What is Classed as a Dental Emergency?


Navigating Dental Emergencies in the UK: A Comprehensive Guide

What is Classed as a Dental Emergency?
What is Classed as a Dental Emergency?

Dental emergencies can strike at any time, causing excruciating pain and disrupting your daily life. Emergency dental care is available for a range of situations, but it’s crucial to understand what constitutes a dental emergency and how to seek timely treatment.

What Is Classed as a Dental Emergency in the UK?

In the UK, a dental emergency is any situation that requires immediate dental attention to prevent further damage, pain, or infection. These emergencies can vary in severity, but often involve:

  • Severe Toothache: A persistent, debilitating toothache that interferes with daily activities, eating, or sleep.
  • Uncontrollable Bleeding: bleeding from the mouth that cannot be stopped using gauze or pressure.
  • Broken or Knocked-Out Tooth: A tooth that has fractured or been completely dislodged.
  • Facial or Oral Swelling: Swelling in the face or mouth caused by an infection or trauma
  • Impaired Breathing: Difficulty breathing due to an abscess or other dental issue.
  • Acute Dental Trauma: Injuries to the teeth, gums, or surrounding tissues caused by an accident or impact
  • Alveolar Osteitis (Dry Socket): A painful condition that occurs after tooth extraction when the blood clot fails to form properly.
  • Severe Infection: a severe dental infection that causes extreme pain, swelling, and fever, potentially spreading to other parts of the body.

What to Do in a Dental Emergency

If you’re facing a dental emergency, prompt action is essential to minimise pain, prevent complications, and protect your overall health. Here’show to proceed:

  1. Contact Your Dentist: If your dentist is available, inform them of the emergency and seek immediate consultation.
  2. Seek Out-of-Hours Care: If your own dentist is unavailable, contact another local dental practice or use the ‘111’ online service to find an emergency dental service in your area.
  3. Visit the Emergency Room: In life-threatening situations, such as severe difficulty breathing or uncontrolled bleeding, go to the nearest emergency department.

Preventing dental emergencies

While dental emergencies can be unpredictable, proactive measures can significantly reduce the risk of encountering one. Here are some preventive steps:

  • Regular Dental Checkups: Maintain regular dental checkups and cleanings to identify and address potential issues early on.
  • Proper Oral Hygiene: Practice good oral hygiene habits, including brushing twice daily, flossing once a day, and using an alcohol-free mouthwash.
  • Avoid Risky Behaviours: Avoid habits that can damage teeth, such as biting on hard objects or consuming sugary foods excessively.
  • Protective Gear: Wear a mouth guard when engaging in sports or activities that could lead to oral injuries.

When to Seek Professional Help

Don’t hesitate to seek professional dental assistance if you experience any of the following:

  • Severe toothache that persists for more than two days
  • Bleeding from the mouth that cannot be controlled
  • A broken or knocked-out tooth
  • Swollen face or mouth
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Acute dental trauma
  • Severe infection


Dental emergencies can be unsettling, but with proper knowledge and timely action, you can effectively manage them and maintain good oral health.Remember, prevention is always better than cure. By following preventive measures and seeking prompt dental care when needed, you can safeguard your smile and overall well-being.