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Managing Toothache During Self Isolation

If you are self-isolating and unable to leave the house then the last thing you want is to develop toothache. The practice is open for emergencies but we recommend everyone, especially those over 70 or at increased risk of severe illness due to COVID-19, follow stringent social distancing measures. If you have symptoms of Coronavirus (follow this link to learn more about Coronavirus Symptoms) you should not attend the practice.

If you have any swelling affecting vision or breathing, preventing your mouth opening by more than two fingers width, or a trauma causing a loss of consciousness, double vision or vomiting attend Accident & Emergency immediately.

Symptoms that require Urgent Dental Treatment by the team at Carisbrooke include:

  • Facial swelling extending to the eye or neck
  • Bleeding following an extraction that does not stop after 20 minutes with solid pressure being applied with gauze/clean hankie.
  • Bleeding due to trauma
  • Broken tooth that is causing a lot of pain
  • Significant toothache preventing sleep, eating, swelling or a fever that cannot be managed with painkillers

If you feel your dental issue is urgent then please get in touch with us.

If you are not able to see us because your issue is not urgent, there are a few things you can try to manage the pain until you can. It is unclear at this point when normal service will resume, however if you have a swelling on your face or difficulty swallowing, this requires urgent professional attention, so don’t be afraid to contact us for advice.


Below is a range of common dental and oral complaints and simple steps you can take to help manage the pain until you are able to see us.

Pain from teeth

There can be many reasons for pain in your teeth, however a common cause can be decay of a tooth.

Decay is actually a bacterial infection of a tooth and if the bacteria gets close to the nerve in the tooth, it can cause the tooth to be acutely sensitive. As the infection grows it can cause inflammation of the nerve in the tooth and also the ligaments holding the tooth in position. This inflammation makes the tooth painful and especially painful when biting.

You may find that a tooth that is suffering with decay becomes sensitive to temperatures (either hot or cold). Unfortunately antibiotics will not remedy this situation. 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.

Obviously if you need to have decay removed, a root filling or a tooth extraction, these are tasks that will need to be undertaken by the team at Carisbrooke when possible. However there are steps you can take to help manage the pain.

  • If there is a cavity in the tooth a temporary filling material can be packed in to this space. These temporary filling kits are widely available from supermarkets or pharmacies. Please check with our staff before using this type of kit
  • Anti-inflammatory tablets (NSAIDs) can reduce the sensitivity. A combination of ibuprofen and paracetamol has been found to be beneficial. Please note you should avoid ibuprofen/nurofen if you  suffer from asthma, have a history of stomach ulcers or you already take Aspirin or have an allergy to Ibuprofen.  Also, there are some 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, and also 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. Again seek advice from our team if you are unsure of correct dosages and how long to take tablets for.
  • 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.
  • Clove Oil This essential oil can be found in health food stores and you can apply it onto the painful tooth with a cotton bud. This works well if there is an exposed nerve due to deep decay but for it to work, you need to place it onto the exposed nerve​
  • Keep your head elevated at night time When you lie down to go to sleep, the blood 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.

If there is an infection with swelling next to the tooth or pus discharging you might find that rinsing your mouth with warm salty mouthwash to try and draw out the infection into your mouth gives some comfort. 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 faceas this can draw the ​infection into the tissues in your face causing external swellings.

Pain from Gums

Often this is caused by bacteria or food debris trapped between the gum and the tooth. Some simple steps can be taken to help relive the pain.

  • Thoroughly clean the area by flossing or cleaning with a Tepe interdental brush​. You could put corsodyl gel onto the brush to help clean the area too.
  • Rinse thoroughly with Corsodyl mouthwash (Corsodyl is known to stain teeth so we dont recommend this for long term use, only for a few days)
  • If you have Clinisept+ mouthwash, use this rather than Corsodyl

Pain from Mouth 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 member of our team.

To reduce discomfort from an ulcer you can try a topical anaesthetic gel such as Orajel.

To help with healing of ulcers, Gengigel can be effective. Gengigel can also help to soothe the pain.

Clinisept+ mouthwash can help heal mouth ulcers.

Broken Teeth

If a tooth or filling has become chipped or cracked, you may experience sensitivity from the nerve in the tooth being exposed. You might also experience pain on your tongue from sharp edges on the cracked tooth.

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. Before placing any material on the tooth we would recommend that you speak to a member of our team.

Pain from Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are most likely to be painful whilst erupting through the gums at the back of your mouth. This can be made worse by trauma to the gums from biting.

Most pain from erupting wisdom teeth can be managed with good home care and should settle down in a few days.

  • Excellent cleaning even if it is painful to brush, you must keep the area clean to encourage healing
  • Corsodyl/Clinisept+/Warm salty mouthwash a good rinse with a high quality mouthwash can aid in the healing of the gums around the erupting wisdom tooth. Avoid using Corsodyl for more than a week as it may cause staining.
  • Soft diet soft foods will reduce the trauma encountered whilst biting.
  • Painkillers paracetamol is probably the best for reducing the pain from erupting wisdom teeth

Please note – if you have difficulty swallowing, swelling in your face or cheek, or difficulty opening your mouth, please call us immediately. You may need urgent assistance.

Lost Crown

In the event a crown becomes dislodged and comes away, there are a few things you can do to help.

  • Clean and check the crown. If the crown is mostly hollow, you can attempt to re-cement it at home if you are confident doing so.
  • Remove any debris from the crown using something like a paperclip to scrape away the old dental cement. Clean your teeth thoroughly ensuring that any old dental cement is removed from both the crown and tooth.
  • Check that the crown fits back on the tooth without any dental cement. Check that the bite feels correct, and double check for debris. Never force a crown or post into your tooth as this can cause the root to fracture.
  • Crowns should be replaced using a dental cement from a pharmacy. Something like Recapit would be suitable. Do not use superglue or fix dent to refit your crown.
  • Follow the instructions that come with the dental cement and remove any extra dental cement using a toothpick, then floss between your teeth to make sure they do not stick together.