Dental Trauma

Know where to go

Most dental trauma can be treated at your local dentist. If out of surgery hours call 111.

For severe injuries call 999 or go to A&E Department at the Hospital.


Improve your outcome

Knowing what to do immediately after an injury to the head, neck, face and mouth can make all the difference in the healing process and help to Save Smiles.

Hospital Care Needed

Head Trauma

Call 999 if the person has hit their head and has:

  • Been knocked out and has not woken up.
  • Difficulty staying awake or keeping their eyes open.
  • A fit (seizure).
  • Problems with their vision.
  • Clear fluid coming from their ears and nose.
  • Bleeding from their eyes and bruising behind their ears.
  • Numbness or weakness in parts of their body.
  • Problems with walking, balance, understanding, speaking or writing.
  • Hit their head in a serious accident like, such as a car crash.

Jaw Fracture

  • If possible, gently align jaws.
  • DO not use force.
  • Immobilize jaw by wrapping a bandage under the chin and tying securely over the head.
  • Apply and ice to control swelling and bleeding.
    Seek emergency care at hospital A&E Department.

Head and Neck injuries

Call 999 immediately

  • DO not move the person without professional assistance.
  • Immobilize the head by placing towels on both sides if possible- DO not move the neck.
  • Keep the person warm to avoid the risk of shock.
  • If unconscious, DO not tilt the head back to open the airway. Use your fingers to gently grasp the jaw and lift the jaw forward.

See Medical Doctor/Hospital

Nose Fracture

Treat nosebleeds by sitting or standing upright and leaning forward – if possible, pinch your nose above the nostrils for up to 15 minutes.

  • Hold an ice pack (or bag of frozen peas) wrapped in a tea towel on your nose for up to 15 minutes, several times a day
    take paracetamol to relieve pain if you can take it.
  • DO not try to straighten your nose yourself if it’s changed shape – go to a minor injuries unit or see a GP instead.
  • Avoid wearing glasses until the swelling has gone down, unless you need them
  • DO not pick or blow your nose until it’s healed
  • Avoid strenuous exercise for the first 2 weeks
  • Avoid playing sports for at least 6 weeks if there’s a chance your face might be hit


Facial bleeding

  • Cover the wound with a gauze/cloth.
  • Apply pressure to control bleeding.
  • DO not remove soaked cloth.
  • Use additional cloth on top and apply pressure.
  • See your GP or hospital if sutures/ sedative dressing or further investigation is required are required.

Eye Injury

  • If you have any eye injury, contact your optician immediately, GP or go to an A&E department right away for advice.
  • Once you are in professional care, be sure to mention if you wear contact lenses, so you can be advised whether to leave them in or remove them.
  • Depending on the type of eye injury, they may want you to flush your eye with water or saline solution. E.g swelling, The best immediate treatment for this type of eye injury is an ice pack and keep eye closed while blinking often.
  • Treat all eye injuries as potential emergencies

See a Dentist

Dental Trauma

Dental trauma is injury to the mouth, including Jaw joint (TMJ), jawbones, tongue, lips, teeth and gums. Soft tissue injuries to the mouth and dental trauma are typically very painful and should receive prompt treatment. The most common dental trauma is a lost or broken tooth.

Urgent Trauma Care Centres at:
Gt Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Thorpe St. Andrew, Wymondham.
Courtesy of GM LDN

Lost Tooth

If you knock out a tooth, you should:

  • Hold the tooth by the crown (the white bit that sticks out of the gum- NEVER hold by the root)

  • Lick the tooth clean if it’s dirty, or rinse it in water. DO not rub.

  • Put it back into position (Adult teeth only); never try to re-insert a baby/ milk tooth

  • Bite on a handkerchief to hold the tooth in place.

  • Call your dentist as soon as possible (the sooner you can get to a dentist the more likely the tooth could potentially be saved) – If you can’t put the tooth back in position, put it in milk /saliva/ salt water and see a dentist straight away. DO not allow the tooth to dry out.

  • The sooner a knocked-out tooth is re-implanted, the more likely it will survive. Out of hours call 111/ go to Hospital A&E
  • Broken Tooth

    Superficial fracture means the fracture is confined only to the enamel, the hard outer covering of the crown of the tooth. This is usually not serious unless the fracture leaves the tooth with a sharp edge. Even then, the sharp edge can be filed down easily. This is not an emergency.

    Complicated fracture: If your tooth becomes sensitive to touch, heat or cold, the fracture may be more serious. It may have exposed the inner, more sensitive parts of the tooth such as the dentine and the pulp ( this will look like a pink/read area in the middle of the tooth). This is generally more urgent and painful.

    This can increase the risk of bacterial infections.

    Control any bleeding by applying pressure with clean gauze/cloth/tissue. Be aware that a piece of tooth may also be lodged in the area. If pain is severe seek immediate care from your dentist during surgery hours or 111 after hours.

    Tooth Displacement

    A more severe blow may displace the tooth so that it may push the tooth deeper or sideways into the socket. If the blow is very severe, it may knock the tooth to fracture itself, it’s root and the supporting bone.

    In most cases of tooth displacement, the nerve, lymph and blood vessels supplying the pulp are damaged and the tooth will require a root canal treatment.

    A splint may also be required. Teeth that are too badly damaged may be lost.

    To stop bleeding, apply pressure to the area with some clean gauze if available, if tooth is very mobile, gently try to re position it back in place and keep it there. If tooth will not move with gentle force (if it feels stuck) leave it alone.

    This needs immediate attention from a dentist.

    Courtesy DTUK


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  • common questions

    If you’ve put your tooth back in yourself, the dentist will check that it’s in the correct position by having a look and taking an x-ray. They’ll splint it to the teeth either side to hold it in position for two weeks. Splinting is a technique that temporarily attaches the tooth to keep it in place. If you’ve put your tooth in milk and gone straight to the dentist, the dentist will numb the affected area and reposition the tooth. They’ll check that it’s in the correct position by taking an X-ray before splinting it to the teeth either side for two weeks
    If you can’t find your tooth, the space could be filled with one of the following: a denture, bridge, dental implant. Some treatments can be provided under the NHS but not all. A denture, bridge or implant will improve the appearance of your smile and restore your confidence. Not everyone needs to have missing teeth replaced – some people don’t mind having a gap. Speak to your dentist about your options, to help you decide what you would like.

    Several studies have recommended that patients involved in sports should have their mouth guards changed after a period of time generally
    one-two years depending on their use.

    Children however should have theirs changed annually due to changes in growth of the jaws and
    teeth and parents should be informed of this prior to any fabrication of a mouthguard.

    In the UK the NHS does not cover the fee for mouth guards for any patients so this is provided on a private fee basis. This is an important aid for prevention of trauma and its sequelae.
    (GM LDN)


    1. Greater Manchester Local Dental Network- Saving Smiles  practitioners ToolKit, Dental Trauma Guide.
    2. Dental Trauma UK
    3. FGDP Record keeping in special circumstances- Dental Trauma
    4. SCDEP Management of Acute Dental Problems. Guidance for Healthcare Professionals.