Unfortunately, due to the latest Government advice and the CDO NHS Public Health England instructions all dental clinics in England have had to cease providing face to face treatments to patients from the 25th March in the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 virus. We will have to await the CDO NHS England instructions before we can resume dental treatments. Therefore, in the meantime, here are some useful tips to support you, if you’re experiencing any dental pain at home.
What do you need help with
The most common dental problem people typically face is toothache. If you’re experiencing dental pain, we recommend you follow this advice:
- Avoid extremes of temperature, such as hot drinks or very cold foods like ice cream
- Avoid sugary or acidic foods, especially sweets or fizzy drinks, even diet ones, as these can aggravate the pain
- Take over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol
- Use an over-the-counter anaesthetic gel, for example Orajel, which you can buy in a pharmacy, to help relieve the pain
- Continue to brush and floss your teeth as thoroughly as possible, and rub toothpaste directly onto the sore tooth or area
- Massage the gum around the tooth to help ease pain
- Use cloves or cotton wool to place clove oil over the painful tooth or area of the mouth. You can buy cloves in supermarkets
- Keep your head elevated at night. Lying down can increase blood pressure in the tooth and cause pain
- Keep the area cold by using a cool pack or frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel. Apply this to your cheek. Don’t apply ice directly to the tooth as this can increase pain and damage the tissues.
Wisdom tooth pain is another common dental problem which you can usually help relieve at home. We recommend you:
- Rinse your mouth with warm saltwater as often as you can
- Buy some mouthwash suitable for gum problems, such as Corsodyl or Peroxyl, from your local pharmacy if you can
- Take over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol to help ease the pain
- Continue to clean your wisdom teeth thoroughly, even if it’s painful to do so
- Keep the area cold by using a cool pack or frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel
If you have an extremely sensitive tooth and are in discomfort, again as with toothache, we would recommend that you avoid any foods which are either very hot or cold, like ice cream or hot drinks, as well as any foods which are acidic or sugary. These can aggravate sensitive teeth.
Continue to floss and brush your teeth as thoroughly as you can and rub sensitive toothpaste, such as Sensodyne or Colgate Prorelief, directly onto the affected area. You can use normal toothpaste if you don’t have a sensitive one.
Painful or bleeding gums isn’t a dental emergency and is usually caused by gum disease. It can be stopped by improving your overall oral health. Make sure you clean in between your teeth with floss or interdental brushes and follow up with a thorough toothbrush clean twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
If you’re experiencing a sharp pain when biting down, avoid hard foods such as nuts or sweets. You should also avoid foods which require a lot of chewing such as baguettes or tough meats. Try to use the other side of your mouth for chewing where you can.
Take over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol to help relieve the pain if you need to.
Sharp pain when biting down could be caused by tooth decay, a loose filling or a crack in your tooth. It might also mean there’s damage to the pulp tissue inside your tooth, which could require treatment, such as a root canal.
If you experience sharp pain when biting, you should book an appointment with your dentist when they’re reopen for routine dental care, so they can provide a long-term solution.
You should contact your dentist if you have any kind of facial swelling. If the swelling is minor, your dentist may be able to prescribe you antibiotics over the phone. You can also:
- Use a cold compress or frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel to bring down the swelling
- Rinse your mouth with warm saltwater repeatedly until the swelling comes down
If the above doesn’t bring down the swelling or it extends up to the eye, along your mouth, or down your neck, contact your dentist urgently.
Mouth ulcers can usually be treated at home and should heal after 10 days. If you have a mouth ulcer and want to relieve pain, you should:
- Clean the area with warm saltwater as much as possible
- Take over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol to relieve pain
- Use mouthwash, Corosdyl and Difflam are good examples, which you can buy from your local pharmacy, to help reduce the ulcer
- Use mouth ulcer relief gel such as Bonjela or Iglu, which you can buy from the supermarket or pharmacies
- Use cloves or cotton wool to apply clove oil to the ulcer, which can help with temporary pain relief
If the ulcer hasn’t healed after two weeks, it could be a sign of something more serious. Contact your local practice as soon as possible for further advice.
If you’ve recently had a dental extraction, it’s normal to experience some pain, especially in the three or four days. It’s vital to:
- Keep the area clean to speed up the healing process
- Follow the instructions given to you by your dentist or hospital following the extraction
- Use over-the-counter painkillers and Difflam mouthwash to ease pain
- Rinse your mouth with warm salty water once it’s safe to do so (follow the advice given to you post-extraction)
- Make sure you don’t smoke for at least 48 hours following an extraction
It’s also normal to experience some blood in your spit or oozing from the site of the extraction. If the socket is bleeding freely, bite down hard on a clean hankie or a gauze if you have one for 20 minutes. If the bleeding hasn’t stopped, call your local practice as soon as possible.