Dental emergencies can be extremely stressful and cause a lot of pain. If you have a dental problem, please call us as soon as you can. We aim to see, or give advice to, all registered patients with genuine dental emergencies on the same day they contact us – please call us as early as possible to ensure your best chances of getting help the same day.
Out of Hours
If you are a Denplan patient, and you have the ‘Supplementary Insurance Cover’ included in your Denplan policy, you will be covered for dental injuries or emergency dental treatment both in the UK and abroad. You can contact Denplan’s 24-Hour Worldwide Dental Emergency Helpline on 0800 844 999 (if calling from abroad, please telephone +441962 844 999) and they’ll put you in touch with a dentist who can help. Please refer to your Denplan policy document for full terms and conditions.
Alternatively, you can try the NHS Urgent Care Service by dialling 111.
First Aid Tips for Teeth
If you are experiencing any of these common dental emergencies, here are a few first-aid tips until you can see your dentist…
Toothaches should not be ignored – if there is an infection, it can become severe if left untreated so always contact your dentist as soon as possible. Use dental floss to dislodge any food or debris that may be impacted. Clean the area thoroughly by rinsing your mouth with lukewarm (body temperature) salt water – do not use very hot or very cold water as this may inflame the gums. Avoid lying flat as this can raise the blood pressure and increases pain. If your face is swollen, apply a cold compress – you can make a cold compress by wrapping a tea towel around an ice pack.
Pain Relief for Toothache
The best over-the-counter painkillers for toothache are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs for short. These include Ibuprofen, Diclofenac and Naproxen. DO NOT take Ibuprofen if you have asthma. Paracetamol or Aspirin are also good for dental pain, however, dental pain often comes from inflammation and pressure on various nerves and tissues, so, for this reason, NSAIDs can be better for dental pain because they are both pain relievers and good anti-inflammatories. Do not place Aspirin on the sore tooth or surrounding gums as it can burn your mouth and harm your teeth. Always seek help from a dentist as soon as possible.
Before taking any pain medications, always read the label for contraindications, side-effects and maximum doses, to make sure it is suitable for you to take. If you are unsure, always consult your dentist, doctor or pharmacist first.
What to do if you have bleeding following an extraction
The first thing to remember is that it is normal to have some bleeding for the first day or so following an extraction. Many people are concerned about the amount of bleeding, however this is usually due to the fact that a small amount of blood is mixed with a larger amount of saliva, which looks more dramatic than it is. If you do notice bleeding, spit the blood out rather than rinsing your mouth. You will need to apply pressure to the socket – roll up a clean cotton handkerchief (do not use paper tissues), place it directly over the extraction site and bite firmly down on it for 30 minutes, whilst sitting upright. You can replace the pad if necessary. If the bleeding has not decreased after two hours, please contact your dentist or hospital for further advice. Following any extraction, it is important not to do anything strenuous and to avoid smoking and alcohol for the rest of the day. You may also find it useful to use extra pillows at night so that you sleep in a more elevated position.
What to do if you lose a tooth in an accident
If a healthy tooth is knocked out, there’s a chance it may be saved if you act quickly. Handle the tooth by the crown, not by the root, to avoid additional trauma to the tooth. If there’s debris on the tooth, gently rinse with cold water. Do not brush or scrub the tooth or handle it unnecessarily. Do not try to sterilize the tooth with soap, alcohol or mouthwash. If possible, try to reinsert (re-implant) the tooth into the tooth socket. Stabilize the tooth by biting down gently on a towel or handkerchief and get to a dentist or hospital as soon as possible. IMPORTANT – if a baby tooth (milk tooth) is knocked out, it MUST NOT be pushed back in. If you are unable to re-implant the tooth into the tooth socket then do not let the tooth dry out – if possible, keep the tooth in your mouth (between the cheek and gum) or put it in a cup of milk and get to a dentist or hospital as soon as possible. You can take painkillers but do not put aspirin or clove oil on the wound.
What to do if you lose a Crown or Bridge
If your permanent crown or bridge comes off, do not lose it or throw it away as we may be able to recement it for you. Keep the crown or bridge in something safe and contact us for an appointment. Your dentist will evaluate why it came out and also if there is any additional tooth damage or decay in your tooth before replacing it. Losing a crown or bridge can be quite inconvenient, especially if it affects one of your front teeth. The exposed tooth (or teeth) may also be very sensitive. As a temporary solution, and only if you feel it is safe to do so, you may find it useful to recement the crown or bridge yourself, until such time you can get to a dentist. Many pharmacists sell temporary crown cement, or you may also try a little bit of ordinary toothpaste or denture fixative. Seat the crown or bridge on your tooth (or teeth) as a test before cementing – using very light pressure, close your teeth together to make sure the crown/bridge is seated properly. The crown/bridge should not interfere with your bite in any way. If your bite feels very different or the crown/bridge does not have a secure fit, do not recement it. Never attempt to recement crowns or bridges with superglue. Your gums and soft tissues may react to the glue causing you pain, ulceration and swelling. The use of superglue can also make recementing the crown or bridge much more difficult, if not impossible, and you may then need a new one as a result.
Never attempt to mend broken dentures with superglue. Your gums and soft tissues may react to the glue causing you pain, ulceration and swelling. The use of superglue will also make repairing the denture correctly much more difficult, if not impossible, and you may then need a new denture as a result. If your denture breaks, please contact us so we can arrange to have it repaired correctly.