Emergency Treatment

Emergency Treatment

There are several types of emergencies in dentistry. Have a read below to see where you fit and what you should do:

True Emergencies:

True emergencies include the following three categories;

For all true emergencies, call us straight away to be seen today. We also have our after-hours mobile for emergency treatment.

Urgent Appointments:

Urgent appointments  include the following two categories;

For all urgent appointments, call us to book in an urgent appointment. Please also scroll down to see the recommended steps to take prior to your appointment.

1. Facial Swelling


  • Your facial swelling extends above the cheekbone or below your jaw line (your throat is swelling)
  • You have a high fever, feel sick or have vomited
  • You have any difficulty breathing, your eye is swelling or your throat feels tight

Go straight to the emergency ward at the hospital to receive IV antibiotics. We will also need to see you to remove the tooth, however controlling the spreading infection is a must. There are a lot of very important structures around, and a spreading dental infection can very rapidly become a serious medical issue, or even fatal.

Otherwise: give us a call straight away so we can arrange for you to be seen on this day. We set aside emergency appointments every day to make sure we can see you. We will assess what needs to be done and if you need antibiotics. There's a saying in dentistry: "Never let the sun set on a swelling".

Facial swellings often mean severe dental infection, which usually requires the tooth to be taken out. Make sure you try to eat and keep hydrated. Take two over-the-counter pain killers before your appointment so you have something in your system for when our numbing wears off.

The treatment changes depending on if it is a baby tooth (primary tooth) or adult tooth (permanent), and what sort of trauma occurred. Never put baby teeth back in or try to reposition them as you may damage the adult tooth which is growing underneath it. The following applies for adult teeth only:

2. Dental Trauma

Knocked a tooth out: Ouch! Try and stay calm. The faster it gets put in, the better.

If it has touched the ground, hold it by the crown of the tooth and rinse it as best you can with room temperature milk or solution from the chemist. Do not use plain water as it kills the cells. Do not scrub it.

Put it back in! The best place for the tooth to stay alive is in the socket itself. This may sound silly, but make sure it's the right way (we've seen teeth put in backwards before). Otherwise, you can store it in your cheek (don't swallow it) or in a glass of room temperature milk.

Come to us straight away. Don't worry about making an appointment, the clock is ticking, so we will see you right away. If after-hours, call us on the after-hours line.

Trauma to a tooth where its position of the tooth has changed, your bite has changed or the gum around the tooth is bleeding: call for an urgent appointment as we need to assess how much damage has been done and the appropriate treatment.

Tooth fracture: This depends on how large the fracture is. If it is just superficial and a little bit sensitive, it is not urgent. If it was a very hard hit or the tooth is now wobbly, we need to assess for bone fracture and other damage. If the tooth is bleeding out of the fracture, this is also an emergency and you need to be seen asap.

Note: if you still have the fractured bit of tooth, bring it in! Nothing matches your tooth as well as the tooth itself!

3. Toothache

Painful toothache means there is something wrong that needs attention. A true toothache means the nerve inside the tooth is dying or there is an abscess under the tooth. Please don't think this will go away by itself!

Toothaches can very quickly lead to spreading infection, which is very serious and can be fatal. This is even more urgent if you have any existing medical conditions –particularly, heart issues, transplant, diabetes, low immune system.

Cloves and pain killers can help with your symptoms but the cause of infection needs to be treated.

4. What if I have lost a crown?

  • Keep your crown safe so it can be re-cemented as soon as possible to avoid damage or the need for root canal treatment.
  • Avoid eating on that tooth.
  • Keep the gum around the tooth as clean and healthy as possible. The more healthy that gum, the more successful re-cementing will be.
  • Rub toothpaste around the tooth and the margins and let it sit there as long as possible to strengthen the tooth structure and reduce sensitivity.
  • If the tooth is sensitive, it is more urgent. Contact us immediately.

5. What if I have broken my denture?

  • Please try to resist fixing it yourself! It makes our life a lot harder and often costs you more as we have to cut off the areas touched by conventional glue. Super-glue actually dissolves the acrylic of the denture.
  • Make sure you keep all pieces of the denture safe, bring them all in together.
  • Don't use the denture any more to avoid further breakage.
  • Bring in any old dentures you have had as well.
  • Contact us so we can organise a repair. If the fracture is very simple, we may be able to repair it in the day for you. However, bear in mind that if it is complicate, we will need to take the denture and send it away to be repaired so expect a turnover time.