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NHS dental services

Dental emergency and out-of-hours care

If you think you need urgent treatment, contact your usual dental practice and ask to be seen as an emergency. If you do not have a regular dentist, you can still get urgent care. Contact your NHS England Local Area Team or call NHS 111.

You may need urgent treatment if you have:

  • toothache or swelling that suggests an infection of a tooth or gum
  • severe toothache or facial pain which is not controlled by taking over-the-counter painkillers
  • trauma of the face, mouth or teeth after a recent accident or injury
  • a permanent tooth being knocked out
  • bleeding after tooth extraction that you cannot control
  • serious swelling of the mouth or face which is getting worse

Most urgent treatments can be dealt with in one appointment. However, if more than one visit is required, and you return to the same dentist to complete the urgent course of treatment, you will only need to pay a single Band 1 (£18.50) charge for the whole course.

Once your urgent course of treatment has been completed, you may be advised to make another appointment for a separate course of non-urgent treatment. In this case, you will have to pay a second charge in the relevant treatment band.

What you can do to help yourself until you can see a dentist

In some circumstances, and only under a pharmacist’s supervision, the use of a dental repair kit may provide temporary relief. These can be bought over the counter at chemists and pharmacies for around £5.00. They are not intended to be a substitute for professional dental care. If you buy and use one of these kits, you still need to see a dentist as soon as possible so the underlying problem can be properly treated and permanently resolved. 

Find a pharmacist near you.


The 64 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Marsteell said on 27 December 2014

I started feeling pain on Christmas day from a cracked filling that never bothered me before. It flared up with a vegence and by Boxing Day I was in agony. Rang 111 at 7:30 am they were extremely helpful full of advice and sympathy, I was made a emergency appt at the dentists at 10am where I've just been told I have an abscess and I am to return when the infection goes away. The service was wonderful and I couldn't be happier as the amoxicillin is slowly taking effect!

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Violet54 said on 21 December 2014

Severe toothache is no joke but the NHS 111 line only have limited appointments daily for emergency dental treatment. You have more chance of being seen that day if you ring early in the morning with a genuine emergency.... When my son had an abcess I rang at 7am on a Sunday morning and was seen by 11am that day but did have to travel for 45 minutes but then I expected that as it was out of hours. My friend use to work on the dental team at 111 and people would ring with broken teeth that weren't painful expecting to be seen immediately !!. Others would not have even tried painkillers to relieve the pain!! You will only get advice from 111 once the appointments for that day have gone and there's nothing else they can do... There are plenty of emergency dentists out there who are 365 days a year 24 hours a day...if you look online you will find them but be prepared to travel. I've had to go into London before for emergency treatment for an infected root filled tooth which was removed but it was worth the journey to get rid of the pain!

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Raystonia said on 10 December 2014

I was very impressed and relieved that I was able to get an emergency dentist appointment in Brighton at short notice. I called at 5.30pm and was seen at 7pm, same evening, for treatment of an abscess. Previously I had to travel out of town to Lewes where the emergency service there was really tricky to reach without a car. The person on the reception and the dentist were all very friendly and calming.

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marwin said on 21 November 2014

I was in a lot of pain which had been increasing over 48 hours. I had thought I could get to Monday and see my dentist but life was becoming unbearable. In the Saturday night I read all these comments about 111 and was put off ringing them, but by Sunday morning the pain was too much. The woman who answered the phone was polite, helpful, sympathetic and fairly quick. She gave me another number to ring for Devon Dental Services. I got through to them 10 minutes after they opened and again got a very nice response. I was told that they would ring back within an hour and tell me what treatment was available. They didn't ring until 3 hours later but I was offered an appointment at 2pm that same day. The dentist I saw was excellent. He X-rayed the tooth and offered me root canal treatment which I declined in favour of extraction. The pain was gone, problem solved and all for the £18.50 emergency fee plus some travelling. I am very happy with the service I received from everyone involved. I think it helped that I rang early in the morning. There must be a limited amount of emergency appointments available.

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Meowsy said on 08 November 2014

Rang at 10am this morning with a severe tooth ache and a swollen face, I was told I would be contacted within 6 hours, I am still waiting in agony 13 hours later.

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Tim789 said on 24 October 2014

Rang 111 last Saturday evening for severe toothache but all they offered was advice as all the slots had been allocated for that day. They gave me the the number of a private service called Ipswich emergency dentist and I was seen at a practice on the Spring Road the following day. Treatment wasn't cheap but I did get my broken tooth taken out and the service was efficient but a pity the NHS couldn't have offered more than just advice.

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Iz1979 said on 11 October 2014

After speaking to two lovely helpful ladies I got an appointment with the emergency dentist.
Travelled to see the dentist who again was lovely and was able to find what was causing me the pain from my tooth, however she was unable to relieve my pain because she didn't have time to complete the required treatment. What is the point of this service if the dentists are not allowed the time to help resolve people's pain?
Although everyone has been lovely I am no further forward in having my pain eased until I can get a regular appointment with my own dentist on Monday.

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Sio_ban said on 11 October 2014

I've been in lots of pain with a tooth that I have an appointment to fix on Monday. I contacted the Manchester emergency and out of hours dental service today (Saturday) and was very impressed with the care I received. A triage dental nurse called me back and put my mind at ease and a doctor called me to advise on pain relief. The doctor wrote and faxed a prescription for strong pain killers to my chemist. The NHS is fantastic!

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Zedboy said on 21 September 2014

Called 111 @12:30pm Sunday afternoon with horrific tooth ache after a dreadful night of pain. Got appt at local health centre 90 minutes later, with prescription etc.... Awesome response and feeling so much better this evening.

Even got check-up call this evening to follow up. Excellent service.

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stelag said on 29 August 2014

It says a tooth knocked out is a reason for treatment... it seems so unfair that my tooth broke just outside dental hours on a Friday and dentaline kept repeating that I have to be in agony... I am too numb to be in agony and I am going to be feeling sick and aching all weekend because it isn't serious enough.. it is at the front so I can't really eat to take painkillers, there isn't even a list of dentists who are available at the weekedn.. I have hunted online and cannot be sure who is open, I have left messages on ansaphones... set for a miserable and nauseous weekend just for the sake of a simple mend... why cannot I find a dentist? I know there are some open on saturday but I can't find the information on which ones

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abbird2003 said on 16 August 2014

Contacted Saturday morning needing emergency dentist after answering some rather bizarre questions I was told some one would call me back.

I missed the 1st call & the 2nd one 80 minutes later could only offer me an appointment on Tuesday 3 days away!!! Informed them I intended on returning to my own dentist on Monday so the appointment wouldn't be required.

They couldn't tell me what to do about the pain only advised I speak to a pharmacist about pain meds but I'd already been there done that! I was then but offered me a call back from a nurse.

Glad I pushed for this as I managed to get an appointment that evening, got some very good advise regarding my pain meds & hoping to get some antibiotics to help with the infection.

Be prepared to travel for treatment & don't let them fob you off would be my best advice

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PaulX said on 12 August 2014

I rang NHS111 to find out how to arrange an emergency dental appointment as I have moved to Leeds and not registered with an NHS dental practice here yet. The nearest one to my work said they wouldn't be able to make an appointment for a new patient until late September, which is hardly useful to me as I have toothache. The receptionist advised me to contact NHS111 to obtain information on finding an emergency dentist.

However, when I did ring, the man who answered only seemed interested in asking lots of questions about my personal details. I pointed out to him that I had no interest in leaving my personal details as I was in a location where my privacy was compromised and I didn't want to shout out my personal details to him so that all and sundry around me could hear. We are constantly told to be vigilant about identity theft after all. I found his response very patronising and ended the call.

I am perfectly capable of speaking to a dental practice myself without having to shout out my details to someone who will then do it on my behalf. All I wanted was information on which NHS dentists near to me would see emergency patients, I don't need patronising lectures from smug call centre staff who assume that we are incapable of tying our own shoelaces.

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Bellyache123 said on 10 August 2014

I had struggled for a few days treating my condition with over the counter painkillers. I tried to get an appointment to see the emergency dentist on the Saturday but was out of luck. However I was given instructions on how to get an appointment on the Sunday. I can only praise the service that I received, and felt compelled to write as I think that people are too quick to criticise the NHS.
Fantastic service I had today....Thank you so much

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User894570 said on 09 August 2014

I had awful toothache & suspected an infection in an old root canal. Having just moved I didn't have a dentist so called 111. They were lovely, took my details & said someone from the dental team would call back. I missed the first call which was around 90 mins later as my mobile lost signal but they left a message. They then tried again an hour later. They offered me a choice of two nearby large towns and I ended up with an appointment that evening. Unfortunately I lost that tooth due to infection that night, but I was thoroughly impressed with the service. I will also be joining the Dental Practice I attended as a NHS patient as they were so good. Thank you to the team at 111 and to the great dentist & practice that open 7 days a week until 8pm. Absolutely brilliant!

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Lozno1 said on 08 August 2014

In total disgust thank you very much nhs 111 total joke someone will call you back 3 times ive been told that this evening and guess what no one has!! Leaving someone in acute pain for hours on end is bang out of order while waiting on a return call that never comes !!! Animals get better treatment utter disgrace the shape of the nhs today is not a good one and a suggestion save some money get rid of this 111 number as it is no help what so ever !!

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katybobby12 said on 26 June 2014

My husband developed an absess under his tooth he was in severe pain. Our 3 local NHS walkin centres were closed at 8pm so i made a decision to go to Sunderland A&E. Despite the estimated waiting time of 5 to 6 hours he was seen and treated within 2 hours. The staff were very sympathetic my husband was treated well and given the antibiotic mediction and pain relief he needed and then sent home. I know this is not what an A&E dept is for, but the staff were great and much appreciated. What else are you supposed to do when you cant get a dentist appt or afford the cost and your walkin centres are shut and you cant get a dr's appointment for 2 weeks. The NHS, through cuts is falling apart, closing much needed local services therefore people are forced to wait until they cant manage their symptoms any longer and as a last resort to turn to their hospital A&E dept. All I can say is thanks your worth every penny!

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lizh50 said on 25 June 2014

Rang 111 for emergency Dentist for my partner as he was in severe pain, feverish and his face was swollen. Dentist rang back an hour later only to tell us to wait till his own dentist was open in the morning ! what is the point of having an emergency dentist if they wont see you, what a load of crock. thanks 111 and emergency dentist for reminding me what I have been paying my nhs contributions for all these years, your a joke.

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MrAdamD said on 16 June 2014


NHS111 staff are polite, gather the details, and promise that they will call you back shorty.

They never returned the call.

Do not waste time using this service!

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EFDES said on 15 June 2014

My wife is in excruciating toothache pain, since 23:00, called up NHS111, they told her to wait until morning and will get an appointment at 09:30!
How sick is this? she has tried pain killers and its not helping her at all.
How helpful is this service? Or is everyone watching England football match??

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BeCkyClAiRe said on 14 June 2014

Amazing :)
called 111 at 0730 Saturday morning, the two ladies I spoke to where amazing. They couldn't have more empathy towards the pain I was in. Both gave me time to explain the problem. After speaking to the second lady, she gave me a number in which I phoned.
By 0800 I had an appointment for 1000 I am so pleased with the service I received.

couldn't of asked for a better response from over worked and under paid health professionals. Thank you to the ladies at 111 and thanks to the lady at the emergency dental :)

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foxthesongbird said on 12 June 2014

Absolute joke!!!

I rang up today after my tooth split clean in half and told them that the tooth pieces were still in my gum, that it was moving in a worrying way and that I have fibromyalgia which amplifies my pain tenfold in everything. Im also resistant to pain medications and terrified of dental things.

Their response? "Ohh. There doesn't appear to be an emergency dentist available in your health board area. You'll have to just call your dentist in the morning.."

Leaving me for at least 15 hours (and thats just til I can CALL.) with no pain relief (my meds barely work on the things I have wrong already) and no help. To not even help at all!

Thats right, leave the dental phobic with a mouth full of tooth shards. I cant even eat, and now havent done so for over 24h because even liquids make the tooth wobble precariously.

My meds are giving me stomach pains because I cant eat, and im also on a massive dose of iron tablets because im badly anemic, which is why I cant just pull the tooth myself as the blood will not clot properly without packing and/or stitches.

Thank you, NHS 111, for deciding im not worthy enough to get an emergency appointment. Because I phoned the local emergency dentistry place and they said that their last appointment for today had been given away at 7pm - half an hour after I got off the phone to you. (And stupid me for failing to not trust you sooner.)


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Kav47 said on 09 June 2014

In the last 6 months I had to call 111 on three occasions. Twice was for the emergency dentist at a weekend for myself. On the just occasion last November I was never able to see a dentist as they were too busy and I was in agony with a tooth abscess. Tooth was extracted on the Monday by my dentist as I had not been able to have antibiotics and there was no hope of saving tooth.
Yesterday, I had toothache again and again I received a very poor service. I rang them at 8.00 requesting to see dentist as I needed antibiotics. After chasing them twice, 6 hours later I received a phone call informing me that there were no appointments in my city and I had the option of going to two other cites, I had no choice but to go to travel to the one closest (45 minutes away) even though I was in agony. I was informed that if I was too ill that I should take bus and train! Unbelievable.

I am embarrassed to say that I work for the nhs where I have only received poor service so far in out of hours. I would certainly not recommend my friends and family to 111,

Someone needs to do something about the state of 111.

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princess1983 said on 26 May 2014

The problem is with the dentists not providing an out of hours service not nhs 111

instead of sitting in the waiting room in an a&e with toothache why dont you ask the nurse if you can have a look in the resus room where they will be dealing with cardiac arrests!!

Gps can not deal with dental services out of hours, would you go in you dentist with a broken leg and expect them to sort it out!

Nhs 111 do a great job its unfortunate if the service your referred to is poor but thats not there fault

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cazzabean said on 10 May 2014

I was in a lot of pain and called at 6.30 am on a Saturday and was given an out of hours number to call between 9 and 12 am. I was able to see a dentist at 9.45 and prescribed antibiotics for a tooth abscess. Looking at other comments below I feel i may have been lucky but just wanted to report a success with the system. The staff were friendly, efficient and helpful.

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RachelL49 said on 08 May 2014

Rang 111 today in the hope they may be able to access some emergency dental treatment for me. I have what I suspect is an abcess as it is swollen and I'm in extreme pain, I am not registered with a dentist. After endless questions they gave me the phone number for my local dental emergency unit...which I already knew. They were booked up. I thought 111 might be able to tell me what I can do if the emergency dentist is booked up but they couldn't. Not sure what help they were. Gave me no more information than I could get online but took 15 minutes to do it.

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Adam Norton said on 07 May 2014

Could you tell me if its possible to have all my teeth removed so I can have denturess please as my teeth are really decayed and broken. Im terrified of dentist so I want to be put to sleep in hospital to have this done. This is also really making me rather depressed now. ive been to several dentists but been told they couldnt or they could repair them. but i have loads of teeth missing and its getting me so down now. thanks.

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aliphant said on 04 May 2014

Absolutely disgusted with the 111 service. I rang them yesterday morning as my 6 year old son was in severe pain with a bad tooth and he couldn't eat. I was told I would be contacted within 24 hours, but was assured it wouldn't take that long. After 3 more calls to them during the day, I was given no further information as to when I would receive a call back. I reiterated that my son was in severe pain and they offered no help. I rang back again this morning, after 23 hours of waiting and was again told to wait until the 24 hours was up, before they would chase it up. At 23 hours and 50 minutes after my initial call, I finally got a call with an appointment from an emergency dentist for 1.45pm today.
A complete joke! Bring back NHS Direct. Is this the kind of service I pay for with my National Insurance?...

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Gill Wiz said on 26 April 2014

I have to agree with wnick88's comments: NHS 111 is utterly useless, not fit for purpose.

I have now tried to use this service 3 times as I didn't want to call out an ambulance by dialling 999 and clogging up A & E.

Tried using twice in 2013 for my mother who it turned out had had a stroke - Had to wait ages to get through and after 2 attempts finally got through and after keeping me on the phone for 15 minutes eventually told me to dial 999.

Just tried the service again for an emergency dentist for my husband - this time got through ok but they gave me a number for NHS emergency treatment which I had already rung only to be told to ring back the following day as all their appointments were gone (this was at 1pm on a Sat ). I told the 111 assistant this so he gave me a number in Lewes which just gave me a recorded message but no help as to how to access emergency dental treatment. It became clear that the 111 assistant was searching the net like me, but he didn't have an answer. I now know the answer there is no emergency NHS Dental service available in East Sussex - to quote a certain supermarket phrase "when its gone its gone" i.e. they are not 24 hours and have only a few emergency appointments available each day. The answer is you have to pay for private emergency dental treatment or suffer in excruciating pain. Much better to scrap the 111 service (misnomer) and put the money into 24 hour dental treatment centres. I can tell the NHS how to save money but I doubt the bureaucrats will want to listen! Thank goodness we could come up with a £100 for the dental treatment - many others can't and will have to suffer in pain.

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ihatesciatica said on 25 April 2014

forgot to add which may also help for toothache, swirl some sea salt and warm water around your mouth a few times and spit out, you can use baking soda/bicarbinate of soda and warm water too. anbesol liquid, clove oil gel, slice some garlic and hold that against tooth (will 'burn' for a few secs) or a slice of onion or vanilla extract on a cotton wool ball, hot/cold compress. search on the internet for them but the top two work.

hope i helped.

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ihatesciatica said on 25 April 2014

please read this it may save you some time and give you peace of mind like it has me. some dentists that are with Denplan do a scheme where people on nhs can join, it costs £5.50 a month and if you need a dentist at weekend, bank holidays or xmas, you ring your dentist and you will be able to see them or one of they're chains, all you need to pay is £18.50 that day for any treatment. please ask your dentists if they do this, dentist in orton does this. So theres no 111 or if they don't feel your an emergency or they could send you as far as cambridge for nhs dentist. you just go to the dentist who is open at that weekend.

i've had to use this service and found it useless, there is nothing they can do apart from take your name and number and get someone to call you back, IF they decide you need a call back and they still don't do anything and even if they did decide you need a dentist, it could be miles away. you would think in this day and age there would be a night time dentist.

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MsDbird said on 23 April 2014

I've used this service twice in the last year and both times I had an excellent experience. The people I talked too where always polite and helpful. I was referred to another number both times (which also had polite and helpful staff) but they still did everything in their power to help me out. Which I have to say is extremely appreciated.

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KirstyK1988 said on 18 April 2014

Ive used the 111 service for an emergency dentist twice in the past 12 months. Both times ive found the service fantastic. My call was answered straight away, the operative was both efficiant and sympathetic and i l received a call back within 10 minutes with an offer of an appointment locally within 24 hours.
If used correctly this is a brilliant service thats taking pressure off a&e and offering patients an option out of hours.

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MartinM said on 05 April 2014

Come on people, so many comments here are negative, how can an A and E that deals with people scrapped up from road traffic accidents stop and help out people with essentially tooth ache!!

Last night I had the mother of all toothaches, no sleep, I felt I was going to die, my mother is a nurse so I knew calling 999 wouldn't help much. In the morning, my dentist did see me for emergency booking( which meant come in early at 9am) and was given antibiotics and over the counter painkillers. I spent another night of agony tonight, but I know this is not a life threat.

There are things you can do to help yourself if you have toothache, there's very strong painkillers out there and gel.

If a child has fallen out of bed and broke a tooth, I would call 999 as it's a head injury, but for most of the comments below, it's just toothache or gum infection.

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wnick88 said on 24 March 2014

Useless. Utterly, utterly useless.

I have had severe toothache for the past 12 hours, keeping me awake through the night.

At 4am, I called 111 and was essentially told "Oh, you need a dentist, but none are open right now." (really?! because I definitely didn't know that.) Then told to call 2 local practices for help.

1 of the local practices I was told to call is a referral-only clinic. The other is not accepting new clients and does not do emergency appointments for people who are not registered with them. I haven't been able to register anywhere.

So frankly, this system may as well be scrapped for the utterly uselessness it shows. Nothing short of complete incompetence. A third practice has been able to give me a number for an out of hours service, but that does not open for another 3 hours (by which time, we're talking over 15 hours of agony, plus however long it takes to be seen).

Then you wonder why A&E units are over-run? Sort your lives out, NHS!

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jessgarside said on 25 February 2014

Very good experience. Called in agony with toothache, even asked am i through o the right service and they said yes. Would say not to feel worried about calling. Very good experience. Thank goodness for 111.

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thevirginmummy said on 23 February 2014

I have called 111 with medical concerns before and generally been happy with the response but when I got severe toothache on Saturday night I read the reviews here and was discouraged from calling it. Instead I called my usual practice (I guess any local surgery would be worth a try if you're not registered with one). The answer phone message referred me to a ' single point of contact' phone number. Admittedly this isn't 24hrs (7am-9pm) but I phoned first thing in the morning and the woman was very helpful and booked me an appointment at a dental surgery that day. A few hours later I had anti biotics and was feeling a lot happier. I don't know if every area has this type of system but it's worth a try. The only thing was that she said mine was the last appointment available so I don't know what happens when they're all filled. Hope that helps.

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iancwas said on 19 February 2014

My back tooth as been hurting for a while and I was putting it off but today I thought I better sort it out. I don't have a dentist at the moment so I had to call up to find out what to do next.

I called the local area team who then told me to call 111 and they will sort things out for me. So I then called 111 who said he couldn't do anything apart from list dentist practices and I would have to call them up and explain I need a emergency appointment.

So I called my local practice who said I was misinformed and that I needed to call another dental emergency number to get an appointment. So after 4 call I finally got an appointment at my local dentist down the road.

How is this efficient in any way?

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Andrea21 said on 16 February 2014

Am absolutely disgusted by this so called 'service' that is apparently provided. Been suffering with toothache and have visited my own dentist who wasn't certain that the treatment given would cure problems so told me to ring 111 for an appointment if problems persisted. Toothache started again Friday evening. Continued and became almost unbearable by Saturday tea time. Rang 111 and was asked questions by lady on the other end of the phone. After which she told me that I wasn't deemed to be an emergency! So pain filled Sunday followed sleepless night and another pain filled sleepless night before I can try to get an appointment to see my own dentist. This really isn't good enough. Wish could choose to opt out from paying my national insurance contributions and use them to fund private healthcare as the NHS and this service in particular is a waste of time.

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SarahD1986 said on 10 February 2014

absolutely appalling I have never experienced a more pointless service! There is 0 they can do other than take your phone numebr and adress repeatly.

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jennie2556 said on 02 February 2014

Just had to call 111 for emergency dental treatment. What a waste of time that was and the man was rude. My husband saw his own dentist twice this week and had one tooth removed as it was slightly infected and one filled and is still in pain even with paracetamol being taken. We explained he will now be out of the country for a week and needs something done fast but was offered an appointment on Wednesday!!!!! What is the use of that when he will not be here and if he was he could get to see his own dentist on Monday anyway. Emergency NHS Service is a joke and we are all having to pay for this service via tax etc and then again when we see a Dentist - who by the way drives around in a Porche!!

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Very disappointed with urgent dental care said on 31 January 2014

I have just called 111 to access an emergency dental service in Leeds. I can honestly say the man I have just spoken to is the rudest, most unhelpful person I have ever spoken to in my life. I was told of an appointment in 2 days time and I simply asked where I would go - how this would work (i.e. as this wouldn't be my normal dentist). I was so shocked to hear him say 'sorry what don't you understand - we offer you an appointment and you say if you're coming or not' but you should have heard how he said that. I was so shocked I decided to wait 1 more day to see my normal dentist.

That man really shouldn't have his job. So rude, so unnecessary.

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mikeyTcomplains said on 26 January 2014

Dental care via111 in sheffield is a joke...and not a funny one. Rude unhelpful 111 staff. I call at 0900 sunday with chronic toothace that started the day before. Mouth swollen and painkillers not working. Someone will ring back within 12 hours....seriously. 10 hrs laterand no reply. Scrap the NHS and lets all go private and lets just stop paying for the worst health care in Europe. NHS Sheffield and 111 youre a disgrace.

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wot is happening to NHS said on 04 January 2014

What can I say? Absolutely shocking out of hours dental service. My crown fell off my from tooth leaving no tooth at all (it has all broken off). Rang to try to see out of hours dentist only to be told I couldn't because it wasn't an emergency even though website included a tooth being knocked out (not same I know, but similar). They recommended stuff from boots which I tried to explain wouldn't work as there is nothing to stick it onto. Got nowhere staff very patronising. I have used recommended cement. Cap just stuck on but cant go out, cant speak and cant eat properly. From this site it appears that even if you are in pain you cant get an appointment so what does it take? Mine would have literally taken a dentist no time at all to make the cap more stable until I could get to my usual dentist.

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cazjeff said on 03 December 2013

My son fell out of bed on Saturday night whilst asleep, this resulted in him shearing off half his tooth, he was in agony so I called 111 as he has no dentist and I was not sure if he would be seen in casualty , I went though all there questions and she told me to take him up if he could not cope with the pain, by this time the side of his jaw had some slight swelling. he left it until Monday evening as hes not one to go to dentists and doctors unless he has no alternative, when I went to check him in the casualty receptionist said in a very huffy way , we don't do dental work and not do we see anyone with dental problems, so we left. He was still in agony so today I got him in to see an emergency dentist, when ringing I asked what the costs would be and was told due to the ned for treatment resulted from an accident it would be £18. He went to the apt, the dentist only needed to remove the tooth but no hes give him a temp filling, we all know they drop out and he has to go back next Tuesday to have it removed, cost £24 now I have checked the NHS guidelines and they have overcharges him apparently they said the additional £5 was for numbing him up when it is surpassed to be under the one charge., Another example of the rubbish we have to put up with.

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Milky Kent said on 22 November 2013

Unbelievable. NHS 111 totally unhelpful. Got extreme pain in my tooth, and can't sleep or do anything. Been told that they cannot help, tried dentists, and all numbers given to me. Nothing. Also told not to take any more pain relief as i have reached the maximum dose. Been told to let it get worse and then it will be come a 999 problem. Here goes. Can't eat anyway, so just waiting for my body to collapse.

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work in the nhs said on 20 October 2013

Unhappy with lack of access to out of hours dental care when in extreme pain - cannot sleep or eat; empathise fully with similar stories below and comments re listening to prolonged recorded messages. When finally getting through to a person after waiting ages, NHS 111 totally unhelpful. Didn't manage to access a dentist so having to live with pain all weekend until surgery opens and hope an appointment will be available. Where have all the emergency dentists gone? They seem to be a closely guarded secret with huge barriers to accessing them!

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daisydoop said on 13 October 2013

The NHS 111 lady was utterly wonderful! So helpful and very kind/understanding, she found me a number to ring in my local area and all was fine.
Then I rang my local out of hours surgery who told me that I would not be able to get an emergency appointment because in order to qualify for emergency care, get this, you have to have been suffering with the condition and taking pain relief for at least 24 hours!!!! What??? So even though my tooth had cracked in half, left my nerve exposed and was so sharp it was slicing my mouth open with every breath (NHS111 lady said I definitely needed attention straight away!), I couldn't get an appointment because it had only just happened, whereas if it had happened yesterday then yes I would qualify for treatment!!! Biggest load of pants I've ever heard of - ridiculous!!! I now have to wait until Monday evening (I'm not registered locally) for their out of hours "care", and all the while just let my mouth continue to be ripped to pieces and bleed everywhere!
She also told me that if I had rang up when they opened that I would have gotten an appointment but it was my own fault because I rang too late - sorry, next time I'll make sure my tooth cracks in half in the morning shall I???
Furious!! Can you tell!! x

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misslucyhealey said on 30 September 2013

I have just phoned the NHS 111 service after reading about it on this site and have to ask what is even the point? I have been crying in agony all day with my tooth, and all that the lady on the phone did was give me a number to a dentist that is nearly 40 miles away from my home.
I have had this pain for over a week now, and have yet to find a highly-rated dentist local to me (I have just moved home). My first NHS dentist made my front tooth completely weak and when I ate it just snapped off. As a 20 year old female and with major depression, this really has damaged my confidence. They kept giving me useless temporary crowns that came out instantly so I gave up and went elsewhere. My last NHS dentist didn't care about my obvious problem with my front tooth, and instead drilled a load of holes in my teeth just so they could put fillings in them. And this is where my pain is from now, these awful fillings.

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blackburn patient said on 19 September 2013

Once your urgent course of treatment has been completed, you may be advised to make another appointment for a separate course of non-urgent treatment. In this case, you will have to pay a second charge in the relevant treatment band.

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blackburn patient said on 19 September 2013

reply to OAPRage
Most urgent treatments can be dealt with in one appointment. However, if more than one visit is required, and you return to the same dentist to complete the urgent course of treatment, you will only need to pay a single Band 1 (£18.00) charge for the whole course.

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OAPRage said on 31 August 2013

I'm not on any benefit so don't get any help with NHS costs apart from the universal benefit of free prescriptions, so have to pay for dental care. This year I went for my check-up on 11th January and paid 48 pounds. I developed an access, so I returned on the 6th March and paid a further 17.50. On the 17th July, I went for another check-up, having another filling and a tooth extraction, cost 49 pounds. I started to get a lot of sensitivity in the tooth next to the extraction site so rang for an appointment. The only one I was offered was an emergency appointment and you can guess, I was charged another 18 pounds!

Can somebody please tell me if the NHS promise of 2 months cover, on completion of a course of treatment, ever applies? I am an OAP on a limited income just above the bread line and far worse off than my elderly mum who's on benefits!

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Ashwills1 said on 24 August 2013

111 is the biggest waste of time in the world. How long does someone who's ringing for urgent help because of painful teeth have to listen to the recorded message and songs for. I dont want to hear that i want to be helped which gather by the 5x 15minute calls ive made isnt going to happen.

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tony695 said on 18 August 2013

I am sitting here my wife in terrible pain crying like a child with toothache, what help did we get from the 111 system nothing just a rude dental nurse refusing any help. Her answer is we have no places left is this not the idea of an emergency system to help people in a situation where they are desperate and in need of help. The 111 system is just another way of pushing you aside to save money.

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helpfulidiot said on 01 August 2013

I wouldn't bother ringing NHS 111. I'm not signed up to a dentist as I have just moved house and haven't got around to it. I've had severe toothache for a couple of days now. I rang my local practice who told me to call back at 9pm when their out of hours service kicks in. I rang NHS 111 and spoke to a lady who was rude and dismissive. She was clearly not listening to a word I said and only repeated words from her script. Her only 'help' was to tell me to call a dentist, which I had already done. She didn't seem at all bothered that I was in a lot of pain.
I'm waiting to see what the dentist says when I ring at 9pm.

This is why so many people skip all the nonsense and just go straight to A&E.

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AD_1977 said on 28 July 2013

Had a first rate experience with NHS 111 Suffolk this morning. I am 24 weeks pregnant and was in agony with toothache. I am only allowed to take paracetamol and knew I wouldn't last until tomorrow to see my own dentist, so I called 111 at 8am. I dealt with a very helpful healthcare advisor who said she would pass on all my details to the Urgent Care team. They immediately rang back and made me an appointment for 12:15pm today. I arrived at Ipswich Hospital's Mobile Dental Unit at 12pm as directed to fill out the required paperwork. I was seen on time by a friendly dentist who diagnosed an abscess and prescribed antibiotics. All in all, the process could not have been any smoother. All the staff were very helpful, friendly and efficient and I am very grateful to everyone who dealt with me today. Keep up the good work NHS Suffolk! Today has just proven that when our healthcare system works, it is amazing!

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nujennex said on 20 July 2013

Our of hours urgent care? What a joke! Am in complete agony with a toothache only to be told that after 2pm there is no help - other than a private clinic who want to charge me £200 (and this number was given to me by NHS direct!). It took me 3 separate calls to the 111 number as I kept being put through to call centres around the country only to be told they can't help unless they're from my local call centre. I've basically been told there's nothing that can be done as I've taken pain killers (that are doing nothing!) and I have to suffer until tomorrow when someone might be able to see me or until Monday. Not a very good service sadly.

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Smiley228 said on 06 June 2013

What a quick and efficient service! I rang at 8am, a dental nurse called me back 10 mins later and booked me an appointment for an hours time. Within 2 hours of making the initial phone call I'm at home nursing my tooth extraction. Just wish I'd have rang yesterday so I wouldn't have spent the whole night awake in agony.

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Miss_A said on 31 May 2013

I just had to call as my tooth has crumbled and I am in agony. The guy who answered the phone was really nice, efficient and helpful. The emergency dental guy who rang me back was the same. They gave me the option of waiting to have an appointment near home or travelling further to be seen sooner. They also told me how much it would cost. The upshot is I got excellent service, a 5pm appointment on Sunday and it will only cost me £18.

This is why I love the NHS and the people that work in it. They cannot always get it right, no one or thing is perfect, accept that and appreciate it for what it is.

Also, the quality of the service you receive is reliant on the information you give them.

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sj2501 said on 23 May 2013

My partner has been in excruciating pain for the last 4 days with toothache. We rang the emergency dentist yesterday morning and was told "you can't see an emergency dentist unless you are in chronic pain". He is! Due to the right hand side of his face swelling to double it's size and him crying in pain we went to A&E where we were given amazing treatment. My partner was prescribed Amoxicillin and extra strength co-codamol. The specialist registrar who saw him said we can't treat your abscess but I know you need to see a dentist asap. So again this morning we rang the emergency dentist and was told by the same useless nurse that we wouldn't be seen. The dire excuse this time was "if you have an abscess the local anaesthetic for treatment won't work". So he has been left to suffer. All the advice says see a dentist, kinda difficult when you have a jumped up little jobsworth with no ounce of sympathy on the line. Thanks NHS Sheffield!

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noodles10 said on 24 January 2013

I had been suffering terrible toothache for about a week. I gave my local minor injuries unit a call who gave me the number for local emergency dental treatment. I rang them and they gave me a number of a nearby dentist who had emergency appointments available. I rang made the appointment and had a tooth extracted within a couple of hours.
If I'd known if was going to be so stress free I would have rang last week instead of suffering the pain.
I can't fault the service, Cheshire West certainly seem to have their act together. Thank you.

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thomasjo said on 30 December 2012

After having severe toothache I had to ring nhs direct for an emergency dentist, I was very pleased with the service I received from them. They called back when they said they would and booked me an appointment. Only to be let down by the dental practisioner as I explained to him I was scared and please not to hurt me. His exact words were "let's get 1 thing straight, your in my chair and I will use my tools which will more than likely hurt is that clear?" What a disgrace!!!

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a1l33n said on 29 December 2012

I'm very unimpressed with "emergency" dental access. It would appear to be impossible to actually obtain emergency treatment outside the major cities - and the ones in the major cities are probably very expensive. We've phoned the local emergency line about a broken tooth and have been told that all today's appointments have now been taken (it's now 3pm) - since emergencies happen 24 hours a day, surely appointments need to be available 24 hours a day.
Is A&E the only real option if you need emergency treatment? And will you get emergency dental treatment if you go to A&E?

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chismil82 said on 07 December 2012

Absolutely disgusted by the response I have had this morning. I have an extremely swollen face which is worsening by the minute and I am being refused an emergency appointment with a dentist because I live under a different postcode! I live in Berkshire and work in Surrey, I am in severe agony and as previously stated a continually swelling face and I can not be seen because I am not at home but at work. I think this is a disgrace! What if I lived in Scotland and was in Surrey for business, you expect me to fly back to Scotland to see someone? I have to travel 2 hours to get home then wait to be seen where as I should be seen within the hour at a dentist local to my location at the time, not based on where I currently reside. On a brighter note, although it lead to the emergency booking team telling me to simply 'deal with it', the triage nurses which I spoke to on the phone and the initial help line were absolutely fantastic. Helpful, quick and great advice. Now due to the incompetence of the emergency team I am about to go and waste the valuable time of A&E staff as I am hugely concerned and refuse to wait till I can get home to have this issue dealt with.

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sanvil said on 19 April 2012

My daughter had a tooth removed at an emergency dentist as she was not registered with a dentist. She was in terrible pain and her cheek was very swollen the next day. She phoned them and eventually agreed to see her after refusing initially. Now, 2 days later she is in terrible pain again and they have refused to see her. Her GP has said they must continue with aftercare but what does she do as they are refusing?

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Page last reviewed: 04/08/2014

Next review due: 04/12/2014

This section is undergoing a review. NHS Choices is working together with NHS England and Healthwatch, incorporating patient feedback made to all parties.


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