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Written by Healthwords's team of doctors and pharmacists based in UK | Updated: 26.01.2023 | 2 min read

Pain in or around your tooth can have multiple causes, from decay over time, to a slipped filling or ill-fitting brace, or you may have an abscess or a wisdom tooth coming through. Tooth pain can make it hard to think of anything else, but there are simple measures you can take to relieve the pain, and it may ease by itself.

If it’s still niggling after 2 days, or if you feel unwell with a fever, there’s a bad taste in your mouth, it’s painful to bite down, the gum looks red or with a lump and pus, and your cheek or jaw looks swollen, this is time to seek attention.

Who should I see? A doctor or a dentist?

Dentists are the health professionals to help, and your regular dentist should accommodate emergencies within their clinic. If it’s out of their working hours, their website or answer service will tell you how to find emergency help. NHS dentists are available, but there’s a possibility you may have to pay for treatment.

Unfortunately, your doctor cannot help with tooth and gum conditions, and they may feel unable to prescribe antibiotics for tooth problems – a dentist can prescribe these if they think necessary.

Is there any reason to go to the Emergency Department

Dentists are the tooth and gum experts. However, you should attend the Emergency Department urgently if a lump in your mouth is causing difficulty breathing, speaking, or swallowing, or if you have significant swelling around your eye or neck.

Am I fit for work if I have toothache

If pain is controlled and you feel well, there’s no reason to stay off work, but you should prioritise a dentist’s appointment if you think you need urgent attention.

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