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What to do if you have a dental emergency

Posted on March 15,2021

Here’s how our dentists fixed a broken tooth

No matter how carefully you brush and floss your teeth every day; no matter how regularly you come and visit our friendly team; the fact remains that – unfortunately – accidents can sometimes happen. Very rarely, your teeth, gums, and even your jaw can sadly be damaged or broken in everyday activities, without you doing anything wrong.

If this ever happens to you, our message is: please don’t panic! Our team of dentists and dental nurses will be keen to help you in whatever way we can.

Here is the story of an actual patient who experienced a painful dental emergency – and how Dr Andrew Teakle and the Wickham Terrace Dental team were able to help not only with the immediate effects, but also with ensuring the ongoing health of our patient’s tooth for the long haul.

How a simple dog walk led to a badly damaged tooth

Our patient Natalie was out for her usual early morning bike ride. A keen multitasker, Natalie was also taking her dog Roxie for a walk on a leash.

Things were going great, until a local neighbourhood dog jumped the fence and tried to attack Roxie. In a tangle of spokes, leads, dogs and limbs, Natalie came crashing to the pavement head first.

Natalie before

In the moment, unfortunately Natalie wasn’t able to protect her face as she fell. You can just imagine how much pain she was in – and this was exacerbated when she noticed blood and swelling around her mouth and lips, along with a very tender and sensitive tooth that was broken and slightly loose in the socket. With a badly lacerated lip, Natalie attended the local hospital’s Accident and Emergency department where her lip was stitched.

Knowing that she’d experienced a pretty traumatic dental emergency, Natalie next contacted Wickham Terrace Dental. Our team acted quickly and fortunately were able to arrange an emergency dental appointment straight away.

Seek emergency treatment for a damaged tooth

As an existing patient, Natalie happened to know that seeking early treatment for an injured tooth is very important. Our team will do everything they can to fit you in for an emergency appointment as soon as possible as this may prevent further complications.

When Dr Andrew Teakle examined Natalie he discovered that she had broken a substantial part of her front tooth and had soft tissue damage around her gums, along with the cut lip. The soft inner dentine of her tooth was exposed, which explained the extreme sensitivity Natalie felt.

Fortunately, while there was obvious structural damage to the tooth the examination showed no early signs of nerve trauma or substantial movement within the damaged socket. This was a positive diagnosis which meant that the tooth wasn’t in immediate danger of dying – although it would need monitoring regularly to ensure no future problems appeared.

With this promising prognosis, the team could move on to restoring Natalie’s broken tooth.

See how you can afford the treatment you need

Dr Teakle used a layered composite resin restoration to replace the missing part of the broken tooth. The restoration closely resembles Natalie’s natural teeth by using an opaque and deeper coloured inner layer to mimic the tooth’s core, surrounded by a lighter and more translucent outer layer to resemble the tooth enamel.

Today, Natalie’s tooth is healthy and the original restoration is still in place and fulfilling its function. Natalie tells us that no-one has ever mentioned the damaged tooth since it looks just like a normal healthy tooth. She visits Wickham Terrace dental regularly to allow our team to check her tooth’s health – everything is going great so far!

Natalie after

What should you do in a dental emergency?

If you do experience damage to your teeth, gums, or jaw it’s important to seek attention from your dentist ASAP. This not only can help with pain or sensitivity but also may prevent further damage that can occur if the tooth is left untreated.

For example, if trauma has caused your tooth to slightly move out of position, any further knocks to the area can cause the tooth to die. In some cases that may be inevitable, but with early attention from a dentist we may be able to protect the tooth nerve, its surrounding soft tissue such as your gums, and your overall bite.

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Your dentist will assess any other damage such as to your jaw joint and other structures in your mouth. We also test the vitality of the tooth to check that it is still alive, and will usually carry out x-rays to act as a baseline. We can then monitor future changes over time – such as whether an infection develops – to look for signs that the tooth is dying from the trauma.

If you can find the broken piece of tooth you’re welcome to bring it in with you to your emergency appointment. We may not end up using it in your restoration, but it’s good to have the option if possible.

Contact us for an emergency dental appointment

If you experience a damaged or broken tooth, or any other dental emergency, our team will do whatever we can to help.

For an urgent dental appointment, call our Brisbane emergency dentists on (07) 3831 3031 or contact us online now.

Topics: broken tooth, emergency dental

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