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Emergency Treatment

We can only provide emergency treatment for regular patients of the practice. (Regular attenders). If you are not a patient of the practice please contact NHS 111 for further advice

Emergency Provisions

During normal working hours, for urgent treatment, patients should contact the practice to find out when they can be seen. Genuine emergency situations will be handled within 24 hours. In most cases the wait will be much less. Often, we shall ask you to come and sit and wait as many booked procedures take less time than allocated and also some patients do not attend allowing time for you to be seen. There are also times which we have set aside for this purpose. Urgent treatment is treatment the dentist considers necessary to relieve severe pain or prevent your oral condition deteriorating before you can make a normal appointment

If you have an emergency it is important to ring the practice as early as possible, preferably before and certainly before 1 pm if an appointment is required.

Some Useful Advice

The section below contains some useful advice for many common complaints.

Out of Hours Provision

After 6.00 pm, at weekends and Bank Holidays, you will need to telephone NHS 111 to access emergency care.

NHS 111

What causes sensitive teeth?

There are many causes of sensitive teeth. By brushing too hard and/or using abrasive toothpaste, you may be removing tooth structure at the necks of your teeth.

This can result in pain, especially to cold drinks, food, and air, but also to physical pressure, hot, sweet and sour.

The reason for the pain is exposed dentine – the inner substance of the tooth, which is covered by enamel. The enamel can get quite thin, especially where the tooth meets the root (at the gum line). The root is covered by a substance called cementum, which is easily worn away. Dentine contains little tubes that link to the nerves on the inside of the tooth, and when dentine is exposed, these nerves are easily stimulated, resulting in pain.

Other things which can cause sensitive teeth include:

  • acid erosion,
  • gum recession,
  • gum disease,
  • tooth grinding,
  • tooth whitening, and
  • a cracked tooth or filling.

What can I do about sensitive teeth?

To prevent further damage, brush your teeth gently as described on our toothbrushing page and avoid abrasive toothpaste. Also avoid whitening treatments and toothpastes.

Read the erosion advice, it is often relevant to sensitivity.

Should I brush my teeth immediately after I have eaten?

No, you should wait up to an hour after eating before you brush your teeth.

When you eat and drink the enamel on your teeth becomes softer. If you brush straight after eating, it can cause the enamel to wear away and expose the dentine underneath. This can cause pain and sensitivity and may lead to tooth decay.
You should wait around 30 minutes to an hour after eating before you brush your teeth. This will give your saliva enough time to neutralise the acid caused by eating and drinking. It's also best not to snack on sugary food and drinks between meals as these can increase your risk of tooth decay.
The best time to brush your teeth is before breakfast and last thing in the evening before you go to sleep. It's particularly important to clean your teeth at night, because when you're asleep the flow of saliva slows down, leaving your teeth more at risk from decay.

Toothpastes for sensitive teeth

Toothpastes such as Sensodyne work by blocking off the dentinal tubules, so that the nerves don’t get stimulated.

Sensitive toothpastes work well but tend to work a lot better by gently massaging the paste or gel into the sore spot with a finger. Do not rinse it off with water or mouthwash. It may take several weeks before the desired effect is achieved.

Branded sensitive toothpastes work better than own brand versions and cost is not proportional to effect, for instance Sensodyne Original works well.

Desensitising toothpastes can be used indefinitely. The warning on the packet not to use Sensodyne for more than a month is a legal requirement, designed so that people won’t put off seeing a dentist when something might be seriously wrong. There are no actual health reasons for not using desensitising agents long-term.

High-fluoride mouthwashes

Not everyone finds that sensitive toothpastes work. You may want to try a non-alcohol mouthwash with a high fluoride content instead. Some of them are specifically designed to reduce sensitivity. They should be used twice a day after brushing – one of those times should be just before you go to bed, so the mouthwash doesn’t get rinsed away when you drink or eat something. Swish the mouthwash back and forth between the teeth for at least 30 seconds, and do not rinse with water afterwards.

What can dentists do about sensitive teeth?

  • Depending on the cause of the sensitivity, your dentist may be able to paint special fluoride varnish on the teeth.
  • If this doesn’t help and you can’t put up with the sensitivity, your dentist can seal or put white filling around the neck of the tooth, to cover exposed dentine. You should try the other options first though.
  • If you grind your teeth, ask your dentist about the possibility of having a mouthguard made to wear at night.

Sensitivity or discomfort after a new filling

Soreness to chewing could mean that the filling is interfering slightly with your bite. This is usually solved by a quick adjustment to the surface of the filling. Sensitivity to temperature is fairly normal for the first few weeks following placement of a new filling and is not necessarily cause for concern. The sensitivity will usually subside gradually by itself or can be helped by following the advice on sensitive teeth.

Lost Filling

A lost filling is rarely an emergency and not likely to cause you any severe problem. However, it is wise to get the matter dealt with.

Fillings are materials used to fill cavities in the teeth. Crowns cover the tops of damaged teeth. Sometimes, fillings or crowns fall out. In some cases, a filling or crown may come loose because there is decay underneath it.

You should not panic, if there is no sensitivity keep the area clean and make an appointment when convenient for a temporary filling or crown.

What You Can Do?

A lost filling or crown is rarely an emergency, however, it can be painful because the exposed tooth tissue is often sensitive to temperature, pressure or air. If you lose a crown, put it in a safe place and make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as you can.

Don't wait too long. What is left of the tooth will not be as strong as your crown. It could be damaged more without the crown to protect it. Also, when a crown is missing for a long time, your teeth may move into the space where the crown was. If this happens, your crown may no longer fit.

 If you still have the crown, you may be able to slip it back over the tooth. Before you do that, clean the inside of the crown. You can use denture adhesive or even petroleum jelly to temporarily "stick" the crown back. These aren't permanent solutions, but they will help to hold the crown in place until you can see your dentist. You should not use any household glues. They are not safe to put in your mouth and can damage the tooth and crown.

Pain is usually fairly mild, what can I do?

Non steroidal anti inflammatories and pain killers such as Ibuprofen and Paracetamol can, in many cases, alleviate the pain until a dentist appointment can be made.

After you have had a tooth out, there are some simple instructions to follow to help the extraction socket heal quickly.

  • Avoid cycling or excessive exercise for several hours, ideally rest by sitting in a chair and use an extra pillow for the first night.

  • Do not drink anything alcoholic for the first 24 hours and avoid smoking.

  • Take any pain-killing tablets as advised by your dentist. Follow any instructions regarding dosage carefully.

  • After twelve hours rinse your mouth gently with a warm salt solution [level teaspoon of salt to a cup of water] and continue after meals and before bed for seven days, or as advised by your dentist.

  • You may feel the sharp edge of a socket with your tongue and occasionally small fragments of bone may work their way out. This is normal.

  • Try not to disturb the socket with your tongue, by eating food on that side, or by vigorous rinsing. Don’t rinse. If you have a drink, drink it straight down. Don’t use a straw. Don’t swill it around, as this will make the extraction hole bleed. Don’t prod. Leave the extraction hole alone as prodding it with your tongue or finger will make it bleed. This will delay the healing process.

If excessive bleeding occurs.

  • Use some clean linen or gauze about 1/2" [1cm] wide to make a roll of 1" [2.5cm] thick, thus forming a firm pad, or use a clean handkerchief. Make a few such pads if necessary.

  • Keep sitting up and clear the mouth of loose blood clots with a clean linen square or tissue so that you can find where the socket is bleeding. This is important.

  • Place the pad across the bleeding socket from the tongue to the cheek side. If the socket is between two standing teeth constrict the pad to fit.

  • Bite firmly to compress the pad on the bleeding socket for 10-15 minutes. Avoid lying down.

  • Inspect the socket and replace the pad, or use another one, if bleeding still appears from the socket.

  • If your efforts are unsuccessful after an hour or two contact your dentist.

  • It is not unusual to experience swelling or discomfort for a few days up to a week. However, if pain, swelling or bleeding persists, contact the dentist, but remember, if excessive bleeding does occur it is important to avoid exercise, drinking alcohol or disturbing the socket.

Outside office hours, please contact NHS 111 for advice.

What should I expect after a root filling?

Moderate pain following a root canal is normal, and is usually related to temporary inflammation at the tip of the root. Anti-inflammatory medication such as Ibuprofen (Nurofen) works well to control the pain. The pain will usually subside in about 2 days to one week.

Occasionally this may be persisitant, if it lasts more than a week and is not improving slowly, it may be best ot contact the practice for advice

What is toothache?

The most common cause of toothache, or pain in the region of the jaws and face, is pulpitis - inflammation of the pulp of the tooth. The short, sharp pains usually occur in response to hot, cold or sweet stimuli. If left untreated, the pulp dies and becomes infected, leading to the formation of a dental abscess. The pain from a dental abscess tends to be in response to pressure on the tooth, and is throbbing and continuous.

What causes toothache?

  • Dental decay.
  • A fracture of the tooth.
  • A cracked tooth. This may be invisible and so can be difficult to diagnose.
  • Irritation of the pulp following dental treatment. Regardless of how well it is done, dental treatment and the materials used to fill the tooth can sometimes cause pain later.
  • An exposed tooth root, which can occur if the gums recede or are damaged by over-vigorous brushing.

The following problems can also cause symptoms similar to toothache, even though the teeth themselves may be free of disease:

  • an abscess in the gum.
  • ulceration of the gums (acute ulcerative gingivitis).
  • ulceration of the soft tissues can sometimes be mistaken for toothache.
  • inflammation of the gum around a tooth which is in the process of growing/breaking through (pericoronitis).
  • inflammation of the sinuses (sinusitis) can be mistaken for toothache in the upper jaw.
Several other conditions may also cause pain in the mouth - always seek advice from your dentist if you have toothache.

It is worth remembering that the nerves supplying the teeth sometimes give the wrong message to the brain. This means that, although you feel pain in a particular tooth, the problem may actually be in a different tooth - even one located in the opposite jaw.

How can toothache be avoided?

The best way to prevent toothache is to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Try to avoid cavities by reducing your intake of sugary foods and drinks - have them as an occasional treat, and at mealtimes only.

Brush your teeth twice daily using a toothpaste containing fluoride. To get the most benefit from the fluoride, do not rinse the toothpaste away after brushing. Clean between your teeth using dental floss or an inter-dental brush according to your dentist's advice. Visit your dentist regularly. This way, problems can be diagnosed early and your treatment will be more straightforward.

What should I do if I have toothache?

If you have toothache see your dentist as soon as possible.
Pulpitis is often reversible and, once your dentist has identified and treated the problem (usually with a simple filling), the toothache will disappear. A dental abscess will require extraction of the tooth or a more complicated filling (root canal treatment ) if the tooth is to be saved.

However, the following advice may be helpful until you are able to see your dentist:

  • avoid hot, cold or sweet stimuli. This will help prevent pain from pulpitis.
  • if the pain is prolonged and severe, painkillers such as ibuprofen may provide some relief. Remember even if the pain goes away, without treatment it will eventually become worse.
  • if the pain is caused by exposed root surfaces, toothpaste for sensitive teeth, either used normally or rubbed onto the exposed root, may be helpful.
  • a hot saltwater mouthwash (a teaspoon of salt to a cup of water) used to thoroughly rinse the painful area may help if the problem is caused by a tooth erupting.
  • a saltwater mouthwash can also prevent infection if you have mouth ulcers.
  • visit your dentist as soon as possible. This way any treatment will be simple.

Wisdom tooth pain

That you can see

In this case the wisdom tooth is visible in the mouth and it associated with dental plaque on the tooth surface for the difficulty to clean the area. This causes gum inflammation of the area, the gum appears swollen, with a deep red colour and bleeding. This kind of inflammation can lead to a more serious condition called pericoronitis which is the infection of the gum surrounding the wisdom tooth. The pain is intense and cheek swelling can happen. This condition can be solved by the dentist using antibiotics, surgery to remove the gum that covers the top part of the tooth and better oral hygiene. The accumulation of dental plaque on the surface of the wisdom tooth can also cause tooth decay for the tooth itself or for the tooth next to it.

Not only the accumulation of the dental plaque causes gum disease, it can also cause tooth decay to the wisdom tooth that can be difficult to see by the patient. It can led to these symptoms from the earlier to the older one: toothache when using sugar, sensitivity to cold food or drinks, sensitivity to hot and then pulp inflammation called pulpitis. These situations need professional treatment.

That you can’t see

In this case the wisdom tooth is not visible in the oral cavity but is it is covered only by the gingiva which may appear red and have hard consistency, it can be associated with a little pain more like a discomfort. In this case is needed a little more time for the tooth to erupt and no treatment. Just taking care of the oral hygiene can help you prevent the conditions mentioned earlier.

Fractured Teeth

Teeth are remarkably strong, but they can chip, crack (fracture) or break. This can happen in several ways:
  • Biting down on something hard
  • Being hit in the face or mouth
  • Falling
  • Having cavities that weaken the tooth
When a tooth chips or breaks, it may not hurt. However, your tongue usually feels the sharp area quite quickly. Minor tooth fractures usually don't cause pain, but if a large piece of the tooth breaks off, it can hurt. That's because the nerve inside the tooth may be damaged. If it is exposed to air, or hot or cold foods or drinks, it can be extremely uncomfortable.
Pain from a broken or cracked tooth may be constant or may come and go. Many people feel pain when they chew because chewing puts pressure on the tooth.

What You Can Do

Cracked (Fractured) Teeth

There is no way to treat a cracked tooth at home. You need to see your dentist. Sometimes the tooth looks fine, but it hurts only when you eat or when the temperature in your mouth changes (because you drank something hot or cold, for example). If your tooth hurts all the time, it may have a damaged nerve or blood vessels. This is a serious warning sign.

Broken Teeth

 If you have a broken tooth, see your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist can figure out if the break was caused by cavities, and if the tooth's nerve is in danger. A damaged nerve usually will require root canal treatment.

What to do with bleeding gums?

Bleeding gums can be a sign of underlying disease e.g gingivitis, periodontal disease
However, commonly it is due to not removing plaque from the teeth and no serious underlying problem is present. If you do not attempt to rectify the problem, this may progress to the conditions listed above in some patients.

What should I do?

Brush MORE not less! - Bleeding is a sign of inflammation caused by plaque. This needs to be removed to reduce the inflammation and therefore the bleeding. If you do this the gums will bleed during brushing for a few days but will gradually settle down over a week or so. Don't be frightened of a bit of blood, it always looks worse than it actually is due to being diluted in saliva. It is your body's way of telling you there is something wrong.

If I avoid brushing the area that bleeds will it get better?

No! It will get worse and you could end up with severe gum disease.

Is there anything else I can do?

Brushing is most important, twice a day for at least 2 minutes, preferably more!

Use floss or interdental brushes at least once a day. If you are unsure how these are used, click on the links to take you to the pages. Brushing only gets to 60% of the tooth. You need to use interdental cleaning aids to get to the rest. These can be dipped in Corsodyl gel or Corsodyl mouthwash for greater effect.

Mouthwashes are not a substitute for brushing but can be useful in the treatment of gingivitis. However, most unbranded or even common branded mouthwashes are little more than breath fresheners. For gingivitis it needs to contain "chlorhexidine".

What if it does not improve?

See your dentist, however, there is no quick fix. We can help with advice and scaling, but the hard work needs to be done by you.

Mouth Ulcers

Mouth ulcers can be painful and unlike most conditions in the mouth, take time to heal.
They often last for up to two weeks, however, if longer you should seek urgent advice especially if you are a smoker or have ever smoked.

What are the causes?

There are many causes:
  • Some people are prone to them.
  • Grinding your teeth can "catch" the tongue or lips
  • Burning your mouth
  • Some foods, grapefruit and chilli etc can trigger them in some people

What should I do?

Keeping the mouth clean is important. Even though the area is sore, continue to brush and use an antiseptic mouthwash. Use a hot salt rinse (salt in warm water from the kettle) several times a day. Pain relieving gels can be bought from the chemist.

Many people report eating Marmite helps prevent them!

SLS free Toothpastes

There is some evidence that some people get soreness in the mouth or ulcers in response to a component of toothpastes called SLS. It may be worth trying an SLS free toothpaste. These are often of the sensitive variety (but not all) including Sensodyne Pronamel and Sensodyne Original.

Business Hours

Monday to Friday

Open 08.45 - 17.00

Closed for lunch 13.00 - 14.00

Listen to the answerphone message out of hours for advice.

Contact Us

0121 476 6218
0121 475 6492

Out of Hours
Call NHS 111

Where We Are

Addison Dental Practice
31, Redhill Road
West Heath
B31 3JS

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