Should I go to A&E with a dental emergency?

woman holding face in dental pain, female dentist assessing her toothache

Dental emergencies can be distressing, especially when they come out of the blue. When faced with a dental emergency outside of regular dental clinic hours, many individuals are unsure where to seek help. Do they get in touch with their dentist, or do they visit the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department?

In this blog post, we will explore the factors to consider when deciding whether to go to A&E with a dental emergency. Here’s a step-by-step of how you can decide:

Assess the severity of the situation

The first thing is to assess how serious the situation is. If you are experiencing any of the following, we recommend seeking immediate medical attention.

  • Severe and uncontrollable bleeding
  • Significant trauma to the face or jaw
  • A swollen eye or neck
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing due to a dental issue

This is because you could need other forms of medical treatment rather than just dentistry. 

If you are unsure, you can contact the NHS helpline on 111 to get advice on whether you need to see a dentist or A&E. From there, you can book your necessary appointment.

Check your availability for emergency dental care

It is essential to check if emergency dental care is available at your dentist, or in your area. We recommend contacting your dental practice as early as possible to be examined by a dentist and get the necessary treatment.

The good news is that Regent Dental Care provides emergency dental care to our patients. If you’re experiencing extreme tooth pain, we can provide you with an emergency appointment either the same day or next day after you call. This is also at a discount price as part of your dental plan.

If you seek emergency treatment, it is important to ring us as early as possible during the day to increase your chances of being seen by a dentist that day. We keep appointments free every day for emergency cases but these can be taken up quickly.

If your emergency occurs out of hours, please ring us and you will be given instructions on the answer phone message.

What does not count as a dental emergency

female lady sat on sofa holding her cheek in pain from her toothache

Another way to check is to take a look at this list of dental problems that are not classed as an emergency, and booking the relevant consultation with your dentist to follow-up.

  • Cracked or chipped tooth
  • Missing filling
  • Lost crown
  • Minor toothache

How to ease your toothache 

Usually you won’t be able to get an appointment until the next day, however we have some temporary solutions. Whilst you’re waiting for an appointment, there are effective ways that we recommend to ease the pain of toothache:

  • Consider taking over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol to alleviate discomfort. It’s important to note that aspirin should not be given to children under the age of 16, and consulting with a pharmacist can provide appropriate guidance in this regard.
  • You can try rinsing your mouth with saltwater to help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. However, it’s advisable that children refrain from attempting this method.
  • Applying a pain-relieving gel specifically designed for oral use can provide temporary relief. These gels can be easily purchased from pharmacies or supermarkets.
  • Opt for soft foods, like yoghurt or scrambled eggs, that are gentle on the teeth and avoid chewing with the affected tooth to minimise discomfort.

How to prevent dental issues from arising

black lady brushing her teeth and smiling, promoting the benefits of following a dental routine to reduce the chance of toothache

Did you know that over a quarter of British adults (27%) only visit the dentist when they have a problem? We like to promote a preventative approach to dentistry. Instead of waiting until a problem arises, you should follow the recommended dental hygiene advice in order to prevent potential issues. These include brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, tilt your brush at a 45 degree angle and focus on the gum line, and floss between your teeth every day.

When playing sports, the best way to protect your teeth and mouth is by wearing a mouth guard. These are recommended for all sports where dental trauma may occur, such as hockey or rugby. 

Limit your intake of hard candies to reduce the likelihood of your teeth cracking if you bite down wrong. 

Maintain a strict dental hygiene routine, visiting your dentist for regular checkups and hygiene appointments to ensure your mouth stays clean and healthy.

Take advantage of our emergency dental care services. If you’re dealing with severe tooth pain, book an emergency appointment with us at a discounted price as part of your dental plan. Don’t suffer in silence, our caring and experienced team is happy to help.

Website last updated: April 2024

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