Whether you’re experiencing painful toothache or your gums have become inflamed, oral problems are some of the most agonizing ailments that you can have. In these situations it’s important that you get the right kind of treatment for your aches and pains, and an emergency dentist is often the best route to take.

As the name suggests, emergency dentists offer out of hours treatment for those in need of urgent help. They will be able to provide short term relief or treatment, before you have a followup appointment where they can have a thorough look at the problem and figure out a long term solution. Most dental practices offer an emergency service that operates during evenings, weekends and bank holidays so make sure you contact your local dentist to find out more.

If you’re currently in need of an emergency dentist or you’d like to be prepared for the future, this blog is for you. Here we’ll explain how seeing an emergency dentist can significantly reduce oral pain, possible treatments and why it’s a beneficial service.

When should you see an emergency dentist?

Emergency dentists should only be used in situations where your teeth or gums are causing you constant pain that you believe needs treatment. It’s not always possible to complete the full treatment in one appointment, but a professional dentists will certainly be able to relieve some pain. Minor concerns such as mild toothache, or lost crowns and fillings can be scheduled when deemed appropriate, otherwise regular dentist check-ups will keep your teeth and gums healthy. You should visit an emergency dentist when:

  • Pain lasts for more than 2 days

  • The area around your cheek and jaw has become swollen

  • You unable to eat

  • The pain is not relieved with painkillers

  • You’ve lost a tooth

  • A high temperature

  • Bleeding

At Riverside Dental Practice we offer an out of hours emergency service so you don’t need to wait days to be seen. Patients can easily access the emergency number by ringing our surgery and following the instructions on the answer machine, our on-call dentists will then shortly be in touch to arrange a quick appointment – this service runs until 11pm.


Not all dental problems can be treated by an emergency dentist, serious injuries, issues that are stopping you from breathing with ease or heavy bleeding may need to be assessed at A&E. A study conducted by the British Dental Association found that an estimated 135,00 patients visited A&E due to a dental problem that could have been looked at by a dentist – this cost the NHS nearly 18 million. Remember, if you’re unsure about the severity of your problem, call 111 to speak to a trained medical professional who can advise you on the best course of action, including where to go for treatment.

You should go to A&E if dental pain is causing:

  • Swelling around your eye and neck

  • Swelling in your mouth that it making it difficult to breathe, speak or swallow

Common causes of tooth pain and their dental procedures

Toothache is one of the most painful complaints that you can get, and unfortunately it’s highly likely that everyone will experience it at least once in their life. However, tooth pain is normally caused by one of the following reasons and your local dentists will be able to get things sorted easily. To prevent these from occurring, you should have regular dentist check-ups or visit a dental hygienist so they can look out for any signs of infection and conducts relevant preventative treatment.

Common causes of tooth pain include:

Gum disease

It may surprise you, but according to NHS guidelines, most adults in the UK have gum disease to some extent. This is a condition where the gums become swollen, sore or infected due to a build-up of plaque on the teeth.The early stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis, and during this time you may start to notice your gums bleeding when you brush your teeth or persistent bad breath. If untreated this can develop into periodontitis which affects the tissue that hold your teeth in place. Gum disease is a serious condition that needs to be treated properly, and failure to do so could result in complete tooth loss.

Treatment: In most cases, gum disease can be treated simply by maintaining good oral hygiene – if you’re experiencing swelling or pain, you may be referred to a dental hygienist who can remove hardened plaque and show you the right way to prevent it building up in the future. In more severe stages of the disease, your dentist may need to take x-rays to assess the condition of your teeth and surgery may need to be carried out.

Tooth decay

As with gum disease, tooth decay is related to a buildup of plaque in your mouth – when acid is produced from plaque this can rot your teeth. Symptoms of tooth decay includes continuous toothache, or occasional sharp pain, sensitivity, grey, black or brown spots on your teeth or an unpleasant taste in your mouth.

Treatment: If suspected tooth decay has lead you to book an emergency appointment due to swelling, pus or serious pain, you may have passed the early stages of the condition. Your dentist may choose to put you under local anaesthetic to remove the dental and fill the hole. Alternatively, if decay has spread to the centre of your tooth then root canal may be the best option – this involves removing the nerve and pulp inside of the tooth before the decay requires complete tooth removal.


Abscess can cause serious pain if one forms in your tooth, gum or the bone that holds the teeth in place. Caused by a bacterial infection, these kind of ailments must be treated by a professional as they won’t go away by themselves and can spread to other parts of the body. Signs you have an abscess include intense throbbing in your teeth or gums, ear jaw and neck pain on the same side as the affected area, swelling, swollen gums and pain that’s worse when you’re lying down. You should always seek treatment as soon as possible as leaving an abscess is a serious risk to your health, and may cause serious respiratory problems.

Treatment: The right kind of treatment will depend on the size and position of your abscess. Your emergency dentist will usually put you under local anesthetic and perform root canal treatment, extraction or drain the gum to remove pus.

Cracked or chipped teeth

Accidents can happen, and if you play contact sports especially, you may end up chipping or losing a tooth. The pressure inflicted on your tooth may cause you pain, and for aesthetic reasons it’s best to get things sorted as soona s you can.

Treatment: After assessing the extent of the damage, your local dentist may glue the fragment of the tooth back on, fit a crown the covers the broken tooth or your those who have nerve damage, root canal may be performed.

Benefits of visiting an emergency dentist for dental treatment

Visiting an emergency dentist instead of braving the pain is the best option for oral ailments. Your local dentist will be able to treat the problem, or provide a temporary resolution until your booked in for the full treatment. Benefits of an emergency dentist include:

Quick pain relief

Not matter what your dental problem is, you want it to be treated quickly. Going to your GP or local A&E is not always appropriate as you may require a specialist dental assessment. Your first point of contact should always be your dentist, who should be able to arrange a same-day appointment and suggest the right course of action.

Peace of mind

Many aches and pains can actually signs of more serious conditions. Don’t ignore these signs, get them checked out by a professional dentist who can get your oral health back on track. It can be scary when you can’t identify the source of your pain, but visiting an emergency dentist will put your mind at ease and make you feel much better.

Preventative care

Whatever the problem is with your teeth or gums you definitely don’t want it to return. As well as treating your pain, dentists can provide you with preventative measures to stop minor conditions turning in to serious problems and give you the knowledge to spot signs that they may be returning.

Riverside Dental Practice: Stirling’s local emergency dentist

If you’re based in Stirling and looking for a professional emergency dentist, Riverside Dental Practice have an expert team on hand to help with a range of dental emergencies from swelling to severe toothache. With a trusted system in place for out of hours care, we work tirelessly to provide high-quality treatments whenever they occur. For more information about our practice get in touch today.