Lockdown dental emergency or urgent care FAQs

27th March 2020 | Posted by: Vanessa Giraud

To help reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection, the government has suspended routine dental treatment and emergency dental care at your local dentist until further notice. Our intention here is to clarify how families can manage, during lockdown, emergency and urgent dental care.

woman in pink top has lockdown dental mergency

Can I take painkillers?

During the coronavirus pandemic, current thinking advises against the non-prescribed use of anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen, as it may suppress the immune system. If possible, use the correct dosage of paracetamol instead. Whichever pain medication you take, do not exceed the recommended dose.


Is my dental problem an emergency?

Of the three dental treatment categories (emergency, urgent and routine) a patient with an emergency should try to see a clinician within an hour, in an emergency care facility. Most cases that require emergency treatment result from trauma to the face or mouth. Some are post-surgical.

Emergency conditions are:

It is an emergency. What do I do?

During lockdown, emergency dental care is provided by the NHS and facilities that have been designated to provide care during this time. If you think the condition is life-threatening call the emergency services. Otherwise use the NHS 111 online service for advice and instruction. If that is not possible, then call 111.

In addition, dental practices and GP surgeries use answerphone messages to provide information outside working hours that can help you find appropriate care.


Is my problem urgent?

Patients with a condition categorised as urgent need to seek advice for self-help or treatment within 24 hours, whenever possible.

Urgent conditions are:

It is urgent. What do I do?

During lockdown emergency care from your usual dentist is not permitted. If you call there will either be someone to offer advice or direction, or an answer phone message. This is particularly useful if you are on a payment plan at your dentist that includes appropriate emergency cover.


Is my problem routine?

While routine care is required to treat a problem, the need is not so pressing. The patient can manage until s/he can attend an appointment with a qualified clinician. Under usual circumstances, patients are advised to contact their dentist and book an appointment as soon as possible.

However, during this unusual time, with regular dental care suspended, and medical facilities stretched, patients may have to do more to manage the condition themselves, with remote advice only, and cope for a longer period of time too.

Please remember, though, to be very careful with online remedies and non-prescription drugs. It’s important not to damage your teeth, mouth or your general health further.

Routine conditions are:

Routine dental problems include the following conditions. It is necessary, although not urgent, to seek advice from a health professional who can assess your case. During this time, advice will usually begin with self-help measures, and a recommendation to access appropriate restorative treatment when feasible.

It is routine. What do I do?

During this time while we’re staying at home, advice during lockdown for dental problems is available by calling most dentists. A clinician or qualified health professional will be available during working hours to give you advice on how to manage your condition until your dental practice opens again.

How can I manage my toothache?

Most routine problems can be helped by one or several of the following:

Can my dentist help?

During the lockdown dental practices offer emergency advice remotely. Therefore we can answer your calls, emails and online enquiries. Our aim is to offer you advice to help you manage conditions that are routine or direct you to an emergency facility as needed in your local area.

For your convenience, here is a list of previous articles written about common problems people ask about. They share advice on preventing, managing and resolving dental problems.

People also ask:

By the way:

Modern dentistry focuses on preventive care. Once you’re able to visit your local dentist again, then please ask us more about how we can help you to achieve your optimum oral health! We’re here to help. We’re just sorry that for now it has to be remote.

POSTED IN: Emergency


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SpaDental practices are open for remote emergency consultation only

Under instruction from NHS England:

  • All routine, non-urgent dental care is suspended.
  • We offer remote urgent care during work hours. Contact us by phone, email or the link below. A clinician is on hand to advise and recommend temporary solutions.
  • Patients with severe symptoms will be referred to a local urgent dental care facility.

Access our remote urgent care:

Patients with booked appointments: please make sure your contact information is current as we will reschedule.

NHS England implements the above restrictions to protect patients and clinicians. Please stay at home.

This note was updated on 26th March 2020