How to relieve toothache and other common dental pain at home

Due to the current COVID-19 situation, we will remain open for emergency care to both new and existing patients. Unfortunately, we can no longer offer routine dental care.

Therefore, in the meantime, we’ve created some useful tips to support you, if you’re experiencing any dental pain at home.

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.

If your toothache is causing you excruciating pain, a loss of sleep and the above steps haven’t helped, call us on 0906475387 for further advice.

Wisdom tooth pain
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 your wisdom tooth causes any swelling, difficulty opening your mouth or difficulty swallowing, contact us on 0906475387

Tooth sensitivity
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
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.

Sharp pain when biting
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.

Facial swelling

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 us urgently on 0906475387.

Mouth ulcers

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, Corsodyl or 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 pharmacy
• Use cloves or cotton wool to apply clove oil to the ulcer, which can help with temporary pain relief

If your ulcer hasn’t healed after two weeks, it could be a sign of something more serious. Contact us as soon as possible for further advice.

Pain/bleeding after a tooth extraction

If you’ve recently had a dental extraction, it’s normal to experience some pain, especially in the first 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 us as soon as possible.

Orthodontic pain or problems

Most orthodontic problems, such as wires digging in your gum, or pain from your braces rubbing, can be dealt with at home.
Find out more about common orthodontic problems and looking after your braces at home.

For further help and advice
If you have pain which isn’t referenced in this article and is affecting your ability to sleep or concentrate, please get in touch with us.
If you can manage your pain at home, we’d still encourage you to visit your local practice to get checked out once it reopens for routine dental care.

From Dental Excellence

The health, wellbeing and safety of our patients, their families and our people remain our top priority at Dental Excellence. We’d like to thank our patients for their understanding during the COVID-19 situation.

Once it is safe for our practices to re-open we encourage you to get in touch and book an appointment. If you are experiencing an dental emergency, please contact us on 0906475387 who can offer telephone support and advice to patients with urgent need.