Lockdown has posed plenty of challenges for us all, but with non-emergency dental treatment postponed for the foreseeable future and many practices staying safe by only operating phone and video consultations, many of us are looking for ways to treat common issues like tooth ache, mouth pain and wisdom teeth flare-ups at home.
We asked Sunny Sihra, Dentist and Owner of the Simply Teeth clinic, for his top tips.
If you have a dental emergency then the British Dental Association recommends getting in touch with your dentist practice by phone for advice.
How to treat mouth pain at home
'For mouth pain relief I would advise taking paracetamol as required, this will be an effective first step in managing any pain.
'Anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen, may help reduce sensitivity from the teeth, while combining both paracetamol and ibuprofen should be effective in relieving general mouth soreness and pain.
'There is no overriding evidence that shows ibuprofen can make coronavirus worse so if you do not have any symptoms of Covid-19 you can continue taking them.'
How to treat tooth ache at home
'If your tooth is becoming sensitive to hot or cold things such as hot tea or ice-cream, this could be a sign of decay and antibiotics will not be effective in helping this due to tooth pain being quite severe. However, there are a few at home things you can do which should help to manage pain until you can see a dentist.
'You should be ensuring that you clean your teeth thoroughly twice a day with fluoride toothpaste as well as reducing your sugar intake as this will help the decaying tooth get worse.
'If you can see that you have a hole in your tooth, or it has cracked and is really sensitive, you may be able to purchase a temporary filling material which can be placed into the space which should reduce symptoms. These can be found online or in pharmacies.
'Toothpaste which aims to reduce sensitivity is also advised. Sensodyne Repair and Protect and Pro Enamel are good options to try for reducing sensitivity. You can also rub these types of fluorides directly on the area that is sensitive and leave on, which should work to reduce symptoms for a short period. Try this before you go to bed to ease symptoms. Anaesthetic gel can also help with easing pain. Rinsing the mouth with cold water may also help in reducing pain.'
How to treat mouth ulcers
'Although they are painful when they occur, mouth ulcers usually do not stay for longer than a week. So as long as you can manage symptoms you should find that they go away after 7-10 days.
'There are however a few things from home you can do to reduce this time and also manage the pain; try warm salty water mouthwashes and ensure you are keeping your mouth clean by brushing teeth twice a day and using mouthwash. Try a soft diet which should help to reduce pain from biting, take pain killers and use Corsodyl mouthwash and Bonjela gel.'
How to treat wisdom teeth flare-ups at home
'The pain associated with wisdom teeth coming through is usually due to inflammation from the gum, which is often increased when you are chewing or biting food so adopting a soft food diet should help reduce the pain until you can see a dentist.
'Most wisdom tooth flare ups can be managed at home with good care. Symptoms should settle after a few days.
'It is imperative to ensure you are still adopting a good hygiene routine even if you are suffering with pain, as this will ensure your teeth and gums remain healthy whilst the new teeth are pushing through.
Try salty mouthwashes which should help to ease pain, also Corsodyl mouthwash will help to keep the mouth area clean and healthy whilst reducing pain. If you are finding that you are having difficulty swallowing because of the inflammation, then I would advise calling your dentist for advice. You may need antibiotics if an infection is spreading.'
How to treat bleeding gums at home
'Bleeding gums is not necessarily classed as a dental emergency as they do not incur terrible pain or inability to get on with day to day things. However, it is usually a sign of gum disease and will not subside until your brushing is improved.
I would advise if you are seeing blood when brushing to ensure you up your daily brushing to two minutes each time and pay particular attention to those areas that are bleeding. You should also be flossing every day to keep gums clean and healthy.
If your gums are really painful and are looking bright red you should still be ensuring you keep them clean by continuing to brush them. You may take painkillers to ease any symptoms and use mouthwashes which are developed to keep gums healthy such as Corsodyl.'
How to treat a chipped or cracked tooth at home
'A chipped tooth usually isn’t something to worry about too much. If part of it has chipped away but you are not in pain, and it’s just an aesthetic issue, then I would recommend booking an appointment with your dentist for once lockdown is eased to fix the tooth.
'If your tooth is cracked however, this is more worrying as it may have cracked in two pieces and may need emergency extraction. I would advise phoning your dentist first for advice and, if no luck with them, then call 111 to see if you can get an emergency appointment somewhere to have it extracted.'
How to treat a broken filling or fallen crown at home
'If you have a lost or broken filling or crown then I would advise you buy a temporary dental kit online or from your local pharmacy to fill the hole or gap temporarily until you see your dentist.
'The cement in these kits should work on both a loose crown and a broke filling. But ensure you see your dentist as soon as you are allowed to get this remedied.'
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