Advice on managing dental problems at home
To help manage tooth ache at home, there are a few things that you can do to help reduce the pain until we can see you.
If a tooth has been chipped and is sensitive and/or sharp then applying a sensitive toothpaste or using an emergency repair/filling kit is advised. These can be found at most pharmacies, or online.
Knocked out teeth
If a baby tooth has been knocked out, do not attempt to put it back in. Clean the area, bite on a clean tissue or towel for 20 minutes if it is bleeding, give the child age appropriate pain relief medicine and keep to a soft diet until the area has healed.
If an adult tooth has been knocked out
pick up the tooth by its crown (the white part), avoid touching the root if possible
if the tooth is dirty, wash it briefly (10 seconds) under cold running water, or if running water not available, then you can lick the tooth to clean.
try to stick the tooth back in its socket and then bite gently on a handkerchief to hold it in position
if this is not feasible, store the tooth for transportation to the designated urgent dental care centre in milk (not water). Alternatively hold the tooth in the mouth, keeping it between teeth and the inside of the cheek.
Call the practice and we can advise on the next steps to take.
A good way to remember the basic steps is: PICK IT, LICK IT, STICK IT.
If the tooth is extremely sensitive to hot or cold, this may be a sign of decay and antibiotics will not help. These at-home measures may help with pain management until we can see you for treatment.
Good cleaning with fluoride toothpaste and reducing sugar intake will help stop decay from getting any worse.
If there is a hole in the tooth, or the tooth has cracked and is now sensitive, a temporary filling material can be packed into the space to help make symptoms more manageable. These are widely available both online and from supermarkets or pharmacies.
Toothpaste aimed at reducing tooth sensitivity, such as Sensodyne Repair and Protect, may also help reduce pain. Rub the toothpaste directly on to the affected tooth and do not rinse. Anaesthetic gel such as Orajel can also help ease the pain.
If the pain is severe, rinsing with cold water can sometimes ease the pain whilst you are waiting to be assessed by a dentist.
If the pain is worse when lying down in bed, try using an extra pillow or two to keep your head raised. This can help to reduce throbbing pain.
For pain relief we advise paracetamol in the first instance. This can be combined with anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen to help reduce pain and sensitivity from teeth. Only take these types of pain relief if they are suitable for you.
There is no strong evidence that drugs like ibuprofen can make COVID-19 (coronavirus) worse.
If you have no coronavirus symptoms carry on taking ibuprofen as normal.
All painkillers should be taken in accordance with instructions on the packet.
Wisdom tooth pain
Wisdom tooth pain is usually due to inflammation of the gum over the tooth, which is often made worse by the trauma of biting, so a soft food diet will help with the pain.
Most flare-ups can be managed with good home care and should settle within in a few days. It is important that you stick to a very thorough cleaning routine even if it is painful to brush the affected area because this process will encourage healing.
Using Corsodyl mouthwash will help with alleviating pain but avoid using for longer than a week as it might cause staining of the teeth. Warm salt water mouthwashes can also help with alleviating pain.
If you have difficulty swallowing, swelling in your face or cheek or difficulty opening your mouth, please call us for advice - 01872 261999. You may need antibiotics if an infection is spreading.
Mouth ulcers can be very painful, but most mouth ulcers will heal within 7-10 days. If present for more than 3 weeks please call us for advice if required; otherwise follow the home measures described below:
warm salty mouth washes
excellent cleaning (even if it is painful to brush, the area must be kept clean to encourage healing and prevent more ulcers forming. However, be gentle and do use a soft/baby toothbrush)
Difflam (Benzydamine) Spray or mouthwash as needed.
soft diet (soft food will reduce trauma form biting)
painkillers (paracetamol or ibuprofen following instructions)
Denture adhesives like Poligrip or Fixodent may help secure a loose denture. Any sharp edges can be removed using an emery board. Remove dentures when possible to allow the ulcer to heal.
Bleeding or pain after tooth extraction
Continue to take regular painkillers as required for several days after an extraction. It is not uncommon for the pain to be at its worst 3-4 days after extraction.
We cannot provide antibiotics for pain after extractions unless an infection is present. If this is the case we will need to carry out a telephone assessment first.
Some light oozing of blood is normal after a tooth extraction. If the socket is bleeding freely, bite hard on gauze or a clean tissue for 20 minutes. If bleeding still doesn’t stop, please call us for advice
If you smoke or rinse too soon after an extraction you risk a dry socket. This can be very painful and regular painkillers are unlikely to be effective. Please call us for advice
Bleeding from gums is not a dental emergency. Bleeding gums are usually due to gum inflammation or gum disease and will not stop until your brushing technique, and oral hygiene improves. Brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste for 2 minutes, paying particular attention to the areas that are bleeding. Its also really important to use floss or interdental brushes (TePe brushes) to clean between your teeth every day.
If your gums are extremely painful and look infected (bright red with a grey/green areas) it is still important to try your best to brush them even though they will bleed. You might want to use a soft bristly brush to make it more comfortable. Take painkillers as required and use mouthwashes such as Corsodyl or Peroxyl which can be purchased from most pharmacies.
Clean the crown, to remove any debris. If the crown is mostly hollow, and the tooth that the crown has come from is still present you can attempt to re-cement it at home if you feel confident to do so.
Remove any debris from the crown; you can use something like the tip of a paperclip to scrape the old cement away. Clean your tooth thoroughly; all debris should be removed from the crown and the tooth for the crown to seat properly.
It is important to check the crown fits without cement. Check carefully that the bite feels normal. If the tooth feels proud, double check for debris in the crown or on the tooth. Never try to force a crown or post onto your tooth, this can cause the root to fracture. If you cannot get the crown to fit, keep the tooth as clean as possible and call us for further advice.
Crowns should be re-fixed back onto the tooth using a dental cement like Recapit which is available from pharmacies or online.. DO NOT USE SUPERGLUE to fit your crown.
Once you have practiced placing the crown, dry the tooth and crown, mix the cement as instructed on the packet and fill the crown. Place the crown directly onto the tooth and bite firmly to press it into place.
You can use a toothpick, and floss between your teeth to remove any excess cement.