Urgent Dental Advice

Please look at ‘Emergency Treatment’, under 'About', to find out how we can help you.

You may find the information below helpful in the short term.
Please seek professional advice as soon as possible for diagnosis and suitable treatment. Taking painkillers before a dental appointment will not adversely affect your treatment.

Tooth ache

The best painkillers for tooth ache are usually Ibuprofen or Paracetamol.

For severe toothache, Paracetamol, can be alternated with Ibuprofen every two hours or taken together every four hours.
Please follow the instructions on the packet as to your suitability for these products.

Biting on a clove can provide some relief for milder toothache.

Tooth Abscess

Early signs can be pain on biting or pain in the jawbone around the tooth.  This may be controlled with painkillers initially. If the gum is starting to swell then hot salt-water mouth washes (see below) can provide some relief until you can get help.  Please seek professional advice as soon as possible.  Rapid increase in swelling and swelling spreading into the cheek, face or especially throat, needs urgent attention. NHS Direct will be able to advise you as to the nearest emergency centre.

Hot salt water mouth rinses

Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a tumbler of water, as hot as can be comfortably held in the mouth.

Each mouthful should be held adjacent to the area of discomfort until the heat has gone. Use one full tumbler for five minutes.

Examples of when hot saline mouthwashes would be beneficial:

Sore gums, ulcers, abscesses, swellings and after extractions.


Trauma to the front teeth e.g. sports injuries or tripping over, can result in severe damage to the front teeth.  Early treatment can dramatically increase the chances of saving these teeth.

Knocked out front teeth

If an adult front tooth has been knocked cleanly out of the mouth then the sooner it is put back the better its chances of long term survival. Speed is important, as the delicate tissues coating the root surface dry out and die very quickly.
Handle the tooth carefully by the crown, any visible debris can be shaken off or gently brushed away.  Gently reinsert the tooth back into the socket to the best position you can get. It won’t want to fall out again but biting on a clean handkerchief or fixing with a piece of softened chewing gum will provide extra support.  Then seek immediate dental help for assessment and antibiotics.  You cannot do any harm as long as you seek professional advice straight away.  You will dramatically increase the chances of saving the tooth.

If you feel unable to reposition the tooth then ask the patient to hold the tooth in their cheek. This will keep it moist and protected.  An alternative is to place the tooth in a glass of milk.

For broken front teeth, try and find the broken part and store in milk or the patient’s mouth.  If the patient had lost consciousness it is especially important to account for any missing parts as they may have been inhaled.

Small chips are usually non urgent but if the nerve is exposed (red spot showing inside tooth) or it is very close to the nerve (pinkish tinge to the inside of the tooth) it is a good idea to get the tooth dressed as quickly as possible.  With larger breaks it is often possible to glue a single broken piece of tooth back on.


Accidental damage can result in teeth, fillings or crowns being damaged. Please seek dental advice as soon as possible.

You may find the following advice helpful if you have a problem over the weekend or bank holiday.

Rough edges that cut into the cheek or tongue, can be temporarily eased by wedging in some sugar-free chewing gum. This will also stop the tooth from being sensitive to cold.

Lost crowns and bridges can often be wedged back in temporarily with softened sugar-free chewing gum or alternatively, a denture adhesive gel (eg Poligrip) or emergency dental cement available from larger chemists.

Broken dentures can sometimes be repaired with ‘super glue’ type adhesives on the plastic parts.