Urgent dental treatment:
Straight to A&E:
Non-Urgent (may need to wait):
Anti-inflammatories (like ibuprofen) can help reduce sensitivity from teeth. Combining paracetamol and ibuprofen has also been shown to be effective.
There is currently no strong evidence that drugs like ibuprofen can make COVID-19 worse.
If you have no coronavirus symptoms carry on taking ibuprofen as normal.
So until we have more information, take paracetamol to treat symptoms of coronavirus, unless your doctor has told you paracetamol is not suitable for you.
Painkillers should always be taken in accordance with instructions on the packet. Taking too many tablets, or taking medications incorrectly will not improve your symptoms and can cause serious stomach and liver injury which can be life-threatening.
If the tooth is extremely sensitive to hot or cold, antibiotics will not help.
These home measures may help make symptoms manageable until care can be accessed.
A good cleaning with fluoride toothpaste and reducing sugar intake will help stop any decay from getting any worse.
If there is a hole in the tooth, or a tooth has cracked and is now sensitive/sharp, a temporary filling can be packed into space. These are widely available from supermarkets and pharmacies e.g. Dentemp or Refilit.
Desensitising/sensitive toothpaste (like Sensodyne repair and protect or Colgate sensitive pro relief) can help. Rub toothpaste directly on the affected area and do not rinse afterwards.
Wisdom tooth pain is usually due to inflammation of the gum over the erupting tooth, which can be worsened by trauma from biting.
Most flare-ups can be managed with good home care and should settle in a few days to a week:
Excellent cleaning (even if it is painful to brush, the area must be kept clean to encourage healing)
If you have difficulty swallowing, swelling in your face or cheek or difficulty opening your mouth, call your dentist. You may need antibiotics if the infection is spreading.
Although painful, most ulcers will heal within 7-10 days. Non-healing ulcers/oral lesions present for more than 3 weeks should be assessed by a dentist or doctor.
Continue to take regular painkillers for several days after an extraction, it is normal for the pain to be at its worst on day 3-4.
We cannot provide antibiotics for pain after extractions unless the infection is present. We also cannot prescribe antibiotics over the phone without seeing you in person.
Some pink spit/oozing is normal after an extraction, but if the socket is bleeding freely, bite hard on gauze or a clean hankie for 20 minutes. If bleeding has not stopped, call your dentist.
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. You should call your dentist for advice. Antibiotics will not solve this, as a dressing is needed to cover the exposed bone.
Bleeding from gums is NOT a dental emergency. Bleeding gums are usually due to gum disease and will not stop until brushing improves. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for 2 minutes, concentrating especially on the areas that are bleeding. Use floss or tepe brushes to clean between your teeth every day.
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. You should call your dentist for advice.
Hayley Roberts Lead Treatment Coordinator GDC No. 148999
Lucy Jayne Cartwright Treatment Coordinator GDC No. 142928