Making sure patients know where to turn in the event of a dental emergency is part of this year’s National Smile Month.
As part of this year’s campaign NHS 24 is promoting its service, which may be less well known than other out-of-hours facilities.
Organised by the Oral Health Foundation and now in its 40th year, National Smile Month runs from May 16 to June 16 and encourages people of all ages to practice good oral health.
This includes brushing teeth last thing at night and on at least one other time during the day, cutting down on sugary drinks, making sure they are registered with a dentist and going for regular check-ups.
NHS 24 has a team of trained Dental Nurse Advisors on hand to provide support during the out-of-hours period, as part of the Scottish Emergency Dental Service.
For emergencies at other times, help is provided by local health boards and NHS 24 has a list of all the services in the ‘Find Local services’ section of its website at www.nhs24.com/findlocal/emergency-dental-care/
Romy Slater, senior dental nurse, said people might need emergency dental care for a variety of reasons.
She continued: “We get lots of calls about lost or fractured fillings and crowns, post extraction pain and general dental trauma. In the summer months, we get calls about accidents such as children falling off bikes.
“All patients are triaged by a dental nurse and then directed to the appropriate dental service whether it is a routine appointment, urgent or emergency care.
“Of course some of these problems cannot be helped, accidents will happen, but there is plenty you can do to reduce your risk of a filling or extraction.
“By taking a few simple steps, you can help protect you and your family’s oral health. For advice and help with brushing children’s teeth, see the Child Smile website and encourage children to get into a good dental routine.”
She added that if people look after their teeth and have good oral hygiene, they hopefully will not encounter any problems.”
She concluded: “It is very important to be registered with a dentist and go for regular checkups. However, if you experience any bleeding, trauma or swelling, contact 111 for expert dental advice.”
Further information can be found on the Oral Health Foundation’s website at www.smilemonth.org