. Oil of cloves does seem to help relieve some forms of dental pain when applied to the affected area. This can be purchased at most pharmacies, but again please use carefully and as directed as overuse can cause other problems. Topical anaesthetic gels such as Bonjella also help relieve some forms of dental pain and again this can be purchased at most pharmacies. It is important to realise that any of these are only temporary fixes designed to keep you comfortable until you can get in to see a dentist and have the cause of the problem treated.
Although rare, unplanned complications can happen after dental treatment. The most common complications occur after dental extractions, or oral surgery.
At Merivale Dental Group we will always provide you with verbal and written information following dental extractions and minor oral surgery to help ensure you know what to do if any problems occur. However to reiterate the most common problems after dental extractions are:
- Continued bleeding from the socket – In these cases its best to bite down on the gauze packs provided for a good 20-30 minutes. Tea bags may be used if no gauze is available. If excessive bleeding is still present, please contact us or if it’s after hours, you should call the emergency dentist (027 683 0679) for advice. Patients taking aspirin or blood thinners, or with blood disorders are most likely group to have this problem.
- On-going pain – Sometimes as the local anaesthetic wears off, you may experience some temporary discomfort that gradually improves. We recommend taking some pain relief such as ibuprofen or paracetamol. Other drugs may be prescribed by the dentist if needed.
- Dry socket – This happens if the blood clot in the socket is lost too soon in the healing process. This allows the bone and nerve endings in the socket to become exposed which is very painful. This usually starts about two to four days after having the tooth out and in some cases is worse than the original toothache. If you think this is happening head in and see your dentist who can place a dressing in the socket to help settle it down.
At Merivale Dental Group we don’t charge for these follow-up appointments if we removed the tooth.
Pain after new fillings
Deep fillings may be somewhat sensitive in the first few days after placement. Our dentists will usually warn you if the filling is very deep and close to the nerve and they think there is likely to be a problem. In most cases, this dull sensitivity will resolve. However, if it persist or gets worse please let us know. In many cases sensitive toothpaste or an anti-inflammatory painkiller such as ibuprofen will help settle the sensitivity more quickly.
This most commonly occurs as a result of trauma, i.e. direct irritation of the soft tissues of your mouth by a number of sources such as biting the inside of your cheeks or lips, or from burning the roof of your mouth. The good news is that these will tend to heal up by themselves over a period of about two weeks. Any ulcer pain usually settles after about a week into the healing process. If they are painful then try and prevent irritating the area by avoiding spicy, acidic or hot foods or drinks and alcohol. Topical anaesthetic creams such as Bonjella can be purchased from a pharmacy to help keep the ulcers comfortable for a short period of time e.g. to allow you to eat dinner comfortably. If an ulcer is intensely painful then you should see your dentist as there are some other options to help manage the pain.
Any ulcer that persists for more than two weeks needs to be checked by a dentist as they are more likely to be the result of something other than trauma. Repeated oral ulceration or a large outbreak can be a sign of some general medical issues and should be investigated.
Ulcers may also occur after the fitting of a new denture. In this case see the person who has provided the denture as it can most likely be sorted with a quick adjustment of the fitting surface.
A severe knock to a tooth can potentially cause problems either immediately or in the future. In all cases we would recommend that you see a dentist who can then ascertain the level of damage, treat the problem and arrange follow-up. They will also be able to register the accident with ACC so any future problems with that tooth (related to the original or subsequent accidents) are covered.
If a tooth has been completely dislodged from the mouth it needs to be replanted within the first hour to give it a good chance of surviving and healing. Ideally seek immediate dental treatment and keep the tooth in balanced salt solution (is becoming more common in first aid kits) or milk. At least keep the tooth damp and try to minimise handling it – especially on the delicate root surface.
If a piece has broken off the tooth, then you will need to see a dentist to have the tooth repaired. If the tooth is quite sensitive to cold air or water then it could be broken close to the nerve and should be attended to urgently to help prevent an infection starting in the nerve.
Any knock to a tooth can disrupt the blood supply to it and cause problems with bruising in the bony socket the tooth sits in, or damage the nerve that provides sensation to the tooth. It most cases we will encourage you to be very gentle with the tooth (soft diet) for a while, keep it nice and clean (but be gentle) and take pain relief as needed.
At Merivale Dental Group we are registered to provide treatment for any dental injuries covered by ACC. This can involve the immediate repair and relief of pain type work, or could be a longer term solution to the problem with on-going follow-up as needed.