An emergency dental service will again be available throughout the Christmas and New Year period.
Last year the Australian Dental Association South Australia (ADASA) Christmas and New Year Emergency Dental Treatment Service received 95 calls.
“Dental emergencies including injuries as a result of trauma can happen at any time so knowing help is at hand is important to our community,” said ADASA President, Dr Angelo Papageorgiou.
“Our members volunteer during this time and they play an important role in managing emergencies,” he said.
Christmas is traditionally one of the busiest times for dental emergencies in children.
- One in five Australian children will suffer a dental trauma by the age of 14, many of which occur at Christmas.
- Bikes, scooters, skateboards and trampolines are associated with a significant amount of dental trauma.
“An accident involving teeth may result in injuries that may at the least be expensive to repair, and in the most serious cases be, permanently disfiguring and require complex and long term management.”
Dr Papageorgiou also said knowing what to do when a dental injury occurs is critical and he urged parents to brush up on their dental first aid knowledge ahead of the Christmas break.
Dr Papageorgiou said baby teeth cannot be repositioned into the gums, but an adult tooth could be replanted.
“If an adult tooth is knocked out, it can be put back into its socket – provided its clean. If the tooth is visually dirty, rinse it in some plain milk – but don’t scrub it.
“If the tooth won’t go back in, it’s important to keep it from drying out. Always keep it moist by storing it in a small container with enough milk or saline to cover the whole tooth.
“Once that’s done, get to your dentist or hospital emergency department as soon as possible to see about getting the tooth replanted and stabilised.”
Dr Papageorgiou encouraged people to check their regular dentist’s opening hours over the Christmas period, but said that outside of that, the ADASA’s contact line will be able to direct people on where to get help.
The ADASA Emergency Dental Treatment Service number is (08) 7111 3440.
“When it comes to managing a dental injury, time is of the essence. The quicker you’re able to treat a dental injury, the better the long-term outcome will be,” said Dr Papageorgiou.
“These simple principles should be second nature to all.”
Dental first aid:
If a primary or baby tooth is knocked out,
- Do not attempt to put the tooth back in.
- Store the tooth in milk or saliva and take it to your dentist immediately
- Attend regular dental check-ups so your dentist can monitor how the adult teeth are developing.
If a secondary or adult tooth is knocked out
- Locate the tooth as quickly as possible and handle it with care – don’t hold the tooth by the root.
- If the tooth is dirty, rinse it with some milk, or if milk is unavailable using tap water, but only for a second or two. Do not scrub or rub the root surface and avoid soaking the tooth.
- Insert the tooth back into its previous position in the mouth, making sure it is the right way around and in the right place.
- If the tooth is wobbly, fold a small piece of aluminum foil over the area to help keep it in place. If you have your mouthguard, put it back into your mouth to stabilise the traumatized tooth.
- If you are unable to get the tooth back in, don’t force it. Keep the mouth moist at all times by storing it in a small container with a small amount (enough to cover the whole tooth) of milk or saliva. Do not place the tooth in water or wrap it in tissue or cloth as this will dry out the tooth.
- See a dentist immediately, ideally within 30 minutes. The sooner the tooth is replaced, the greater the likelihood it will survive.
ADASA’s dental practice directory, which includes emergency dental, can be accessed at
Interview requests or more information please contact Lesley Johns on 0412 583 577