Abscess / facial swelling
An abscessed tooth is a painful infection at the root of a tooth or between the gum and a tooth. It’s most commonly caused by severe tooth decay. Other causes of tooth abscess are trauma to the tooth, gingivitis or gum disease. An abscess will not go away on its own, so it’s essential you visit your dentist immediately.
If you have any form of facial swelling you must seek medical help immediately. If you notice any facial swelling outside our opening hours please see you doctor or attend your nearest emergency department.
If you have sustained an injury and your tooth has been knocked out it is important to act quickly. Please call us and our receptionist will make arrangements for the first available dentist to see you. Patients suffering significant head, neck, or facial trauma should attend the hospital emergency department first.
Any injury to your mouth could crack, chip or break a tooth. An injured tooth may also be loose, moved in position, or intruded into the gum. An examination by a dentist is required even if there is no apparent damage to the crown of the tooth as the roots of your teeth could be damaged. Keep any tooth fragments as it may be possible for the dentist to reattach.
Steps to save your knocked out tooth
Locate the tooth and pick it up by the crown. DO NOT touch the root surface.
If dirty, gently rinse the tooth with milk or injured person’s saliva. DO NOT use chemicals, water, scrub, dry or wrap the tooth.
Position the tooth back in the socket, ideally the right way round. The sooner the tooth is replaced, the best chance it will have to survive.
Once in place hold the tooth by gently biting down on a soft cloth or tissue, or use aluminium foil or your mouthguard to hold it in place.
If you are unable to position the tooth into the socket, keep it moist by placing it in milk or in injured person’s mouth (next to their cheek).
See your dentist as soon as possible, ideally within an hour of the accident.
Preventing dental emergencies
Most dental emergencies can be avoided by taking some simple precautions. You can minimise the damage from a mouth injury by wearing a mouth guard during contact sports and training sessions. You can reduce the risk of cracking or breaking your teeth by avoiding hard foods, such as lollies, refrigerated chocolate or whole almonds. In most cases, dental abscesses can be avoided by seeing your dentist regularly to detect and treat dental decay before it progresses into the nerve of the tooth and causes infection.
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