what is a dental emergency ?

Emergency Dental Treatment: Everything You Need to Know

Are you experiencing sudden tooth pain or swelling? Do you have a broken tooth or lost filling? These are all signs that you may need emergency dental treatment. Dental emergencies can happen at any time, often when you least expect it. Knowing what to do and where to go for help can make all the difference in saving your teeth and relieving your pain. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about emergency dental treatment.

What is Emergency Dental Treatment?

Emergency dental treatment refers to any dental care that requires immediate attention to relieve severe pain, stop bleeding, save a tooth, or prevent infection. This type of treatment is often necessary when a dental problem arises suddenly and cannot wait for a regular dental appointment. Common dental emergencies include:

  • Toothache
  • Broken or chipped tooth
  • Knocked-out tooth
  • Loose or lost filling
  • Abscess or infection
  • Broken or lost crown
  • Trauma or injury to the mouth or teeth

What Should You Do in a Dental Emergency?

If you are experiencing a dental emergency, the first thing you should do is remain calm. Then, follow these steps:

Step 1: Assess the Situation

Take a moment to evaluate the severity of the dental emergency. Is it a minor issue that can wait until regular business hours, or is it a more serious problem that requires immediate attention? If you are unsure, call your dentist or a dental emergency helpline for advice.

Step 2: Control the Pain and Bleeding

If you are experiencing severe pain, take an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen. If you have bleeding, apply pressure to the area with a clean cloth or gauze.

Step 3: Save the Tooth or Restoration

If a tooth has been knocked out, try to put it back in place gently, if possible. If you cannot, place it in a container of milk or saline solution to keep it moist. If a filling or crown has come loose, save it and bring it with you to the dentist.

Step 4: Contact a Dentist

Call your dentist or a dental emergency helpline to schedule an emergency appointment as soon as possible. Explain your symptoms and the nature of the emergency so that they can prepare for your arrival.

Where Can You Get Emergency Dental Treatment?

If you are experiencing a dental emergency, there are several places you can go for treatment:

Your Regular Dentist

Many dental practices offer emergency dental services, either during regular business hours or after hours. Call your dentist’s office and explain your symptoms to see if they can accommodate you.

Dental Emergency Helplines

There are several dental emergency helplines that you can call for advice and assistance. These services are staffed by dental professionals who can guide you through the situation and refer you to a nearby dentist if necessary.

Urgent Care Centers

Some urgent care centers have dentists on staff who can provide emergency dental treatment. Check with your local urgent care center to see if they offer this service.

Hospital Emergency Dental Treatment

In extreme cases, such as severe trauma or infection, you may need to go to the hospital emergency room for treatment. However, keep in mind that hospitals are not typically equipped to handle dental emergencies and may only be able to provide pain relief and antibiotics.

How Can You Prevent Dental Emergencies?

While some dental emergencies are unavoidable, there are several steps you can take to reduce your risk:

  • Practice good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly
  • Wear a mouthguard when playing sports or engaging in other high-risk activities
  • Avoid chewing hard objects like ice or popcorn kernels
  • Visit your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings


Dental emergencies can be scary and painful, but knowing what to do and where to go for help can make all the difference. Remember to stay calm, control the pain and bleeding, and contact a dentist as soon as possible. With prompt treatment, most dental emergencies can be resolved quickly and with minimal discomfort.

If you do experience a dental emergency, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Your dentist and other dental professionals are here to support you and provide the care you need. Remember, it’s always better to seek treatment sooner rather than later.

What is meant by urgent dental care?
It is important to note the differences between dental emergencies, urgent and
general dental access and to consider services that meet these definitions. There
are three categories of need:
dental emergencies: recommended treatment time of up to two hours from
the point of calling NHS111), with provision at A&E (and nearest A&E or
urgent dental care provider for reimplantation of avulsed teeth). Examples of
dental emergencies are: uncontrollable dental hemorrhage following
extraction; rapidly increasing swelling around the throat or eye; and trauma
confined to the dental arches.
urgent dental care: recommended treatment time of over two hours and up
to and including 24 hours, from the point of calling NHS 111, with provision
from contracted urgent dental care providers; Urgent dental care includes:
severe dental and facial pain not controlled by over-the-counter preparations;
dental and soft tissue acute infection/swelling (which is not rapidly increasing
around the throat or eye).
general dental access for routine dental conditions.
Use of 111 to seek urgent dental care