Dental self-care during self-isolation


If you are suffering from tooth pain there are a number of ways to help manage the pain until you can get treatment if it doesn’t subside.

  • Take anti-inflamatories/pain killers, like ibuprofen or paracetamol which are beneficial if you take them in combination (children under 16 shouldn't take aspirin) – a pharmacist can advise you. There have been some reports that Ibufrofen may increase the symptoms of Covid-19 so stick to paracetamol if you have the symptoms. Please be careful not to exceed recommended dosage! Don’t stop taking anti-inflamatories when the pain goes or it will return, you still want to continue to reduce the swelling that is causing the pain.

Always follow the directions on the painkiller information leaflet for dosage and advice on precautions with some medical conditions. For example: do not take ibuprofen if you have or have had stomach problem, are allergic to ibuprofen or to aspirin, are asthmatic or are pregnant. If you are pregnant, consult a pharmacist before taking paracetamol.

Swallow tablets. Do not place tablets next to the affected area because this can damage the tissue.

Avoid taking aspirin as a painkiller if there is bleeding.

  • Use a pain-relieving anaesthetic gel such as Orajel which can be applied to the area to help to numb the pain for your mouth – this can be bought from pharmacies or supermarkets.
  • Clove Oil is an 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​.
  • If there is a cavity in the tooth, a temporary filling material you can pack it using a temporary filling kit which are widely available from supermarkets or pharmacies.
  • Desensitising toothpaste ​such as Sensodyne repair and protect or Colgate sensitive pro relief can help.
  • Try rinsing your mouth with salt water (children shouldn't try this)
  • Eat soft foods, like yoghurt or scrambled eggs, and try to avoid chewing with the sore tooth
  • Avoid hot drinks
  • 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 - a swelling next to the tooth or pus discharging;

  • Rinse your mouth with warm salty mouthwash to try and draw out the infection into your mouth. 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 face as this can draw the ​infection into the tissues in your face causing external swellings.

Pain from gums

  • If there is bacteria or food debris trapped between the gum and the tooth, this can cause pain.
    • Thoroughly clean the area with floss or a te-pe interdental brush​. You could put corsodyl gel onto the brush to help clean the area
    • Rinse thoroughly with Corsodyl mouthwash can help (but Corsodyl will stain your teeth so we dont recommend this for long term use)

Pain from 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 dentist.

  • To reduce the discomfort, you can try a topical ansesthetic gel such as Orajel
  • To help with healing of ulcers, Gengigel can be effective as well as soothing the pain. 

Broken teeth

If a tooth or filling has chipped or cracked, this can cause sensitivity from the tooth being exposed or pain to your tongue from sharp edges.

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.