Covid19 / Coronavirus information
Managing Toothache During the Coronavirus Outbreak
In light of recent advice, from both the Government and our Chief Dental Officer, we have reluctantly been forced to close the practice. We will still be available for advice over the telephone between the hours of 9:00am and 5:00pm and would advise you still call us on the practice number so that we can assess and advise you where to go.
Local Urgent Dental Care Hubs are being set up in order to treat patients with a dental emergency and we will be able to direct you to the appropriate service. We will be on hand to answer any questions and will endeavour to reopen the practice as soon as restrictions are lifted.
In the meantime, there are a few things you can try, in order to manage the problem.
However, if you have a facial swelling or difficulty swallowing, this requires urgent professional attention, so if you cannot get hold of us, please ring 111 or go to A&E.
Pain from Teeth
Decay is a bacterial breakdown in a tooth which causes a cavity. If the bacteria gets close to the nerve in a tooth, it can cause the tooth to be acutely sensitive. As the cavity causing inflammation of the nerve gets worse, the ligaments holding the tooth in position can also get inflamed which causes pain on biting.
If the tooth is acutely sensitive to temperature, antibiotics will not fix this. The decay needs to be removed to allow the tooth to heal. If the bacteria has caused irreversible damage to the nerve in the tooth then a root filling is required or the tooth needs to be extracted.
- If there is a cavity in the tooth, a temporary filling material can be packed into this space. These temporary filling kits are widely available from supermarkets or pharmacies.
- Anti-inflammatory tablets (NSAIDs) can reduce the sensitivity. A combination of ibuprofen and paracetamol has been found to be beneficial if you can take them both – however, there are some possible reports that Ibuprofen may increase the symptoms of COVID-19 so Paracetamol alone is probably best if you have symptoms. Make sure you don’t exceed the recommended dosage!
- Don’t stop taking the anti-inflammatory when the pain stops (or it will come back again!) You are wanting to reduce the inflammation of the nerve in the tooth which is causing the pain.
- Desensitising toothpaste such as Sensodyne repair and protect or Colgate sensitive pro relief can help.
- Anaesthetic gel such as Orajel applied to the area can help to numb the pain.
- Keep your head elevated at night-time. When you lie down to go to sleep, the pressure in the tooth can increase which increases pain. An extra pillow at night-time can help
- Keep the area cold - Reducing blood flow to an area will reduce the inflammation and pain. Do not apply ice directly to a tooth as this can increase the pain as toothaches are quite sensitive to hot and cold temperatures.
Dental Infection - A swelling next to the tooth or pus discharging
- Rinse your mouth with warm salty mouthwash to try and draw out the infection into your mouth. Dissolve a spoonful of sea salt in warm water and rinse around your mouth/ hold it in your mouth next to the infected area. Repeat several times until the pain subsides.
- Never put heat externally on your face as this can draw the infection into the tissues in your face causing external swellings.
Pain from gums
- If there is bacteria or food debris trapped between the gum and the tooth, this can cause pain.
- Thoroughly clean the area with floss or a tepe interdental brush. You could put corsodyl gel onto the brush to help clean the area.
- Rinsing thoroughly with Corsodyl mouthwash can help (but Corsodyl will stain your teeth so we don’t recommend this for long term use).
Pain from Ulcers
Mouth ulcers can be a sign of underlying medical conditions such as iron deficiency so shouldn’t be ignored. Any mouth ulcer which doesn’t heal in two weeks should be checked by a dentist.
- To reduce the discomfort, you can try a topical anaesthetic gel such as Orajel
- To help with healing of ulcers, Gengigel can be effective as well as soothing the pain.
- You can also rinse with warm salty mouthwash
Pain from wisdom teeth
Wisdom tooth pain is usually due to inflammation of the gum over the erupting tooth, which can be worsened by trauma from biting.
Most flare ups can be managed with good home care and should settle in a few days to a week using the following methods:
- Excellent cleaning - even if it is painful to brush, the area must be kept clean to encourage healing
- Corsodyl mouthwash – avoid using for more than a week or two as may cause staining
- Soft diet – Soft food will reduce trauma from biting. - Painkillers – Ibuprofen or paracetamol following packet instructions. Again, Ibuprofen may increase the symptoms of COVID-19 so Paracetamol alone is probably best if you have symptoms. Make sure you don’t exceed the recommended dosage!
- Warm salty mouthwash
If a tooth or filling has chipped or cracked, this can cause sensitivity from the tooth being exposed or pain to your tongue from sharp edges.
The sensitivity can be reduced by rubbing a de-sensitising toothpaste onto the tooth or placing a temporary filling material over the broken corner until a more definitive filling can be placed.
Our thoughts go out to all affected by this pandemic. We hope it is not too long before we will be able to return to the Practice and continue to do what we love – looking after our patients. It is
times like these that really make you evaluate how lucky we are to have such an incredible team, amazing patients and a lovely place to work.
Ben and Danni Middleton