What Is an Out-Of-Hours Dentist?
An out-of-hours dentist provides dental services outside of normal working hours. They are different to in-hours dentists, who typically work from hours of 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (or in some cases, 8:00 pm to 4:00 pm).
You may need to see an out-of-hours dentist for an urgent appointment or if you have a dental emergency. You will usually be seen within 24 hours.
For urgent dental treatment, you must call your dentist, as they may be able to offer you an emergency appointment, or their answerphone message will advise you on what to do.
If your dentist does not offer emergency dental care (or if you do not have a dentist), use the NHS 111 online or telephone service.
At Didsbury Dental Practice, we are a 24-hour emergency dentist. Our opening hours are from 9:00 am to 12:00 am, Monday to Sunday.
If you have an emergency out-of-hours (after 6:00 pm), call us on 0161 504 7752 and we will be happy to help.
At Didsbury Dental Practice, our emergency dental care is second to none. Our service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including Bank Holidays and Christmas Day. To book an emergency appointment, it is not necessary for you to be an existing patient at our practice.
What can be classed as a dental emergency?
You should seek medical help from an out-of-hours dentist if you experience any of the following:
- Infections, abscesses and severe swelling in and around the mouth
- Uncontrolled bleeding from the mouth after an accident or extracted tooth
- Trauma (such as a tooth which has been knocked out)
- Excruciating pain lasting more than 2 days, which is not resolved with painkillers
- Broken tooth
- Mouth ulcers that have not healed after 2 weeks
What shall I do when I have a dental emergency and I am waiting to be seen by an out-of-hours dentist?
- Don’t panic. Try to stay calm, because stress and anxiety can aggravate dental problems and lead to other complications.
- If there is bleeding, place a clean gauze or cloth on the area and apply pressure, to stop the bleeding.
- If your tooth has been knocked out, rinse the tooth clean and put it back into its socket in your mouth, in the right way around.
- If you can’t do this, store the tooth in a sealed container of milk, or spit into a container and keep the tooth in your saliva. Milk keeps the tooth wet, which maintains its pH balance.
- Do not clean the tooth with any liquids such as mouthwash, bleach or other sterilisers.
- Only handle your tooth by the crown, which is visible. Do not touch the roots of the tooth, as any bacteria from your hands could transfer into the roots and spread infection once the tooth is re-installed.
- If there is swelling or bleeding in your mouth, do not brush your teeth. The bristles of the toothbrush could cause damage to the nerves or blood vessels in your mouth.
- Apply a cold compress to your jaw or cheeks, to alleviate the swelling.
- Avoid drinking very hot drinks or acidic drinks such as fruit juice, as this could irritate your teeth and gums.
How will the out-of-hours dentist help me in a dental emergency?
If your tooth has been knocked out and you bring it with you to your appointment, the dentist will clean the tooth. Then, they will put it back into your mouth and hold it in place, which is called splinting.
You may need to return to the dentist after a couple of weeks to have the splint removed.
If you can’t find the missing tooth, or the dentist is unable to save it, it may be replaced with a false tooth.
You may have to pay for your appointment and any treatments.
Are dental emergencies covered by the NHS?
The NHS does offer emergency dental care. Some NHS dentist surgeries offer emergency appointments at short notice, which will cost £23.80 unless you are entitled to free NHS dental treatment.
Currently, the UK has a shortage of NHS dental practices. Many NHS dentists are turning away patients, or have long waiting lists for new patients to join because there aren’t enough dentists to meet the demand. This has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has put enormous pressure on emergency services.
A survey of nearly 7,000 dental practices revealed that a third of NHS dental practices are no longer accepting new adult patients, while 8 in 10 practices are not taking on children.
If you are a patient at a private dentist, the fees for emergency dental care will be higher than fees at an NHS dental practice.
Using the NHS 111 service
The NHS 111 service is for when you have an urgent medical problem and you are not sure what to do. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you are Deaf, you can use the NHS 111 British Sign Language service or call 18001 111 on a textphone.
When you call 111 or use the online service, you will answer questions about your symptoms.
You can ask for a translator if you need one.
Depending on the situation, you will:
- find out what local service can help you
- be connected to an emergency dentist, nurse, pharmacist or GP
- get a face-to-face appointment if you require one
- be given an arrival time if you need to go to A&E – this might mean you spend less time in A&E
- be told how to get any medicine you need
- get self-care advice
A nurse can call you up to 3 times, so you may have to wait to hear from them for further information. If you are feeling better, don’t cancel the call, but tell the nurse this instead.
If your symptoms become more serious while you are waiting, call 999 immediately. These could be signs of a heart attack, stroke, severe difficulty breathing, severe allergic reaction, heavy bleeding or seizures.
What is not classed as a dental emergency?
- Minor toothache that goes away within 2 days
- Losing a filling or crown
- Chipped tooth or composite (after falling over or eating a hard food)
- Broken dentures
- Broken mouth guard or gum shield
- Food stuck between the teeth
How can I resolve a minor toothache?
- Take a painkiller such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Always leave 4 hours between doses.
- Rinse your mouth with salt water- but children should not try this.
- Apply a cold compress or ice pack to your jaw to ease inflammation.
- Eat soft foods such as yoghurt, porridge and smoothies, rather than hard foods, like carrots.
- Avoid foods that are sweet, very hot or very cold.
- Do not smoke, as smoking damages gum tissue and increases the risk of tooth decay.
Can I go to A&E with toothache?
You should only go to A&E in serious circumstances, if you are experiencing severe pain or heavy bleeding, or if you have sustained injuries to the face, mouth or teeth.
How can I prevent dental emergencies?
- Brush your teeth regularly and floss daily.
- Get regular check-ups at the dentist.
- Wear a gum shield or mouth guard at night time if you grind your teeth in your sleep (which is called bruxism).
- Wear a properly fitted mouth guard if you participate in sports, to protect your teeth from heavy blows to your mouth.
- If your dentures break, do not repair them yourself. Leave this to the dentist.
- Never use your teeth to open objects such as glass bottles. This is an easy way to crack a tooth and cause serious damage.
- Take vitamins which boost your oral health. Taking daily doses of iron, magnesium, calcium or vitamins A, C or D can improve inflammation of the gums.
- Have a healthy, balanced diet filled with leafy greens, fatty fish, lean proteins, yoghurts, cheeses, fruits, and nuts.
- Restrict the number of fizzy drinks and sugary snacks you consume, or limit these to meal times only.
- Hydrate well. Drinking plenty of water every day cleans your mouth and washes away cavity-causing bacteria.
To find out more about Didsbury Dental Practice, visit our website here.
We offer a range of dental treatments to help patients with fractured teeth, loose crowns, broken dentures, dental implants, swellings, and more.
We are an out-of-hours dentist practice because we know dental problems don’t always stick to 9.00 am to 12.00 am.
If you are looking for an emergency dentist in Manchester, call our dental emergency helpline on 0161 413 2835, for out-of-hours services. Alternatively, walk into the practice and we will aim to see you as soon as possible.