Dental injuries and emergencies over Christmas

With Christmas just around the corner, it’s common for patients to ignore little aches and pains in their mouths in the run up to the festive period. 

However, without treatment, a toothache or wobbly crown could be a much bigger problem by Christmas morning. If you notice anything, it’s always best to visit your dental team as soon as possible to ensure any problems are treated before the big day. Our deputy chief dental officer, Henry Clover, has some advice for seeking treatment over the festive period.

Dental injuries 

“Dentists commonly see increased levels of dental injuries at this time of year,” says Henry. “These can range from slipping on icy pavements to overexcited children and pets jumping up and hitting the jaw from underneath. Dentists also see broken teeth from patients attempting to open beer bottles and crack nuts with their teeth, and it’s even been known for over-enthusiastic dance moves at a Christmas party to cause injury – especially if someone accidentally knocks your glass into your teeth while you’re taking a sip of a drink.

“Obviously it’s tricky to protect yourself against every possible accident, but make sure you have plenty of bottle openers available so that no one in the household is tempted to use their teeth! Also, many people find it reassuring to have a dental payment plan that includes supplementary insurance for dental emergencies and dental injuries for extra peace of mind.”

Couple drinking at christmas

Our deputy chief dental officer, Henry Clover, has some advice for seeking treatment over the festive period.

What to do if you have a dental injury or problem over Christmas

“Serious problems or pains should always be checked out by your dentist at the earliest possible convenience - most dental practices will have emergency out of hours cover* over the Christmas period,” says Henry. “There are a few things you can do to reduce pain or help save a tooth until you’re able to seek advice.”


First, thoroughly rinse your mouth with warm water. If your mouth is swollen, apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth or cheek. Taking over-the-counter pain relief may help reduce pain. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth as it may burn the gum tissue. 

Chipped or broken teeth

Save any pieces. Rinse the mouth using warm water. If there’s bleeding, apply a piece of gauze to the area and apply gentle pressure until the bleeding stops. Apply a cold compress near to the broken/chipped tooth to keep any swelling down and relieve pain.

Knocked-out tooth

Knocked-out teeth have the highest chances of being saved when seen by the dentist and returned to their socket within one hour of being lost. Retrieve the tooth and, if possible, try to put it back in place (rinsing it briefly in water before doing so). Make sure it’s facing the right way. Never force it into the socket. If it’s not possible to reinsert the tooth into the socket, place the clean tooth in your mouth between the cheek and gum to keep it moist or put the tooth in a small container of milk or slightly salty water. Baby teeth don’t need to be replaced in the socket but it’s a good idea for your child to see a dentist as soon as possible to make sure that none of the tooth remains in the mouth.

Lost filling

Stick a piece of sugarless chewing gum into the cavity or use an over-the-counter dental cement. Book an appointment to see your dentist at the next most convenient time.

Lost crown

Make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible and take the crown with you. If possible, slip the crown back over the tooth. Before doing so, coat the inner surface with an over the-counter dental cement, toothpaste, or denture adhesive, to help hold the crown in place. Do not use super glue!

“Don’t forget to keep on top of your oral health routine over Christmas by brushing for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, and clean in between your teeth daily,” says Henry. “Not only will this help your oral health and keep your mouth fresh, it may be beneficial for when the mistletoe is nearby too!”

Published: December 2nd, 2015

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