Dental Emergencies During Christmas

Health tips | 14 Dec 2021

Don’t wait until January to get emergency dental help

The team at The Neem Tree is issuing an important reminder this Christmas season. Do not wait until January to get dental treatment, we have our services open throughout the festive season to allow you to get emergency help for those who need it!’

A trip to the dentist is not a great treat for anyone at Christmas but leaving any dental issues you have to be treated after the new year is a terrible idea. 

What to do in a dental emergency How to Handle a Dental Emergency Over the Holidays 

It happens to the best of us. Your wisdom tooth starts paining you right before the turkey gets served or your child is absolutely thrilled to receive a new swing set for Christmas only for them to take a tumble of it just moments later, resulting in a knocked-out tooth. When dental problems occur, sometimes it’s quite straightforward to tell what is categorised as an emergency and what dental issues can wait but sometimes it isn’t quite as straightforward as you may think. 

What you, as a patient, may see as a non-emergency could be seen quite differently to your dentist. If you find yourself faced with a dental emergency at the most unfortunate of times, follow these dental emergency tips from our experts at The Neem Tree. 

Well the best way to deal with a dental emergency is to try your best to avoid it completely in the first place. You can do this by following our 12 days of Christmas guide to keeping your teeth in the best condition possible this holiday season. However, we understand that sometimes that is not always possible, which is why we have created these tips to help you through any dental emergency that may happen. 

Sometimes it can be quite tricky to determine whether you should go to a hospital or to a dentist for your dental emergency. Here at The Neem Tree we are prioritising emergency appointments so, even during the holiday season, you will be able to see a dentist. 

Below we have created some guidance on how to tell if you are suffering from a dental emergency and what to do next. Dental emergencies can occur at any time and sometimes you might be unsure about whether you should go to a hospital or a dentist for your dental emergency. 

The answer is actually varied. Dental emergencies require different levels of care depending on their severity. Maybe you got hit in the face or had an accident and your tooth is loose, or broken or maybe it’s even fallen out. Maybe you have tooth pain so severe that it cannot be controlled by painkillers and you don’t know how you are going to make it through the day. 

How to get emergency dental treatment over Christmas 

Let’s be very clear to begin with, any dental pain you may have is not normal, being in pain is not normal and should not be taken lightly. Any issues you have that are causing you any oral pain should be seen by a professional immediately. What may seem like a relatively small issue could quite quickly develop into something more serious. Leaving any dental pain or emergency could result in further pain or discomfort and can create bigger and more difficult problems for you also resulting in ruining your ability to enjoy festive foods and drink. 

If you have any ongoing issues that you have been putting on hold to get sorted in the new year, we recommend and strongly urge you to get any problems you have sorted at the dentist as soon as you can, as leaving the problem may worsen the longer you leave it. 

So where do you go when these emergencies happen?

Where you need to go for treatment when you have a dental emergency depends on the type of emergency you have. 

Who you can call in a dental emergency.

If you are unsure where you should go during your dental emergency, sometimes it’s best to call someone so they can direct you to the right place. The two places you should go to call first are 111 or your dental practice. You will be able to describe your emergency to both these places and they will direct you to the best place for you to get treatment and will also talk you through the next steps you should take.  

When you Should go to the Hospital 

Dental emergencies or any traumas to the face and mouth require immediate medical attention and you should go to your nearest hospital or A&E as soon as you can. These types of dental emergencies include an infection that is bleeding, swollen or affecting your breathing or swallowing, jaw dislocations, serious cursor lacerations to the face and mouth.

These are situations where you need to call 999 or 111 depending on the severity or you should go straight to A&E. Do not wait for your Dentist to schedule you in, go straight to a hospital.

You should be aware that it is highly unlikely that they will be able to offer help for general dental problems and you probably will have to wait longer than average wait times over the Christmas period. 

You should definitely visit A&E if you are bleeding excessively, have excessive swelling, have trauma to the face, mouth or teeth or have been involved in a recent accident. 

When you should see a Dentist 

There are other dental emergencies that may not be considered life threatening but may still require immediate care. If you crack or break a tooth or you get a tooth knocked out you are able to wait to see your dentist. Unless there is a lot of bleeding or the loss of the tooth is a result of a violent accident or injury (e.g. being punched in the face), you can probably wait for your dentist to handle it for you.

Loss of a tooth 

While a decayed or abscessed tooth may cause quite serious pain, it does not qualify as an emergency unless it is affecting your ability to breathe or swallow. Even though this may not warrant you to go to the hospital it is imperative that you make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible! 

What to do when your dentist isn’t available 

Unfortunately, dental emergencies do not always occur when your dental practice is open. If your dental emergency happens out of opening hours or during a holiday and is not considered life threatening, always try calling us or 111 before pursuing alternative care options. 

Many dental practises provide their patients with an on-call substitute recommendation when they are not available or with after-hours emergency care. In the case where your dentist is not able to see you after hours, you should go to the nearest healthcare facility in your area.

Our Opening Times Over Christmas 

We are open during the Christmas period so give us a call if you have any emergencies and we will do our best to see you at your earliest convenience. 

Dental emergencies explained

Here are a few of the most common dental emergencies:

  • Chipped / broken tooth 
  • Filling loss
  • Knocked-out tooth 
  • Loss of filling 
  • Object or food stuck in between teeth 
  • Tooth pain 
  • Uncontrollable bleeding of teeth or gums

Always contact your dental office or 111 ASAP in any dental emergency 

When you are faced with a dental emergency it is always a good idea to call your dental office, regardless of the hour. The Neem Tree dental practises are always here to help you during the holidays. If you are unable to reach us, you should call 111. 

Contacting a dental helpline or your dental practice ASAP may be the only way to save a tooth. 

What is a dental emergency? 

The health and wellbeing of our patients and their families remain our top priority especially during the Christmas season. We have listed some emergencies that may help you understand what will qualify as a dental emergency and what may not. 

What is a not dental emergency? 

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms it is possible for you to treat the problem at home or wait for your usual dentist to get you an appointment: 

  • Sensitive teeth 
  • Discomfort from dentures or braces
  • An intermittent toothache 
  • Sensitive teeth or bleeding gums
  • Mouth ulcers that have been persistent for less than 10 days 
  • A broken or chipped tooth 
  • A loose or missing veneer or crown 
  • Pain when biting down 

Dental Emergency: 

You need to see a dental professional if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • Swelling on your gums, cheek or face that is not going down or is spreading. If the swelling is spreading towards your neck, eyes or mouth you need to ensure that you tell any emergency service you call that this is happening
  • Sharp excruciating pain that is not going down with over the counter painkillers
  • Mouth ulcers that have persisted over 10 days
  • Knocked out tooth that is bleeding

Accident and Emergency 

You should go straight to A&E if you are experiencing: 

  • Uncontrollable bleeding from your mouth 
  • Trauma causing loss of consciousness or double vision 
  • Facial swelling affecting your ability to breath or swallow or affecting your vision or ability to open your mouth

The Most Common Holiday Dental Emergencies

A Broken or Chipped Tooth 

If you’ve found yourself in a situation where your tooth is broken or chipped, you should try your best to save any pieces of the tooth possible. If the chipped tooth catches on your tongue or cheek and is causing you some discomfort, you can apply gauze over it to protect the inside of your mouth.

Rinse your mouth with warm salt water and also carefully rinse any piece of the tooth you have saved. If you are experiencing any persistent bleeding, be sure to call 111 and apply gauze to the affected area in the meantime. You can also apply an ice pack to the affected area to reduce any swelling. If you have continuous pain in the area, you should take some over-the-counter painkillers to help relieve any pain or discomfort. 

A Severe Toothache 

Painkillers are very helpful when trying to treat a toothache. Rinsing your mouth with a warm saltwater rinse may also help fight any infection that may be present and will also help dislodge any food particles that may be causing you some irritation. 

A Knocked Out Tooth

If you have a tooth that is knocked out you need to seek care immediately because they have the best chance of being saved when they are replaced within one hour. In order for your tooth to be saved you need to make sure you keep the tooth. Gently rinse the root of the tooth with water and be careful not to scrub the tooth or attached tissue. If you can, try to put the tooth back into the socket, facing the correct way but do not force the tooth in. 

If you are unable to reinsert the tooth, place the tooth in a cup of milk or in saltwater until you are able to see a professional.

An Abscessed Tooth 

An abscessed tooth can be a serious and potentially life-threatening condition. This is definitely considered a dental emergency. If it is left untreated, the infection could spread to the jaw or other parts of the body. 

Whilst you are waiting for emergency treatment, you should avoid hot foods and drinks. Use a soft bristled toothbrush and avoid flossing in that area. 

An Abscess can be extremely painful but before you seek treatment avoid painkillers such as numbing gel prior to your appointment. 

Swilling your mouth with warm salt water will help draw the pus to the surface before you get treatment. 

A Broken Filling  

If possible, save any pieces of a lost filling. You may even need to cover the exposed area with gauze if the lost filling has left your tooth with any unprotected sharp edges. 

Our Advice

You may feel a bit helpless about getting treatment during the busiest time of the year but there is help out there for you. Our message is, if you need help, all you need to do is give us a call at The Neem Tree and we will do our best to fit you in for an emergency appointment and help you. 

It is very important that you take good care of yourself and your oral health over the holiday season. Make sure you are brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, once in the morning and the second time right before you go to bed. Also be sure to use a fluoride toothpaste, cut down on sugary foods and drinks and do not forget to go attend your regular dentist appointments. 

To keep up to date with all of our blogs and videos, follow us on FacebookInstagram and YouTube.

Contact us today to find out more about dental emergencies over Christmas by contacting one of our practices in Esher, Surrey or Wandsworth, South West London.