What to do in a dental emergency

There are some simple tips that can help you with a dental emergency if you can’t access help or prefer to wait until we reopen surgery. The following is a guide to help you:


  • Paracetamol and Ibuprofen can be taken alternately 3 hourly.
  • Rinse mouth with warm salt water and clean between teeth with brushes or floss.
  • Cold compress on outside of mouth and occasional cold water rinse sometimes helps.
  • Avoid lying down as this increases pain.
  • Oil of cloves on cotton bud into a cavity may help.

Lost fillings

  • Temporary cements from chemists are now very good.
  • Dry tooth with cotton wool or tissue.
  • Add cement and bite together. Don’t worry if some excess. Sugar free gum or wax from cheese are alternatives.
  • Sharp edges can be smoothed with a flexible nail file. Some pieces may come away if weak.

Lost crowns and bridges

  • Temporary cement from chemist. Check crown or bridge seats first otherwise leave out.
  • If fit and bite are good without cement add a little cement and seat. Bite gently together.
  • Take out at night and repeat the next day.
  • Do not use superglue.


  • Warm salt water rinse several times daily.
  • Painkillers.
  • Hot water bottle to side of face may help.


  • Remove any loose clot with tissues.
  • Bite on supplied gauze for 20 mins.
  • A moistened tea bag can also be carefully bitten on if gauze unsuccessful.
  • Attend casualty if no sign of stopping.

Knocked out tooth

  • Children’s baby teeth leave out.
  • Permanent teeth rinse root in water only and put back if straightforward. Do not scrub! Gently bite together until arriving at dentist. Store in milk if can’t reposition.

Split tooth

  • Worst situation as tooth is still attached to gum.
  • Remove loose fragment if not too painful.
  • Sugar free gum or cement in gap and squeeze together with finger and thumb.
  • Avoid any solid food. Soup only.

Broken orthodontic wires

  • Orthodontic wax or cheese wax over sharp edges.


  • Ibuprofen and antibiotics can interact with warfarin.
  • Asthma symptoms worse with Ibuprofen.
  • Patients with stomach problems may need to avoid Ibuprofen.
  • Avoid aspirin in children.
  • If in doubt advise paracetamol only.
  • Co codamol may be more effective than paracetamol  if paracetamol/Ibuprofen combination not working.
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