A guide to managing dental emergencies

A guide to managing dental emergencies

If you wake up in the night with stabbing abdominal pain, you would normally call for help. 

If you are a parent, you are almost certainly well versed in when it is important to get your child or children to a doctor and what to do in the interim before the visit. 

However, if you are out and about and a filling becomes loose, what do you do? 

What are the steps to take before seeing the dentist in Sydney CBD if you have an infection? 

Few people are aware of what to do if struck with a dental emergency, which in some cases, can lead to prolonged periods of discomfort or causing more damage with ‘at home’ remedies. 

So, what are the most commonly asked questions on how to handle a dental emergency and what do dental professionals suggest? Read on to find out!

What is a dental emergency?

A dental emergency includes when a tooth becomes cracked, chipped or falls out completely due to blunt force trauma or injury. 

It is also common to regard throbbing or pulsating pain in the mouth as requiring same day treatment, as well as lost fillings, lost crowns, sudden swelling or broken orthodontic braces. 

If you are in a level of discomfort that is preventing you from eating, sleeping or functioning, you are likely to require an emergency dental appointment.

Can I avoid dental emergencies?

Oh yes!

If you are on a sports team, it may be wise to wear a custom fitted mouthguard, designed by a dentist in Sydney CBD. This will help prevent breakage, cracks and chips from forming on your teeth as part of any sports impacts. 

Similarly, routine dental check-ups are important to minimise the chances of dental infections or tooth decay, both of which can cause a significant amount of discomfort. Also, check-ups allow your dental team to assess any fillings, crowns or other restorative work, to see if they are loose or require replacing. 

I chipped my tooth – should I leave it?

One of the most common dental emergencies, a chipped tooth, even if there is no discomfort, is advisable to be seen as soon as possible by a dental professional. 

Delaying treating the fractured tooth can cause cracks or chips to further spread, leading to further dental damage. Also, a hole or crack in a tooth is the perfect breeding spot for decay causing bacteria, leading to cavity formation or, if the crack is deep enough, a dental infection. 

It’s best not to leave it to chance! If your tooth is cracked, call your dental surgery and have a chat with the staff about what to do!

What can I take for relief?

Similar to a first aid kit, you can design a dental first aid kit yourself and keep it in your medicine cupboard, to help you cope in the hours before your appointment. 

Anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen are great, but also pack a saline solution, gauze (for keeping any tooth fragments), a temporary filling repair kit, cotton wool balls and clove oil to temporarily numb painful swelling in your mouth.


Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.