What is a dental emergency?

Dental emergencies can be anything from a cracked, broken or loose tooth or when a tooth is completely knocked out. You should also seek help if you are suffering with an acute dental infection or when a filling or other dental work fails.

In Case of Emergency

If you find yourself with a dental emergency, call our practice immediately and we will fit you in as soon as possible. Outside of normal working hours we have an on-call system in place that provides essential contact information- simply call our office number and follow the instructions given.

Advice for Emergencies


To ease the pain of a toothache while you are waiting to see your dentist speak to a pharmacist and they will advise you on the best over-the-counter painkiller to help with the discomfort. You should also floss around the area to dislodge any food that might be causing the pain. If you have facial swelling, apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth/cheek. Contact Ballyclare Dental for an emergency appointment as soon as possible.


If you knock a tooth out, book an emergency appointment immediately. The sooner you see your dentist at Ballyclare Dental - ideally within one hour of the trauma taking place - the more likely we can save your tooth. Try to handle the tooth by the crown and avoid touching the root as that can cause damage to the cells needed to reattach the tooth to the bone.

Rinse the tooth gently, but do not scrub it, in cold running water to remove debris.

It is very important that the tooth does not dry out.

If you are able, put the clean tooth back into its socket. If you are unable to do this, keep the tooth moist by placing it in your mouth between the cheek and gum (not recommended for children as they may swallow it) or put it in a clean container and cover it with milk.

If a baby tooth is knocked out, do not try to reinsert it. Call the practice for an appointment so we can make sure the that none of the tooth remains in the mouth.


If you break or lose your Invisalign aligner you don’t need to come into the practice. Simply call us as soon as possible and we’ll order you a new one the very same day - even if you are out of the country. In the meantime, it’s important that you wear your previous stage aligners to make sure you don’t have a relapse in your straightening treatment.

If an orthodontic wire breaks or is poking your cheek, gum or tongue, try using the rubber end of a pencil to push the wire into a more comfortable position. If this doesn’t work, cover the wire end with orthodontic wax.

Important: Never cut the wire. You could end up swallowing it or breathing it into your lungs.


It’s important that you contact us immediately if you get an abscess.

Abscesses are very serious infections that occur around the root of a tooth or in spaces between the teeth and gums that can cause severe damage to the surrounding teeth and tissue.

Your dentist can prescribe antibiotics but, until you visit the practice, you can manage the pain with over-the-counter painkillers. Rinsing your mouth with a mild salt water solution (½ teaspoon of table salt in 8 ounces of water) can also be helpful.

If you have severe facial swelling, or you’re having trouble swallowing or breathing, you should go straight to the hospital.


Injuries to your tongue, gums, lips and cheeks that cause bleeding should be treated immediately with a mild salt water solution and, if available, you should use a piece of moistened gauze to apply pressure to the area for 15 minutes.

If you can’t get the bleeding to stop, call Ballyclare Dental immediately or visit the nearest hospital.


If your crown or bridge comes out contact the practice as soon as possible and be sure to bring the crown/bridge with you. If you are unable to visit us on the same day, you can purchase temporary cement from your local pharmacist.

Follow the instruction on the packet carefully and remember that this is only a temporary fix that should be used only for a day or two.

Important: Never use glue to put a crown or bridge back in place!


If you break a tooth or lose a filling, rinse your mouth with warm water to remove any leftover fragments from your mouth. If it has left a rough edge, you can buy temporary filling material from the chemist to cover the broken section until your dentist at Ballyclare repairs it. Minor chips and fractures can be smoothed over by your dentist but larger ones may need restoration.