“I need to find an emergency dentist near me, can you help?”
Before we go into the details of what constitutes a dental emergency and whether you need an emergency dentist or not, it’s worth noting that we offer an out of hours dentist up until 7 PM Monday to Thursday and all 9am – 4pm on Saturday. If you have a dental emergency outside of these hours please call the practice and our answerphone will have instructions of what to do.
What to do in a dental emergency
A dental emergency will either have extreme pain or blood loss around the tooth and/or gum.
- If you have severe dental pain then this can be considered an emergency.
- If you have knocked or banged a tooth and either the tooth is checked and bleeding itself or there is excessive bleeding around the tooth then this is a dental emergency.
- If you have knocked a tooth out (avulsed) a tooth then this is a dental emergency.
If you have simply chipped the tooth and there is not severe pain and/or bleeding from within the tooth or around the tooth then this would not be normally considered a dental emergency.
Gum bleeding around one tooth
If your gum is bleeding around the tooth it can be for a couple of reasons:
- Your dental health is compromised which means the gums are particularly sensitive, puffy, red and bleed easily.
- You have had some form of trauma which has caused bleeding.
Poor dental health causing bleeding
Poor dental health can cause your gums to bleed due to the buildup of tartar around your teeth. Your teeth have a sticky layer (plaque) which forms over the teeth, this layer is rich in bacteria. The bacteria feed on sugar in your diet and as they do they excrete acid, it is this acid which attacks your teeth causing decay. If you do not remove the plaque from your teeth at least twice per day then it can form into hard areas, in particular in between your teeth.
As it forms into these hard areas (tartar) it can irritate the gum and it is this irritation which causes the gums to become inflamed, red, puffy and ultimately bleed upon light contact.
This is not a dental emergency and the only way to resolve it is to improve your oral health by visiting your dentist and dental hygienist.
Bleeding around the tooth caused by trauma
This can be considered a dental emergency. If your tooth is still in place and has not been knocked out, rinse your mouth out with warm water to dislodge and clear away any broken sections of the tooth (warm water is far kinder to your teeth if they are sensitive). If there is pain then use a cold compress on the cheek, you may also find that over-the-counter painkillers can help.
Mild bleeding around the tooth will usually stop quite quickly on its own. If it doesn’t then use some clean gauze to apply pressure to the bleeding area.
If the bleeding is excessive or does not stop then either call your emergency dentist in Croydon or visit your local accident and emergency.
Bleeding after tooth extraction
The heaviest bleeding usually occurs in the first couple of hours after a tooth extraction, however bleeding usually stops much quicker than this. Everyone is different and everyone takes a different time to stop bleeding. You might find you need to keep gauze over the extraction site for up to 5 hours to ensure the bleeding has stopped completely.
Biting gently on the gauze will ensure you have adequate pressure to stop the bleeding.
It’s important not to rinse away any blood clot which has formed, we therefore recommend not rinsing your mouth out for 24 hours in order to ensure the bleeding has completely stopped.
Sometimes people find that using a teabag instead of gauze can help, this is because the tannic acid in the teabag helps to form a clot by constricting bleeding vessels.
blood clot after tooth extraction
Unless you have a medical condition or are taking drugs to prevent clotting (always remember to tell your dentist if this is the case prior to any extraction) then the blood clot will begin to form immediately after the extraction.
In rare cases a dry sockets can form, this is where the blood clot is lost and exposes underlying nerves which can be exceptionally painful. If you look into the socket, rather than seeing a dark red clot you will probably see whitish bone. Other symptoms can include pain which radiates down the side of your jaw and into your ear as well as bad breath or nasty taste in your mouth.
A dry sockets typically appear 2 days after a tooth extraction and can only be treated by a dentist who will apply a special dressing.
If you believe you have a dry sockets then this would be considered a dental emergency and you should visit an emergency dentist.
NHS dental emergency line
There is not unfortunately an NHS dental emergency helpline. In the event of a dental emergency please do not contact your GP, your first port of call should always be to contact your own dentist. If you do not have a dentist you can call the NHS number 111 who may be able to help find an out of hours dental service near you.
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