Home care advice for patients during COVID-19

Helping to support our patients when you need us the most.

 

In the last few weeks, the world has been turned upside down for all of us, and we are now facing huge challenges in order to make it through this unprecedented international crisis. 

Dental check-ups and treatments involve close contact between the dentist and patient and so should not take place. Also, dentists and their teams have to avoid using tools like drills and the ones used for scales and polishes. This is to prevent them from catching the virus from an infected patient and passing it on to other patients.

Drills and other high-speed tools create a lot of ‘spray’ from patients’ mouths so dentists need to use protective clothing and equipment. The decision has been made by the British Dental Association, Local Dental Committee and the government’s Chief Dental Officer that provision of dental care in dental practices must be suspended for the next 12 weeks.

We can offer advice and issue prescriptions and if necessary, refer you for emergency treatment in a local emergency treatment hub which are currently being set up across the country.

By following this advice and not seeing our patients face to face, we can better protect our patients and staff, reduce the spread of coronavirus, and help reduce the enormous pressures on the health service.

We can help to save thousands of lives.

 We have decided to set up this website to provide patients with advice for the most commonly presenting dental emergencies. We have dentists available online to provide guidance and support for patients at this very difficult time. We are offering our services free of charge. At times like this we must all work together and help as many people as we can. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE:


During this period, dentists will be able to provide patients with telephone service only. However, the practice is still accessible to those patients in severe pain, those who have swelling from infection or have been subject to trauma.

Click here for advice on Bleeding

Advice following dental extraction:

  • Do not disturb the blood clot (with toothbrush, sharp food or tongue)
  • Gently brush adjacent teeth to keep surrounding area to socket clean
  • Blood stained saliva is normal following a dental extraction.
  • Eat soft foods
  • Avoid hot drinks and exercise
  • Take painkillers if required
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking

If you have bleeding following recent dental extraction please read the following advice:

Active bleeding:

Sit upright and apply pressure to the extraction site by biting on a clean cotton handkerchief or a rolled up piece of gauze for 20 minutes.

Check and repeat if required.

If bleeding does not stop after 3 attempts of pressure placement as above, please call your dentist or call NHS 111

Avoid spitting or rinsing the mouth for 24 hours

Are you taking any blood thinning medication or do you have any bleeding problems? 

If the socket continues to ooze blood it is likely that you will require urgent dental assessment. Please call your dentist or NHS 111

Click here for advice on Swelling

SWELLING ON THE INSIDE OR THE OUTSIDE OF YOUR MOUTH

If you are experiencing swelling please get in touch with your practice and speak to your dentist. We are able to offer prescriptions for pain relief and antibiotics if appropriate and ways of getting the prescriptions to you.

You will need to chat the specifics of this through with your dentist when you speak to them.

If the swelling worsens after or during taking the antibiotics then ring 111 for further advice and if it starts to affect your breathing then it may be necessary to call 999 but clearly this is a very unusual event.

If you would like to speak to one of our online dentists please contact us through the online advice page. 

Click here for advice on Trauma

FOLLOWING AN ACCIDENT OR INJURY DAMAGE TO BABY TEETH OR ADULT TEETH

Sadly, this can take many forms, from a simple bump to the face and teeth to a serious injury that removes teeth and causes cuts to the face that may require stiches.

  • If the injury is on the minor side of the scale then treat with rest, ice, pain relief if necessary. 
  • If you have some at home then you can use arnica cream around the area which does help to control bruising.
  • Check the teeth to make sure that they are not wobbly or painful to touch and monitor this for 1 week.
  • If there are no changes, great!

Sometimes after a knock tooth can start to become sensitive or change colour.

This is down to the swelling that takes place inside the tooth and just like any vital tissue it can bruise which in a tooth causes discolouration along side the tooth laying down a darker reparative material (secondary dentine).

As with any trauma seek advice from your dentist even if it is for re-assurance.

If there is more significant injury again get advice, it maybe that you will need to been seen in a hospital setting but under normal circumstances your dentist should be able to help.

If a tooth has been loosened then avoid anything that might injure this further, soft diet, nothing to hot etc. if you have night guard or whitening trays that sort of thing wear it or them as it will help protect the teeth and keep them in the right position.

My tooth has been knocked out completely?

If a tooth has been knocked out then clean it with milk, or if not saliva and try and re-implant it yourself. Use a mirror and a bright light source, keep it in place with your fingers if possible, in the correct position and orientation. If you can’t do this then get to the hospital or to your emergency dental hub, (details of your area are on this site). They will help you further, store the tooth in milk in a sealed container if you can’t keep it in the side of your cheek.

Bleeding that requires stiches means call 111 or make your way to the A and E department.

Above all get advice from your dentist.

Click here for advice on Dental pain in Children

If they are over 8 then you can normally get a good history off them.
WHAT is the problem?
WHEN did it start?
WHAT makes it better or worse?
HOW LONG does the discomfort last?

Getting a good history off children is really important. One really common issue if they have developed a cavity is pain whilst eating or straight after. This is because food has got stuck inbetwen teeth and caused swelling. This swelling then gets bashed with more food and it starts hurting. Make sure that you have had a good look round, this is easiest with them lieing down on a bed with a good light source.

If you can see the hole it normally is a slightly darker colour than the rest and if you see the trapped food, brush it out carefully side to side maybe with a little dental tape dipped in some warm salt water.

Other common problems are bumped front teeth, normally just monitor over time for changes in symptoms or colour but as ever call and get advice from your dentist.

Click here for advice on Wisdom Tooth Pain

WISDOM TOOTH PAIN WITH SWELLING AROUND THE GUM

Cleaning: Brush very thoroughly around the wisdom tooth area making sure that you get your brush all around the gum around the tooth.

​Mouthwash: DISSOLVE 2 TSP OF SALT IN A CUP WITH SOME WARM WATER – SWILL YOUR MOUTH USING THE WARM SALT WATER 5 TIMES EACH DAY MAKING SURE YOU USE THE WHOLE CUP EACH TIME.​

Ice pack: Applying an ice pack to the jaw can help reduce inflammation, which in turn may relieve pain. Using ice can also have a numbing effect. Try holding an ice pack with a tea towel around it against their jaw for up to 15 minutes. If you do not have an icepack use frozen peas ect.

Numbing gel: A numbing dental gel may help reduce feeling in the gums and dull the pain. These gels are available over the counter from your pharmacy or online and contain the active ingredient benzocaine.

Most dental gels can be applied directly to the affected gums throughout the day. However, it is important for a person to follow the instructions included in the product.

Painkillers:Call and speak to your dentist who may suggest that you take Ibruprofen.

Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter pain relief medication that helps reduce inflammation.

Follow the recommended dose on the packet.

CANT OPEN YOUR MOUTH PROPERLY?
SWELLING?
SPEAK TO A DENTIST AS YOU MAY NEED SOME ANTIBIOTICS

Click here for advice on a Toothache

Important: If you have dental swelling that is spreading and is compromising your breathing, swallowing or is causing your eye to close or and visual changes please contact 111 or 999 as this is a dental emergency.

Cleaning:

Brush very thoroughly around the teeth making sure that you get your brush all around the gum around the tooth.

Mouthwash:

DISSOLVE 2 TSP OF SALT IN A CUP WITH SOME WARM WATER – SWILL YOUR MOUTH USING THE WARM SALT WATER 5 TIMES EACH DAY MAKING SURE YOU USE THE WHOLE CUP EACH TIME.

Numbing gel:

A numbing dental gel may help reduce feeling in the gums and dull the pain. These gels are available over the counter from your pharmacy or online and contain the active ingredient benzocaine.

Most dental gels can be applied directly to the affected gums throughout the day. However, it is important for a person to follow the instructions included in the product.

Ice pack:

Applying an ice pack to the jaw can help reduce inflammation, which in turn may relieve pain. Using ice can also have a numbing effect. Try holding an ice pack with a tea towel around it against their jaw for up to 15 minutes. If you do not have an icepack use frozen peas ect.

Painkillers:

We advise that you call and speak to your dentist who may suggest that you take Ibruprofen.

Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter pain relief medication that helps reduce inflammation.

Follow the recommended dose on the packet.

​Please note: If you have uncontrolled bleeding, have suffered trauma or you have dental swelling that is spreading and is compromising your breathing, swallowing or is causing your eye to close or and visual changes please contact 111 or 999 as this is a dental emergency.

 

Click here for advice on a Sensitive Teeth*

Important: If you have dental swelling that is spreading and is compromising your breathing, swallowing or is causing your eye to close or and visual changes please contact 111 or 999 as this is a dental emergency.

Cleaning:

Brush very thoroughly around the teeth making sure that you get your brush all around the gum around the tooth.

Mouthwash:

DISSOLVE 2 TSP OF SALT IN A CUP WITH SOME WARM WATER – SWILL YOUR MOUTH USING THE WARM SALT WATER 5 TIMES EACH DAY MAKING SURE YOU USE THE WHOLE CUP EACH TIME.

Numbing gel:

A numbing dental gel may help reduce feeling in the gums and dull the pain. These gels are available over the counter from your pharmacy or online and contain the active ingredient benzocaine.

Most dental gels can be applied directly to the affected gums throughout the day. However, it is important for a person to follow the instructions included in the product.

Ice pack:

Applying an ice pack to the jaw can help reduce inflammation, which in turn may relieve pain. Using ice can also have a numbing effect. Try holding an ice pack with a tea towel around it against their jaw for up to 15 minutes. If you do not have an icepack use frozen peas ect.

Painkillers:

We advise that you call and speak to your dentist who may suggest that you take Ibruprofen.

Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter pain relief medication that helps reduce inflammation.

Follow the recommended dose on the packet.

​Please note: If you have uncontrolled bleeding, have suffered trauma or you have dental swelling that is spreading and is compromising your breathing, swallowing or is causing your eye to close or and visual changes please contact 111 or 999 as this is a dental emergency.

 

Click here for advice with a Broken Tooth/Filling or Crown

BROKEN TOOTH/ LOST FILLING/LOST CROWN

Lost crown

If you have lost a crown of a tooth then make sure you keep it in a safe place where it won’t get lost or binned.

There are kits you can get to recement these back into place over the internet and make sure your read the instructions before you start and remember it may be a good idea to have a second pair of hands to help if they are available.

Keep the area dry before you start with cotton wool or similar, this really does help. If you can’t get hold of this then denture fixative inside the crown can keep it place for a number of hours before it needs to be re applied but try and leave it out overnight just in case you swallow it.

If none of these options appeal keep it safe and your dentist can pop it back ASAP when all returns to normal. There may be some adjustment needed as teeth move and change position over time but this should be minimal. Remember to keep the area clean in the meantime to avoid any other issues developing.

Broken or sharp tooth

These can be really uncomfortable particularly if it starts to affect your tongue.

There are two ways of dealing with this at home.

The first is to try and file down the sharp bit. If your or your partner (or children if you trust them) get an emery board, nail file etc and snap it in half so it is a manageable size you can then use the rough surface to smooth over the sharp section. It does take a while so persevere. The second is to try and cover or fill the gap that has led to the edge. There are temporary dental filling kits which you can get delivered over the internet and it is important that you read the instructions on these carefully before you start. Important to remember when using these to dry the area before you start so cotton wool pads buds are useful. If you can’t get hold of these then as a temporary measure chewing gum can help to cover areas but this is clearly a very temporary fix.

Click here for advice on Ulcers

Most of the time these are caused by minor trauma damage but can also be caused by stress, tiredness, deficiencies in Vit b, folic acid and iron.

There are many other small print causes but these are the main ones.

If you do get an ulcer, first try a think if there was a cause; caught your cheek, crusty bread that sort of thing. If you can’t remember a cause then now you have to manage it. 

Things like bongela and igloo and hot salt water mouthwashes are helpful but the main thing to remember is it will get better, try and steer away from acidic and spicy things as it will inflame an already swollen area. If it doesn’t resolve after a couple of weeks (sometimes it is worth making a note in a diary so you have a start date) then get either your dentist or doctor to take a look.

If you would like one of our dentists to have a look please contact us and send us a picture for us to review.

Click here for advice on Salivary Gland Swelling*

Most of the time these are caused by minor trauma damage but can also be caused by stress, tiredness, deficiencies in Vit b, folic acid and iron.

There are many other small print causes but these are the main ones.

If you do get an ulcer, first try a think if there was a cause; caught your cheek, crusty bread that sort of thing. If you can’t remember a cause then now you have to manage it. 

Things like bongela and igloo and hot salt water mouthwashes are helpful but the main thing to remember is it will get better, try and steer away from acidic and spicy things as it will inflame an already swollen area. If it doesn’t resolve after a couple of weeks (sometimes it is worth making a note in a diary so you have a start date) then get either your dentist or doctor to take a look.

If you would like one of our dentists to have a look please contact us and send us a picture for us to review.

Click here for advice on Broken Braces / Invisalign® / Retainer

FIXED BRACE:

Is there a sharp wire? if you have a sharp wire on your fixed brace or bonded retainer- try to bend any sharp ends using tweezers, a pencil with a rubber on the end or the end of a teaspoon.

If you have any orthodontic wax you can roll this into a ball and place it over the exposed wire. Babybel cheese wax works well too! Blue tack or even chewing gum may help.

Broken bracket?

This is not urgent unless it is causing trauma to the soft tissues. Contact your dentist for advice. It is likely that you will be advised to leave the bracket. 

RETAINERS:

Broken retainer: If your retainer has broken continue to wear it as much as possible.  you can use some small scissors to trim any sharp edges. If you are struggling to wear it you may have to cease wearing it. 

Lost retainer: ​If you have lost your retainer contact your dentist to see if they have your previous moulds so that they can make you a replacement. 

INVISALIGN:

Lost retainer:  If you have lost your aligner- go back to the last fitting aligner contact your dentist to see if they are happy for you to move on to the next aligner. 

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