Help, I have a dental emergency!

Help, I have a dental emergency!

  • Traumatic Dental Injuries
    • Tooth Avulsion (tooth knocked out)
      • It is important first to determine if the tooth is an adult tooth or a baby tooth (most children over the age of 6-7 years will have adult (permanent) front teeth), as this will dictate the best course of action.
      • If the tooth is a baby tooth, do not try to reposition it back into the mouth. Save it for the tooth fairy and visit your usual General Dentist promptly for an examination to diagnose and manage any other concomitant orofacial injuries.
      • If the tooth is an adult tooth:
        1. Try to locate the tooth and hold it only by the crown (the white part).
        2. Briefly rinse the tooth in cold milk (preferable if available) or cold tap water to gently wash off any visible debris.
        3. Either (in order of preference):
          • Immediately reposition the tooth back into its socket and gently bite on a tissue/washcloth to hold it in place.
          • Immediately place the tooth in a cup of cold milk.
          • if milk is unavailable, immediately place the tooth in the mouth between the cheek and the gums. The tooth should not be stored dry, as this significantly reduces the chance of normal healing and the likelihood that the tooth can be retained long-term.
          • Immediately seek dental treatment (ideally within a 1-2 hour time period). Ensure you inform the clinic over the phone that the tooth was knocked out so appropriate preparations can be made to see you urgently. At Townsville Endodontics, ‘emergency slots’ are made available every day during business hours; however, if an accident occurs after hours or on the weekend, we strongly recommend contacting your usual General Dentist so appropriate emergency care can be arranged.

Visiting the emergency department at a medical hospital for dental trauma should be a last resort. However, this is sometimes unavoidable due to the timing and extent of associated injuries. If you visit an emergency department for the management of dental trauma, it is very important to make a follow-up appointment with either your usual General Dentist or an Endodontist within the same week for dental assessment and long-term management of the injury. 

    • Intrusion (tooth pushed in)
      • Regardless of whether the tooth is an adult tooth or a baby tooth, if an intrusion has occurred (the tooth has been pushed partially or all the way back up into the gums), the best course of action is to seek an immediate dental assessment with either your General Dentist or an Endodontist. After a clinical and radiographic (x-ray) examination, they will advise you of the appropriate management, which often involves close monitoring and review to assess whether the tooth will reposition itself spontaneously or whether intervention to reposition the tooth may be required.
    • Fracture (chipped/broken tooth)  
      • After a blow to the mouth, the crown of a tooth can fracture in two ways; uncomplicated (involving only the enamel or enamel and dentine – the white parts of the tooth), or complicated (exposing the dental pulp – the pink part in the middle of the tooth).
      • In either instance, the following steps should be taken:
        1. Try to locate the fractured piece – this can often be reattached to your tooth by your General Dentist.
        2. Seek prompt dental treatment with either your General Dentist or Endodontist. After a clinical and radiographic assessment, they can advise you on whether the fragment can be reattached to the tooth or whether a tooth-coloured filling can repair the fractured area, and whether additional treatment may be indicated (always the case when the dental pulp has been exposed).
    • Swelling/abscess
      • When a tooth becomes infected, swelling of the nearby gum, cheek or lip can occasionally occur. It is important with any oral swelling that you seek dental care as soon as possible. If not attended to, oral swellings can spread and quickly become a significant medical issue, occasionally requiring hospitalisation. 

Contacting your General Dentist is a good place to start; ensure you advise them of the location and size of the swelling, as well as how long it has been present and any other symptoms you may have (e.g. pain, fever, general feeling of unwell). In these situations, the best course of action is to treat the infected tooth as soon as possible, either by starting root canal treatment or extracting (removing) the whole tooth, with additional drainage of the swelling if necessary. Antibiotics may be required in some severe cases; however, physically treating the tooth and removing the cause of the disease is best practice and is usually sufficient to resolve the infection without the need for antibiotics. 

Severe swellings that are accompanied by a fever over 38 degrees Celsius and are causing difficulty with swallowing, breathing, or your ability to open your eye properly warrant urgent medical attention, as these signs indicate the infection is spreading. You should proceed immediately to your local emergency department for medical care. 

    • Pain
      • Any tooth pain should be brought to the attention of your General Dentist as soon as possible, so a clinical and radiographic (x-ray) diagnosis can be made, and the appropriate treatment can be provided to relieve your symptoms.

Common over-the-counter analgesics (Paracetamol, 2 x 500mg tablets and Ibuprofen, 2 x 200mg tablets) are quite effective in alleviating tooth pain until you can be seen by your General Dentist for treatment. It is a good idea to discuss these with your pharmacist or GP if you are already taking regular pain medication to ensure the additional analgesics are safe to take with your usual medication.

Our Location

We are located at
11 Bundock Street,
North Ward

(07) 4772 0436

Car Parking
Ample car parking is available onsite as well as on the adjoining Ryan Street.

Public Transport
The Bundock St at Howitt St bus stop is located directly outside Townsville Endodontics.

You can also find us at @townsville_endodontics


Endodontic (root canal) treatment

Endodontic retreatment

Apical Microsurgery

Trauma management

Vital Pulp Therapy

Pain diagnosis

About Us

We take the utmost pride in ensuring a quality, comfortable and accessible endodontic experience for all patients, and I am looking forward to helping you and your patients with any advice or endodontic treatment.”

To make an appointment with Dr Olivia Rae, please call Townsville Endodontics (07) 4772 0436 or email [email protected]

You can also find us at @townsville_endodontics

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