Emergency advice

How to help toothache:

  1. Advise the recommended dose of paracetamol and get them something cold to hold against the area.
  2. Advise the casualty to go to the dentist.

What is toothache?

A toothache can occur when pulp inside a tooth becomes inflamed due to decay. If left untreated, it can become infected and lead to an abscess. An abscess is a collection of pus.

Signs and symptoms

Look for:

  • swelling around the tooth or jaw
  • throbbing pain.

What to do

  1. If someone is suffering from toothache, advise them to take the recommended dose of paracetamol or ibuprofen for their age - children under 16 should not take aspirin.

  2. Apply an ice pack to the affected area.

  3. Avoid chewing with the affected tooth. Advise the casualty to eat soft foods, such as yoghurt.

  4. Advise the casualty to seek a dentist if:

    • the pain lasts more than 2 days
    • the pain does not go away with painkillers
    • the cheek or jaw is swollen
    • there is a high temperature, pain on biting, red gums or a broken tooth.

    Do not go to a GP as they are unable to treat dental problems.

    Go to A&E if:

    • the area around the eyes or neck is swollen
    • swelling in the mouth or neck is making it difficult to breathe, swallow or speak.


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