Dental problems – emergency care

If you’ve experienced a dental emergency and it’s outside of clinic hours the best thing to do is to contact a dental hospital. The Royal Melbourne Dental Hospital provide emergency treatment and advice 24/7. Failing that, you can contact the emergency department of any general hospital. The more prompt you seek dental treatment/advice in an emergency, often the better the outcome of treatment will be. 

The most common dental emergencies are:

  • Pain
  • Trauma
  • Loss of tooth
  • Swollen gums/face
  • Chipped tooth or filling 

While it is still important to seek medical attention for all dental emergencies, here are some tips on what to do for specific cases:


  • If you are experiencing dental pain in a tooth or multiple teeth, book an appointment to see your general dentist 
  • Mention to the receptionist that you are experiencing pain and your appointment will be prioritised
  • To manage the pain in the meantime take ibuprofen or paracetamol 
  • If the pain is unbearable contact a dental emergency hospital to be seen immediately 

Trauma/Loss of tooth: 

  • Try to find/preserve the tooth that has been lost 
  • Store tooth in saline or milk, or moisten with saliva and wrap in cling film
  • See dentist immediately, the best outcome when losing an adult tooth is to have it placed within the hour so that it can reattach easier
  • Only adult teeth are re-implanted not children’s baby-teeth 

Swollen gums/face

  • Contact dentist or dental hospital immediately if experiencing a swollen gum/face due to an unhealthy tooth or teeth
  • Swollen gums can be a result from gum infection which can lead to trouble breathing and blood infections if not treated quickly 

Chipped tooth or filling

  • Book an appointment with a dentist to see what kind of treatment is needed
  • Try to find and preserve the chipped bit
  • If it is a tooth preserve in saline or milk
  • If it is a synthetic material (e.g. crown or filling) wrap in cling film and bring with you to appointment