Out of hours
These things always seem to happen at the worst possible time! There is an emergency clinic in Ballymena, on weekday evenings and weekend mornings for serious dental emergencies (phone no: 028 2566 3510).
We strongly advise you to contact the practice on 028 2565 6703 as soon as we open. Each dentist working keeps a spare hour for emergencies but the slots often go quickly so ring at 9am sharp.
We thought it might be useful to offer here some advice on the most common or serious dental problems. This is what we would tell you if we were on the other end of the phone. Scroll down and click on which topic you need advice on.
Severe dental pain is the most unpleasant things to experience. ‘Over the counter ’painkillers (e.g. paracetamol or ibuprofen) are the most effective for dental pain. These are readily available but instructions on the packaging must be followed carefully to ensure correct dosage and suitability. Liquid paracetamol and ibuprofen are available for children – again, follow the labelling. But painkillers won’t cure the underlying problem, so bouts of severe pain need to be followed up with a visit to the practice.
Often a knocked-out (but intact) adult tooth can be successfully repositioned and last for years to come. Speed is important, the tooth needs to be gently rinsed and placed back the right way round into the space it came out from. If you can,hold it in place by biting on a clean tissue. It needs to be splinted into place by us, the out-of-hours dentist at Dalriada Urgent Care, or at casualty. If you can’t reposition the tooth yourself then keep in milk until both you and it get to a dentist – as soon as possible. This is not the kind of thing that can be left from Saturday morning football until Monday morning! Please note baby teeth are never reimplanted.
Infection is the most common cause of swelling, often from a dental abscess. Usually, our first step is antibiotics, followed by treatment to deal with the source of the infection. While antibiotics need to be prescribed by a dentist or doctor, pain relief can be obtained ‘over the counter’. Swelling ALWAYS needs to be followed up, so please contact the practice as soon as you can. If there is any difficulty at all breathing or swallowing, go to your nearest casualty department immediately.
Bleeding usually follows removal of a tooth. It can occur hours after a tooth has been removed and this is generally no cause for alarm. There are a few simple things to do which will usually be sufficient to manage the situation.
Firstly, sit down. Exercise increases blood pressure and will aggravate any bleeding. Spit out any blood or bloody saliva – do not rinse, this will encourage further bleeding. Pressure needs to be applied to the site, so bite on clean tissue or kitchen roll folded into a small pad for 10 minutes. Check to see if the bleeding has stopped. If it hasn’t repeat the pressure. If repeated attempts fail, and there is still significant bleeding, attend casualty.
Often the main problem associated with a broken tooth is that it is sharp and irritates the tongue. If you have access to a chemist shop, temporary filling material can smooth this in the short term. Try to avoid eating on the damaged tooth. Sensitivity can also be a problem. Avoid very hot or cold liquids. Ring the practice in the morning and we can provide a temporary filling until we can reach a long-term solution.
Lost crown or bridge
If your crown or bridge comes out, do NOT attempt to replace it yourself using superglue (as we occasionally see). If appearance isn’t an issue, leave it out and keep it in a safe place until you can see your dentist, who will replace it properly. However, if you can’t go out without it, temporary cement is available to buy from larger chemists, or alternatively, denture fixative will hold in the short term. If you’re using denture fixative don’t eat or sleep with the crown or bridge in place. Either way keep it safe as a lost crown can’t be recemented!
Over the years we’ve seen attempts to repair dentures with superglue and even Isopon! Do not try this – it can mean a new denture is needed, while a broken denture can usually be repaired by our technician in one day. You should keep all the pieces of the denture together and, if possible, bring them yourself in case an impression is needed. If a broken denture spells catastrophe as you do not have a spare, you should seriously consider having a spare denture made – broken dentures are very common and it is easily done, so speak to your dentist about this.