Emergency Dental Service

Patients with a dental emergency (pain and swelling) can contact the emergency dental service via the dental helpline on 03330 063 300 and they will arrange an urgent care appointment for you wherever possible within Devon.

How do I get an emergency appointment?
If you require urgent dental treatment the Emergency Dental Helpline run by Access Dental will be able to help you.

Emergency appointments can only be offered on the day or appointments can be booked for the following day.

Please call: 03330 063 300

Not registered with a general dental practice

If you have a dental emergency and are NOT registered with a dentist or you are away from home, please call the above number.

For all other medical concerns out of hours please call: 111.

Registered with a general dental practice

If you are registered with a dentist then please call your own dental practice, they have a duty of care to provide you with treatment and advice.

Outside of practice opening hours or when your usual dental practice is closed, please call 03330 063 300.

Registered or currently receiving a course of treatment at one of the Salaried Dental Service clinics

If you, or the person you are calling about, are a registered patient at the Salaried Dental Service and you have a dental emergency outside of opening hours please call the emergency dental helpline: 03330 063 300

Will I have to pay?

There is a charge for NHS dental treatment. These usually change every new financial year. Please follow the NHS dental charges link find out more.

If you are in receipt of benefits some may entitle you to free NHS dental treatment please follow the link to find out more about help with dental costs.

If you falsely claim for free NHS dental you may be liable to a £100 fine in addition to the standard NHS dental treatment charges. You will be given a form to sign when you arrive at reception, please read it carefully before you sign to avoid a fine.

What to bring?

It would be useful if you could bring with you a list of medicines you are taking that have been prescribed by your GP as these can have an impact on some of the routine treatments we provide within dentistry.

If you are in receipt of any benefit that entitles you to free NHS dental treatment then please bring with you your exemption certificate as proof.

What types of treatment can I expect to receive at my emergency appointment?

The main purpose of an emergency appointment is to get you out of pain and/or relieve swelling. The most likely types of treatment are:

  • Extraction
  • Temporary filling or dressing
  • Nerve extirpation (removing the nerve from a tooth, this is the very first stage of root canal treatment)
  • Emergency treatment following dental trauma
  • Issue of a prescription if you present with either a raised temperature or swelling

Our appointment slots are limited so if you feel you can wait to see your own dentist then please do so as this could free up an appointment for someone who really needs it and who doesn’t necessarily have a dentist.

I need to register with an NHS dentist but don’t know how?

To get registered with an NHS dentist at a dental surgery convenient to you, contact the Access Dental Helpline. One of the advisors will be able to give instant advice over the phone. The helpline provides information on all dental enquiries for patients residing in or visiting the Devon area. You will need to check that the dentist you choose registers NHS patients. To find out more contact the Access Dental helpline:

Telephone: 03330 063 300
Email: accessdentalhelpline@nhs.net
Website: Access Dental

The helpline is available on weekdays between 8am and 6pm. During evenings and weekends, there is an answer phone message directing patients to out-of-hours dental cover, should you require emergency treatment.

To find your nearest NHS dental practice, please visit NHS Choices at

Advice on managing dental pain

  • Avoid doing anything that brings on or worsens the pain. For example, some toothache can be made worse by hot or cold foods or cold air.
  • Holding cooled water or crushed ice around the tooth can help certain types of dental pain.
  • Sever pain from the mouth or teeth sometimes feels worse when lying flat, therefore, try lying propped up as this might ease the pain.
  • Use painkillers that have successfully provided pain relief for you in the past without adverse effects.
  • When taking painkillers, always follow the directions on the packet for advice in precautions in some medical conditions. Ask your pharmacist or doctor for more information.
  • Avoid taking aspirin as a painkiller if there is bleeding.
  • Current national guidance suggests that ibuprofen should be avoided if you are known or suspected to have the COVID-19 virus.
  • If your pain gets worse, you can seek dental advice via the Dental Helpline:

Telephone: 03330 063 300
Email: accessdentalhelpline@nhs.net
Website: Access Dental

Advice on managing post-extraction bleeding

If you have had a tooth taken out during the past week and still have bleeding from the extraction area:

  • Seeing some blood in your saliva after a dental extraction is normal. You only need take further action if the extraction area is still noticeably bleeding.
  • Make a small pad with a clean cotton handkerchief or piece of kitchen towel, and dampen it slightly with water.
  • Rinse the mouth once only with warm (not hot) water to get rid of the blood. Place the damp pad over the socket area and bite firmly.
  • If there are no opposing teeth, hold the pad firmly on the socket using clean fingers. Maintain this while sitting upright for 20 minutes and then check. LEAVE FIRM PRESSURE ON THE SOCKET IN THIS TIME – DO NOT KEEP CHECKING IT.
  • Sit quietly and relax do not engage in conversation whilst putting pressure on the socket.
  • Do not disturb the blood clot in the socket.
  • If these measures prove inadequate, seek dental advice via the Dental Helpline.
  • If you are taking anticoagulant medication, do not stop your medication without medical advice.

Advice on managing dental trauma

Dental Trauma Guide www.dentaltraumaguide.org – this is evidence based information and we would follow it at the Salaried Dental Service when dealing with a trauma case. We recommend this source of information and advice for general dental practitioners to follow enabling them to provide the best treatment and care for patients. There is some free information on the site however for full access membership is required.

How to take care of a dental trauma at the scene of an accident. This app shows what you should do. ToothSOS.

Last updated: March 31, 2021