Dental Health Problems

Dental conditions and infections and treatment in Primary Care

GPs and primary care clinicians are not trained in the treatment of dental infections.

NHS dental care is available in an emergency if it is clinically necessary, whether or not you have a regular dentist.

Emergency dentist can be accessed by calling:

  • Your usual dentist if you are registered with one
  • If not registered then 111

Please see Emergency NHS Dental Charges for the cost of this treatment

Dental Health Problems

Bristol Dental Hospital has an emergency service for patients who do not have a regular dentist. It is available M-F from 10am. No referral is needed unless they have a regular dentist in which case they need a referral from their dentist.

The Emergency Dental Service for children provides care for children with complex dental trauma, facial swelling associated with dental infection, uncontrolled bleeding following extractions or trauma. 9am-4.30pm M-F.

For routine dental treatment, including check-ups, fillings, oral hygiene advice, ring 0117 342 9792 to make an appointment at the South Bristol Community Hospital.


The FGDP has guidelines on the management of dental conditions

Acute dento-alveolar infections.
Most infected swellings coming from the teeth can be managed by removing the source. This is provided by a general dentist.

Antibiotics are not indicated for most dental infections including pericoronitis (infection of the wisdom teeth)
They are only used if there is an elevated temperature along with systemic illness and evidence of spread of the infection to the lymph glands. In these rare situations amoxicillin 500mg three times daily for up to 5 days or metronidazole 400mg for 2-5 days can be used.

Salt ½ tsp salt dissolved in glass of warm water
Chlorhexidine (not within 30min of toothpaste) 5ml diluted in 10ml water – rinse mouth for 1 min 5d then spit out.

Pain management can be achieved with aspirin 300mg to 900mg every 4 to 6 hours when necessary (not recommended in children under 16 years of age or those at risk of bleeding or stomach ulceration) or short term ibuprofen 400 to 600mg three times daily in adults provided there are no contraindications to the use of this.