If the worst should happen and you need emergency dental treatment for a lost tooth, a cracked tooth, abscess, or severe toothache, then there are emergency dentists throughout the UK who can help you.
Patients registered with a local dentist can phone the surgery during office hours and they should be able to give you an emergency appointment for emergency treatment that day, while out of hours there will be information on what to do for 24-hour dental treatment on their answer phone.
Dental practices make their own arrangements for emergency dental treatment, but they will usually provide advice and treatment if you call before 10pm on weekday evenings and between 9am and 5pm on weekends and bank holidays.
Please remember that the emergency dentist you see out of hours may not be your own dentist, and may not have your dental records. If this is the case you should take a list of any drugs you are taking and be prepared to give details about your general health, as this can affect the dental treatment you receive.
UK residents who are on holiday in another part of the country or who are not registered with a dentist can call the 24-hour NHS Direct helpline on 0845 46 47 to find an emergency dentist in the area. You usually have to wait a while at an emergency dentist's surgery, but in most cases you will be seen on the same day.
Alternatively, you could arrange emergency treatment with a private dentist, as although this can be expensive you will probably be able to secure an emergency appointment more quickly.
Visitors to the UK from abroad will have to check their medical or travel insurance certificate to see what dental treatment they are entitled to. Foreigners who are in the UK for less than six months are generally viewed as private patients and are therefore not entitled to NHS treatment. This means you will have to contact a private dentist or NHS Direct, but may be able to claim the cost of the dental treatment from your travel insurance company.
Whether you are in the UK on holiday, a resident private patient, or a NHS patient, if you have severe swelling or bleeding in the mouth area then you should contact the Accident and Emergency Department of your local hospital.