What an emergency dentist can do to save a tooth

Guy with missing front toothWhenever possible, when presented with an emergency situation, a dentist will do everything they can to save an affected tooth or teeth. It is generally best to keep as many of your natural teeth as possible, so if it is possible to salvage a tooth then an emergency dentist will do so.

Dental emergencies can be very painful and distressing, and it’s not uncommon to hear patients saying they would rather have the tooth extracted than put up with the pain any longer. However, tooth extraction is the very last option, and your dentist will only take a tooth out if all other options are exhausted.

Polwarth Dental Clinic in Edinburgh offers same-day emergency dentist appointments to both registered and unregistered patients. The aim is to get every patient out of pain for a maximum cost of £70 at this first appointment. Further sessions with the dentist may be needed to complete treatment.

Below are some common emergencies where teeth are at risk, and what your dentist can do:


When bacteria get inside our teeth, they cause infection. Even a tiny crack in a tooth is potentially enough to let bacteria enter the tooth, which is why even a slight dental injury should never be ignored.

The first sign of an infected tooth is usually pain, which can be gradual or sudden, and can rapidly become severe. Sometimes this pain is accompanied by a dental abscess – a painful swelling of pus around the bottom of the tooth.

Infected teeth require root canal treatment to put right. This involves carefully cleansing the tooth of all infection before filling it, and usually needs at least two appointments. Root canal treatment is necessary because without it the only option is extraction.

Knocked-out teeth

If you knock a tooth out, you can attempt to put it back in the socket yourself – be gentle, and be sure to only touch the crown. Never force it, but if you successfully bite down on a clean hankie or paper towel for 15-20 minutes, then visit your dentist urgently. Alternatively, bring the tooth to your appointment, covered in milk or your own saliva.

In some cases your dentist can place the tooth back in the socket, whilst in other cases a tooth replacement will be needed.