What Constitutes A Dental Emergency?

What Constitutes A Dental Emergency?

Our Bedford dentist discusses when you should seek urgent dental care.

Perhaps it is the ‘British reserve’, but, like most dentists we suspect, we sometimes come across patients who are in real pain and have often put up with it for quite some time before finally contacting us.

Of course, this is a fairly extreme example, but it is not unusual for some people to delay seeing a dentist, either in the hope that the problem will go away (nervous patients especially), or that they didn’t want to ‘trouble’ us.

With this in mind, we thought it would be useful to define what might be considered a dental emergency and the action you should take in the event of one.


The most common reason for people to arrange an emergency dental appointment is when an accident occurs, such as a fall or a blow to the face, especially if this results in teeth being lost.

This is an obvious case of an emergency, though, it should be noted that in the case of a serious accident, such as a car crash, even if you feel OK but have received facial trauma, you should seek immediate attention from the nearest Accident and Emergency department at a hospital to rule out other potential head injury problems before contacting us.


Patients tend to call a dentist quickly when they have a raging toothache. The ones that are less severe though, often result in delays, sometimes even weeks. Whilst you may feel that you can bear the discomfort for some time, the reality is that there is a problem, and one that is likely to get much worse if you leave it. Not only will this result in more significant discomfort for you, but may even mean that the problem has advanced to a point where more extensive treatment, or even an extraction is needed. So even if it’s not a direct emergency as such, if you have toothache, please see our convenient Bedford dentist as soon as possible.

Broken tooth

If a tooth breaks, it can be tempting to leave it if it doesn’t hurt. We don’t recommend this course of action though for a number of reasons. Firstly, if a tooth breaks, the enamel will have been compromised and the softer dentin layer probably exposed. Once this happens, the tooth is more prone to decay and other infections. In addition to this, a broken tooth will not be as strong as a healthy one, and it is quite possible that it may break further. Delaying seeing a dentist may mean that damage that could have been restored with a simple filling may need more comprehensive treatment such as a dental crown.

The golden rule is that if you have a dental problem, you should try to get a quick appointment. Our receptionists will always try to arrange a same day appointment in the case of a genuine emergency, and a speedy appointment in less serious cases. You can help us with this by calling our Bedford practice as soon as you can so that we can see you the same day, where possible.

If you are seeking an emergency dentist in Bedford, please call us today on 01234 819868.