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Home Dental Team Practice Management Dental Emergencies & Aftercare

Dental Emergencies & Aftercare

If you have a dental emergency please call Devon Dental Centre of Excellence on 01364 652253. If you contact us within the practice opening times, we will endeavour to treat you as soon as possible, if out of hours you may be required to visit one of our sister practices either in Plymouth, Totnes or Bovey Tracey.

There are a few tips on how to deal with a dental emergency below:

Toothache

This type of pain can be very acute and can cause you to have trouble eating, sleeping and just getting on with any normal activity. It is possible you may need antibiotics but the dentist would need to access the particular tooth / teeth and would probably need to take x-rays to determine which tooth is giving trouble. Take painkillers what you would normally take if you had a headache and avoid extreme hot / cold temperatures.

Sometimes your gums may cause toothache so ensure you clean around the area and use warm salty mouth rinses making sure to also clean in between your teeth. Localised gum infections can cause a lot of discomfort but with good oral hygiene this can be controlled.

Broken Tooth

Some teeth can be very painful or just a little sensitive after they fracture so you will need to be extra careful and can be especially sharp. Make an appointment as soon as possible and be sure to keep the area clean and if necessary use sensitive toothpaste until you can see your dentist.

Cracked tooth

This is very common and many of us crack our teeth but until you can make an appointment take it easy and try and avoid chewing on the tooth in question.

Knocked out a tooth

If this happens, hold the tooth by the crown part and not the root and rinse until clean water. The tooth can be inserted back into it’s socket again or alternatively place the tooth into a cup of milk. In either case you will need to see a dentist as soon as possible to reinsert the tooth and possible splint the tooth to it’s neighbour to allow reattachment again. It is important to keep the tooth in a safe place and keep it clean.

Lost Crown

If you have a loose crown or if your crown has fallen out, remove it and then keep in a safe place until you see your dentist. Keep the crown clean and do not try and superglue your crown back in yourself.

Jaw broken

Apply a cold compress to the area to help with swelling and go to the accident and emergency department at you nearest hospital. You can call us but we will only refer you to the hospital for x-rays and treatment anyway.

Bitten lip / tongue

Gently clean the area with warm salty water an then apply a cold compress to help with swelling. If the area is bleeding apply pressure with a clean towel or cloth for at least 15 minutes to that area and is this does not stop go to the emergency department at your nearest hospital.

Bleeding Socket after Extraction

Do not worry; rinse the mouth out very gently with cold water to remove any large clots.

Sit quietly in an upright position. Roll up some clean gauze and place it over the socket from tongue side to cheek. Apply pressure by biting firmly for 20 minutes. Take off the pad and check to see if the bleeding has stopped. If bleeding continues use a new piece of gauze for 20 minutes further. If bleeding continues contact your dentist or emergency department.

Abscess / Swelling

If you notice you have a facial swelling or possible abscess you will need to contact your dentist for treatment. You may experience a headache and likely feel feverish. Drink plenty of fluids and take painkillers that you normally take for a headache. Contact the practice as soon as possible and if you have an difficulty in breathing, swallowing or high temperature, contact the casualty department if out of hours.

An emergency appointment costs from £100 but you may need further appointments to complete the treatment. If you are on one of our dental plans then there is not a charge for assesment of pain and temporary treatment; so please do ask one of our team for the plans available. We always have a dentist on call in the evenings until 10pm and at the weekends who is available to speak to and can come to one of our practices to treat you and this appointment would cost £150 privately but again our dental plans may cover this cost.

'Home Care Instructions'

Post Operative care for Implant Patients

  • For the first 7 to 10 days after surgery, avoid physical exertion (ie. Sports, heavy lifting)
  • For the next 24 hours avoid hot drinks such as tea or coffee.
  • The day after surgery (no less than 24 hours) commence salt water rinses ¼ - ½ teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water and rinse every meal, this will help to keep the wound clean and reduce soreness also rinse gently with Corsodyl mouthwash three times a day.
  • It is very important that your oral hygiene and home care is maintained to the highest of standards and that all hygiene appointments are kept.
  • Avoid alcohol for the first week or longer as this will affect the healing of the tissue. Avoid smoking for two weeks, as this will also slow down the healing process.
  • Leave the denture out as much as possible after the surgery to help the healing of the soft tissues. Do not attempt to force dentures into the mouth and should they become painful stop wearing them and contact your dentist.
  • A surgical dressing may have been placed around the incision after the surgery. Avoid brushing around the area; instead use a cotton bud with Corsodyl to gently clean the area.
  • If an antibiotic has been prescribed, please take only as directed and finish the course, if you appear to be having a reaction to any prescribed medication please contact the surgery.
  • Please maintain a soft diet for the next 10 days during the healing phase. Do not use a water pick, explore the area with your tongue or eat any hard crusty foods.
    Sleeping; sleep with an extra pillow to lift your head for the first 2 nights to reduce swelling.
    Discomfort; only minor discomfort should be experienced.
  • If you have undergone a sinus lift procedure, avoid blowing your nose or drinking through a straw for approximately 2 weeks after surgery. This will help prevent infection, please avoid flying or swimming for 2 weeks after surgery. If you feel like sneezing please try to sneeze through your mouth and not through your nose.
  • Supplements; All patients can help the process of healing by taking multi vitamins and dairy products as part of their diet.
  • CONTACT THE SURGERY IF; numbness persists for more than 24 hours after surgery. Stitches become loose or fall out within the first 5 days, excessive pain or bleeding.
    If you have any questions and need to speak to someone out of surgery hours please do not hesitate to contact your implant aftercare team........

What to do after an extraction

  • In order to speed up healing and prevent infection after a tooth has been extracted, you need to look after yourself carefully.
  • General Advice Do not rinse your mouth out for at least 6 hours after the extraction.
  • Eat soft foods and eat on the other side. Do not disturb the clot as it may start to bleed.
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol for 24 hours. Smoking or allowing food particles to pack in the socket will interfere with the healing process.
  • Avoid strenuous activities for the rest of the day.
  • Some discomfort such as swelling and bruising may be expected for 2-3 days. This is normal.
  • You can also decrease pain and swelling by applying an ice pack but be sure it is wrapped in a towel before applying directly to skin.
  • Be careful not to bite your lips or cheeks and wait until the numbness has worn off before eating. The numbness usually lasts between 2-3 hours.
  • Limit your diet to soft foods, soups and ice creams for the first 48 hours after your extraction.
  • Take painkillers if you need them as you would for a headache (not aspirin unless taken for medical condition). If you are unsure, ask your dentist.
  • Continue taking your medication as normal unless advised by your dentist.
  • If antibiotics have been prescribed, continue to take them for the indicated length of time even if all symptoms and signs of infection are gone.
  • If you feel small pieces of bone working their way out of the socket, Don’t worry this is normal.

Oral Hygiene

  • Provided bleeding has stopped, start salt-water mouth rinses the NEXT day.
  • Dissolve a teaspoon of salt into a glass of comfortably warm water.
  • Hold the salt-water over the socket for 30 seconds, spit out, and then repeat. Do this 4 times a day for 7 days.
  • Brush the rest of your teeth normally with toothpaste, avoiding the socket area.

If bleeding does not stop:

  • Do not worry; rinse the mouth out very gently with cold water to remove any large clots.
  • Sit quietly in an upright position.
  • Roll up some clean gauze and place it over the socket from tongue side to cheek.
  • Apply pressure by biting firmly for 20 minutes. Take off the pad and check to see if the bleeding has stopped.
  • If bleeding continues use a new piece of gauze for 20 minutes further.

If bleeding continues contact your dentist!

Dry socket

  • Sometimes the blood clot in the socket can break down, leaving a painful empty hole in the gum.
  • This is called a ‘dry socket’. The symptoms of dry socket can present as severe pain, earache, unpleasant taste or bad breath.
  • If this happens, please come back to the practice and the dentist will clean the wound and pack it with a dressing that will relieve the pain and reduce the risk of infection.

After Crown & Bridge Appointments

Usually after having a crown or bridge appointment you will be numb from the local anaesthetic so refrain from eating and drinking hot drinks until the numbness has completely worn off as you could bite you tongue, lips or cheeks. After your first appointment you will normally have a temporary crown or bridge. Be careful as this is just a temporary and may come off, this can easily be re-cemented back on until you get your permanent tooth. Sometimes this can feel sensitive, this will go once your permanent tooth has be put on but go careful and avoid sticky or chewy foods and if possible eat on the other side of your mouth. Avoid using floss around these teeth whilst you have a temporary as this may pull off your crown.

If you feel that the tooth is uneven or if you feel pain then do contact the practice to be seen by your dentist. Keep the tooth clean especially around the gums and if you do floss go careful!

After composite (White) Fillings

Usually after having a filling you will be numb from the local anaesthetic used so your lip, tongue and cheeks can feel numb for up to three hours. Avoid chewing and eating any food and also avoid hot drinks as these can burn you. Do this until the numbness has completely gone.

You may feel some sensitivity after having a new filling especially if it was deep so use sensitive toothpaste and take some Ibuprofen. If the problem persists, contact the practice as the filling may need adjusting but be careful not to bite hard until seeing your dentist.

Immediate dentures

The newly fitted ‘Immediate Dentures’ will protect the gums and help healing. The dentures should be kept in the mouth continuously for the first 24hours. They should then be carefully removed and cleaned. Gently rinse the mouth out with a salty mouth rinse (one teaspoon of salt in a beaker of warm water). Replace the dentures straight away.
Please keep the dentures in all-day and overnight for the first week, only taking them out to clean. After the first week please take your dentures out at night.
Sometimes patients may develop pressure sores from their new denture. These will not heal until the denture is adjusted. Please book an appointment with the dentist who can adjust them for you.

Speech
You may find that you have difficulty speaking normally when you first have your dentures fitted. As you get used to your dentures this should improve very quickly. Try reading aloud.

Eating
The first few days after your denture is fitted you may find that eating is difficult/ strange. Your mouth will adapt however, and gradually you will develop new eating habits. You may also notice extra saliva in the mouth. This is quite normal and will reduce in a few days.

Cleaning
Your new dentures are very highly polished. Brush with a soft toothbrush and soap and water. To remove staining use a denture paste or powder.
Please brush and clean your denture after every meal and at night.

DO NOT USE- Very hot water, as this will warp your dentures
Bleaching agents, as these will spoil the colour of the teeth and plate

3-6 months After Extractions
The mouth needs to be allowed time to completely heal after extractions. During this time your dentures may become loose. Your dentist can sometimes adjust or reline them to help them fit better. Once the mouth has stopped changing new dentures can be made which will be the best fit for your mouth.

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