Dental Tips and Advice

Our experienced dentists are strong advocates of maintaining good oral hygiene and health through regular brushing, flossing and dental check-ups.

In addition to these preventative measures, we’ve put together a few tips that you can use when faced with a dental emergency.

Toothache

First, thoroughly rinse your mouth with warm water. Use dental floss or a Pikster to remove any lodged food. If your mouth is swollen, apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth or cheek. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums as it may burn the gum tissue. See your dentist as soon as possible.

Chipped or broken teeth

If possible, save any pieces. Rinse the mouth using warm water; rinse the broken pieces. If there’s bleeding, apply a piece of gauze to the area for about 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops. Apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth, cheek or lip near the broken/chipped tooth to keep any swelling down and relieve pain. See your dentist as soon as possible.

Knocked out tooth

Retrieve the tooth, holding it by the crown (the part usually exposed in the mouth). Gently remove any large pieces of dirt or bark fragments. If dirt is still present give the tooth a quick and gentle rinse in milk or water. Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments.

Immediately, if possible, put the tooth back in its socket, making sure it is facing the right way; do not force it into the socket.

Ask the patient to hold the tooth in place by biting gently on a soft cloth or using aluminium foil placed either side of the tooth to aid stability.

If it is not possible to place the tooth back into its socket, wrap the tooth in clear plastic film to keep it moist or place in a small container of milk.

Teeth returned to their socket within 5-10 minutes of being knocked out and quickly attended to by a dentist have the highest chance of being saved.

Immediately seek treatment by a dentist – time is critical to save the tooth and prevent permanent damage.

Extruded (partially dislodged) tooth

To help relieve pain, apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth or cheek in the affected area. See your dentist as soon as possible. An over the counter analgesic (paracetamol, ibuprofen or codeine based) may be taken if needed.

Objects caught between teeth

First, try using dental floss to very gently and carefully remove the object. If you are unsuccessful in removing the object, see your dentist. Never use a pin or sharp objects as these can cut your gums or scratch your tooth surface.

Lost filling

‘Stay off the tooth’ and see your dentist as soon as possible.

Lost crown

If the crown falls off, make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible and bring the crown with you. Chew on the opposite side of the mouth and avoid foods and drinks that are too hot or cold. Keep it lukewarm. Take analgesics and visit your dentist as soon as possible. Do not use super glue or blue tack to secure the crown.

Abscess

An abscess is an infection that occurs around the root of a tooth or in the space between the teeth and gums. This is a serious condition that can damage tissue and surrounding teeth. It is possible for the infection to spread to other parts of the body if left untreated.

Do not delay in seeing your dentist if you discover a pimple-like swelling on your gum. This usually painful swelling could be the start of an abscess. Because of the serious oral health and general health problems that can result from an abscess it is imperative to seek early treatment.

In the meantime, to ease the pain and draw the pus toward the surface, try rinsing your mouth with a mild salt-water solution (1/2 teaspoon of table salt in 1 cup of water) several times a day.

Soft-tissue injuries

Injuries to the tongue, cheeks, gums and lips can result in bleeding. To control the bleeding:

  • Rinse your mouth with a mild salt-water solution
  • Use a moistened piece of gauze or tea bag to apply pressure to the bleeding site. Hold in place for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • To both control bleeding and relieve pain, hold a cold compress to the outside of the mouth or cheek in the affected area for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • If the bleeding doesn’t stop, see your dentist right away or go to a hospital emergency room. Continue to apply pressure on the bleeding site with the gauze until you can be seen and treated.