We understand that dental accidents and pain can occur at the most inconvenient time. We believe that nobody should have to wait to see a dentist when they are in pain and make it a priority for same day emergency dental care. We stay open late on weekdays, and we’re even open on Saturday and Sunday between 9am and 6pm to accommodate same day emergency appointments.
Our staff are all highly qualified, experienced, and registered with the Australian Health Practitioner, the primary dental registration service in Australia. We understand that sustaining a dental injury can be both painful and traumatic, and we can help ease your fears as we treat your injuries. Our office is fully equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, including digital X-rays that enable our dentists to quickly and accurately treat your dental pain. We take your comfort seriously, to ensure that you feel as relaxed as possible while you’re being treated.
If you are experiencing dental pain for any reason, you can call our friendly staff on (03) 9999 9703 during business hours.
What is a Dental Emergency ?
Sometimes it can be hard to know whether something qualifies as a dental emergency. At Melbourne Dentist Clinic, we like our patients to be informed so they know when they need to make an appointment. Our general rule of thumb is this: If it hurts, it’s an emergency! Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong, and we don’t think you should ever ignore it.
The most common dental emergencies that we treat include:
The fact is that even seemingly minor injuries or pain can lead to major dental problems if you don’t take care of them right away. If you experience any of the above symptoms, you should call the Melbourne Dentist Clinic on (03) 9999 9703 immediately to make an appointment.
What to Do in an Emergency
It is very easy to panic in an emergency. When you or someone you love is in pain, and especially if it happens as the result of a traumatic injury, it is common to make mistakes because you lack the information you need. We like to keep our patients as informed as possible, so here is a guide to help you know what to do in the event of an emergency.
Tooth pain is merely a symptom that something else is going on, but it can sometimes be debilitating. If you experience any tooth pain at all, you should call your dentist to make an appointment as it may be an indication of a serious problem. The earlier you get treatment, the better it will be for you and your tooth. Early treatments may involve getting a filling if the tooth ache occurs as the result of decay. If you wait, the treatments required may be more involved – and more expensive – than they would be otherwise.
Here are some things you can do if you experience tooth pain:
- Rinse your mouth with warm, salty water (use tap water).
- If it’s not too painful, gently floss around the affected tooth to remove food particles. Sometimes small pieces of food can press against the tooth and that can exacerbate the pain.
- If necessary, take over-the-counter pain medication to alleviate the pain while you wait for your appointment.
The above steps are stop-gap measures, not a replacement for professional dental care. Sometimes people think they have to tough it out when they have a tooth ache, but it is a mistake to do that. Waiting can have serious consequences.
One final note, if a toothache is bad enough to wake you up in the middle of the night, the chances are good that you will need either root canal therapy or an extraction. Do not wait – call our dental clinic right away to make an appointment or book and appointment online during non-business hours.
Root Canal Therapy
Root Canal Therapy is a treatment that can help save an infected tooth, whether the infection is caused by tooth decay, an infection, or a fracture of the tooth. A root canal allows us to save your tooth. We always look at a tooth extraction as the treatment of last resort, and we find that most patients agree.
There are several key indicators, which will be present when a root canal may be required. Here are some symptoms that may indicate that you are a candidate for this treatment:
- Lingering tooth sensitivity to hot and cold drinks and food
- Tooth sensitivity when eating sweets, such as chocolate
- Tooth pain when biting down on something
- Severe tooth pain
- Impulsive tooth pain (pain that occurs seemingly out of nowhere)
- Swelling of the jaw or face
If you have any of the above symptoms, please call our dental clinic to make an appointment. While it is fine to delay root canal therapy for a few days and use over-the-counter pain medication, long-term delays can lead to serious problems and may make it impossible to save your tooth.
Emergency Tooth Extractions
Sometimes the damage to a tooth is so serious that a tooth extraction is the only option. We do our best to save our patients’ teeth. Tooth extractions can sometimes cause the remaining teeth to spread out, and when that happens it can change the appearance of your smile. Often, a combination of other treatments, including root canal therapy or a dental crown can help save a damaged tooth. In the event you do need a tooth extraction, our experienced staff can do it in the most painless way possible.
Knocked Out Tooth
Knocked out teeth are one of the most common dental emergencies we treat at Melbourne Dentist Clinic. The most frequent cause for a knocked out tooth is a sports related injuries, but other things can also cause a tooth to get knocked loose.
If you or someone you love loses a tooth, you need to make an appointment right away. It’s also very important to know the right things to do in the moment to maximise the chances that we will be able to save the tooth. When an accident happens, here is what you need to know:
- Do not panic. When a tooth is knocked out, it is painful and upsetting. However, staying as calm as you can is the best thing to do.
- Locate the tooth and make sure to pick it up by the crown end, not the root.
- If the whole tooth (including the root) comes out, be very careful not to touch the root. It is delicate and easily damaged. Wash the tooth gently using either saline solution (such as the kind used to clean contact lenses) or milk. Wash only for a few seconds to remove obvious dirt. DO NOT use tap water as this may damage the delicate tooth and nerve endings.
- If the person who lost the tooth is conscious, gently place the tooth back in the socket. Be very careful to face the tooth the right way. If you can take this step immediately, you greatly increase the chances that we will be able to reattach the tooth.
- You can put a clean handkerchief in your mouth (or the mouth of the person who lost the tooth) to help hold the tooth in place.
- If the person who lost the tooth is unconscious, or if you cannot put the tooth back in place, you need to store it in a small, clean container. It is best to store it in saliva (preferably the saliva of the person the tooth belongs to) or milk.
- If you do not have a container to store it in, an alternative is to wrap the wet tooth in plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.
Once you have taken the above steps, you need to call our practice immediately to make an emergency appointment. As a rule, if you can put the tooth back into the socket in the first 20 minutes after it falls out, you greatly increase the chances that we will be able to reattach the tooth.
If the tooth that gets knocked out is a baby tooth (also known as a milk tooth) do NOT place it back in the socket. Doing so can actually cause damage by making the tooth fuse and preventing normal emergence of the adult tooth underneath it. Instead, follow the instructions above for transporting the tooth, and call us immediately to make an appointment.
Broken or Chipped Tooth
Another common dental emergency involves breaking or chipping a tooth, or losing a filling (which basically has the same effect.) If you break or chip a tooth, do not wait to call us. When a tooth breaks or chips, it can allow bacteria to get in under the tooth. If left untreated, it can lead to a serious infection.
While you are waiting for your appointment, there are some things you can do to minimize your pain and discomfort:
- Avoid extremely hot or extremely cold foods and liquids, as the broken tooth will likely be very sensitive to these things.
- Be careful when you choose what to eat, and avoid hard or chewy foods.
- Try not to chew on the side with the injury.
- Use over-the-counter pain medication to alleviate the pain.
If the tooth has a jagged edge, you may find that chewing causes lacerations to the insides of your mouth. Be very careful and come see us as soon as possible.
A dental abscess is a localized infection that can form at the root of a tooth or between the teeth and gums. It can be painful and, if the infection spreads, it may even be life-threatening. The symptoms of an abscess include redness, pain, open mouth sore, pain while chewing, fever, and a bitter taste in the mouth.
If you suspect you have an abscess, call immediately to make an appointment. While you are waiting for your appointment, rinsing your mouth with warm, salty tap water can help to relieve the pain.
With any surgery, there is a small chance of developing a post-surgery infection. If you have recently had dental surgery such as an extraction or root canal therapy, you should be aware of the signs of infection. The symptoms to look out for include fever, swelling around the affected area, and pain.
If you suspect you have an infection, call us immediately. It is much easier to treat an early-stage infection than one that has spread. If you are already taking an antibiotic, you may have to switch your prescription to treat the infection. If you are not taking an antibiotic, we will prescribe one.
Infection of Wisdom Teeth
Another common cause of dental problems is the partial eruption of wisdom teeth. Because many people do not have enough room in their mouths for wisdom teeth to come in properly, they end up with partially-erupted teeth that can cause the formation of gum flaps. Food particles can get trapped there and cause an infection.
If you suspect you have an infection of your wisdom teeth – a condition called pericoronitis - you can rinse out your mouth with warm, salty water every few hours to relieve the pain while you are waiting for your appointment.
Emergency Dentistry for Children
Children can be rowdy and rambunctious, and because of that, they are very prone to dental injuries. In fact, approximately one third of all toddlers between the ages of 18 and 40 months sustain some kind of tooth injury. It is essential to get treatment right away. Do not make the mistake of thinking that a child who doesn’t have his permanent teeth yet can go without an appointment.
Injuries and damage to baby teeth can cause long-lasting problems. As mentioned earlier, if a baby tooth falls out you should not put the tooth back into the socket. Instead, wash it in milk or saline solution and store it in milk or saliva, or wrap it in plastic wrap. Call immediately to make an appointment and bring the tooth with you.
If your child complains of mouth pain or you suspect something isn’t quite right, make an appointment right away. Untreated dental issues in children can cause problems with their adult teeth later.
To prevent childhood dental problems, the best option is to schedule a regular dental appointment for your child every six months. Regular cleanings allow us to catch problems and treat them early – before they turn into major issues.
Preventing Sporting Dental Injuries
One of the most common causes of dental trauma and injury is playing sport. The risk of tripping, falling, or otherwise getting injured increases dramatically on the field or court.
If you do play a sport, we highly recommend wearing a professionally-fitted mouth guard to protect your teeth. Wearing a mouth guard greatly reduces the risk of injury.
In the event of a sport-related injury, follow the instructions above for cleaning the tooth and place it back in the socket if possible. You may also use a cold pack or ice in or around the mouth to help reduce swelling.
Preventing Dental Emergencies
There is no way to completely avoid injuries to your teeth, but in addition to wearing a professionally-fitted mouth guard while playing sport, you can also take the following precautions:
- Do not chew hard things if you can avoid it. Some things to avoid include popcorn kernels, ice cubes, and hard lollies.
- Do not use your teeth to tear open plastic packages (or anything else). Use scissors instead.
- Do not place sharp objects into your mouth for any reason.
The most important thing you can do to prevent dental emergencies is to take care of your teeth. That means brushing and flossing every day, and scheduling regular dental cleanings with us – every six months is ideal.
Seven Day Emergency Dental Care in Melbourne
Melbourne Dentist Clinic is happy to announce that we are now open on Saturdays and Sundays to provide emergency dental care. We understand that sustaining an injury to your teeth can be both painful and emotionally traumatic. Our professional staff will help soothe your fears as they get you the treatment that you need.
No matter what your situation is, you can rely on our friendly staff to give the professional and empathetic care you require. Call us on (03) 9999 9703 to make an appointment today.
Private Health Insurance for Dental Emergencies
As the preferred provider for many different health funds, Melbourne Dentist Clinic is proud to help our patients get the treatments they need. However, please note that coverage from your health fund will depend on various factors, including the level of coverage your private health insurance policy offers and the dental treatment required. You should verify coverage by checking with your health insurance provider.
Here is a list of just a few of the many health funds that we accept at Melbourne Dentist Clinic:
- CDH Benefits
- CBHS Health Fund
- Australian Unity