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What to do in a dental emergency

When it comes to dental emergencies, the more you know, the faster you’ll be able to react and make decisions that will help preserve your teeth in the long term. Follow this simple guidance so you know what to do in a dental emergency.

1. Decide whether it is a dental emergency

Knowing whether something is a dental emergency is important, it’ll determine what you do next. If you are experiencing pain or have knocked out a tooth, you should see your dentist as soon as possible. Find out more about different types of dental emergency.

If you aren’t sure whether your dental problem is an emergency or not, get in touch with your local dentist so they can advise you further.

2. Try to avoid A&E (with some exceptions)

If you have any kind of problems with your teeth or mouth, and no other medical issues, then you should nearly always go to a dental practice with a dental emergency.

Doctors aren’t always equipped to treat dental emergencies. The exception to this rule is if you have increasing swelling or uncontrolled bleeding in your mouth, as these can be life endangering. If you have one of these symptoms, go to A&E urgently.

Many dental practices offer same-day, next-day, or out-of-hours emergency dental appointments, so you should be able to see someone relatively quickly. Get in touch with your local dentist to find out more.

3. Call your local dentist

Sometimes a dentist can see you if you walk into practice, but you’re more likely to get an emergency appointment if you call ahead of time. Most practices retain emergency slots just in case a patient comes in with an emergency. By calling ahead, you can get a slot allocated to you.

If your dentist doesn’t have emergency appointments available, ring round practices in your local area. You can also call 111, who can advise you of emergency dental services in your local area.

4. Assess whether you need to do anything before your appointment

If you have an infection in your mouth, your dentist will deal with everything in the chair. But if you have knocked out a tooth, you might need to act beforehand to help save the tooth. Find out more about what to do if you’ve knocked out a tooth.

5. Follow your dentist’s advice after your appointment

Once you’ve had your emergency appointment, your dentist will advise you of next steps.

You may be prescribed antibiotics if you have an infection like a dental abscess, or if you have had damage to your teeth, you might need to book in further follow-up appointments to make sure the problem is completely cleared up. Either way, make sure you follow up on the advice they’ve given you to prevent further dental emergencies in the future.

Do you need to see an emergency dentist?

Bupa Dental Care has over 350 practices across the UK. We’re here for you when you need it the most- that’s why many of our practices offer either same-day or next day emergency appointments. Search for your local practice below and get in touch with them for more information.

We'd like to advise patients that many images and videos used throughout our website were taken and produced before the COVID-19 outbreak. Therefore social distancing rules and extra levels of PPE are not displayed.

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Bupa Dental Care is a trading name of Oasis Healthcare Limited. Registered in England and Wales number: 03257078. Registered office: Bupa Dental Care Vantage Office Park, Old Gloucester Road, Hambrook, Bristol, United Kingdom BS16 1GW.

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