COVID-19 is affecting virtually every aspect of our lives, one of which is visiting the dentist. In order to support our patients, and all those suffering from toothache, we’ve decided to share a few tips on how to remedy toothache at home, and when you should call the dentist.
Oral hygiene – the best protection from toothache
Maintaining proper oral hygiene can help to avoid more of the problems that cause toothache. Regular and careful hygiene protects teeth from caries, plaque, bleeding gums, bad breath and other oral problems.
1. Oral hygiene – how to do it properly?
Take the following steps to properly maintain your teeth and avoid toothache:
- Brush your teeth with a soft brush to avoid irritating gums
- Brush teeth at least twice daily
- Brush teeth for at least 2 minutes – that way you can be sure that you have cleaned all teeth
- After brushing, be sure to floss between all teeth
- Change your toothbrush regularly, every 3 months
- Use mouthwash to keep gums healthy
- Avoid smoking
- Eat a healthy diet
- Visit your dentist twice each year
2. Types of toothache – how to detect the type of pain?
In order to determine exactly what hurts, it is important to be able to distinguish which type of pain you are experiencing.
Pulsing pain – feels like a heartbeat. More pronounced at night due to the horizontal body position. If you feel a pulsing pain, that means that the tooth is hurting (strong and constant pain). In that case, contact your dentist.
Dull pain – can be due to a pain in the tooth or due to a periodontal pocket, which is caused by a build-up of bacteria that causes inflammation and makes gums hurt.
For dull pain, it is important that you clean the painful area well with floss, brushing and antiseptics. If the pain passes, that means that the pain was caused by a periodontal pocket. If the pain does not pass after thorough cleaning, contact your dentist.
Pain when biting after the completion of prosthetic work – if you have recently had prosthetic work done (crowns, bridges or prosthetic teeth), and you feel pain when biting, this may indicate that this area is slightly higher in the bite, so it is necessary to chew more gently and avoid chewing on the painful side until you can visit your dentist.
Pain in reaction to hot/cold – there are two possible causes for this: pulpitis or an exposed tooth root.
Pain to hot/cold - pulpitis as the cause
It is possible that your tooth nerve is inflamed and this tooth requires treatment at the dentist’s. Until you can visit your dentist, you can alleviate the pain by apply cold compresses (hold on face for 20 minutes, pause for 20 minutes, then repeat) over the painful spot, and take a pain reliever if necessary.
Pain to hot/cold – exposed tooth root as the cause
This most often occurs in patients with bruxism (grinding of the teeth) or who suffer from retracting gums (periodontitis) and those who have damaged their tooth enamel through improper brushing. How to alleviate this? Brush carefully with a soft brush and use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth (for desensitization) like Paradontax. If you feel pain in response to sweet foods, you may also have an exposed tooth root.
Pain in reaction to sweet foods
If you feel a sharp pain when eating sweet foods, you likely have a cavity that needs filling, or an exposed tooth root. Until you can visit your dentist, try not to chew on the painful side.
Swelling of part of the face
If you face begins to swell due to toothache, in most cases this indicates that the inflammation from the periodontal pocket has expanded, or that the root canal has been infected. This condition demands that you immediately contact your dentist before trying any home remedies.
Pain from wearing braces
Mild pain and pressure following the installation of braces is normal, and it will pass. If you are experiencing other problems with your braces, please read the tips by our orthodontist Dr. Katarina Krajačić in the blog: Braces - Tips From The Orthodontist
3. Tip on how to alleviate tooth pain at home
If you feel tooth pain, it is very important to determine exactly what hurts. Once you detect the type and place of pain, you will know how to handle the pain, swelling or other symptoms. If you are pregnant, nursing, on mediation or have a chronic condition, be sure to consult with your dentist before trying any of these tips.
- Salt water – salt water is a natural disinfectant, and can alleviate the pain caused by remnants of food left between teeth. Mix half a teaspoon of salt into a glass of warm water, swish around your mouth, then spit out.
- Hydrogen peroxide (3%) – hydrogen peroxide reduces infection and discomfort. It can also reduce tooth plaque and sooth bleeding gums. It is important to properly dilute it. Mix together 3% hydrogen peroxide and water in equal parts, use this to wash out mouth, and spit out. Do not swallow this mixture!
Instead of hydrogen peroxide, you can also use any other oral antiseptic (such as mouthwash, like Listerine) that contains alcohol. If you are certain that you have inflamed gums, you can also use a product such as Curasept or Corsodyl solution.
- Cold compresses – in order to alleviate tooth pain, especially if the cause is tooth trauma, use a cold compress. Wrap an ice pack in a towel and press against the sort part of your face for 20 minutes. Apply compress every 20 – 30 minutes, with a pause between.
If the pain is unbearable, and you are healthy, you can also take a painkiller - ketonal or voltaren until you can see your dentist.
We advise you to take either of these medications only if you are healthy, and after consulting with your doctor.
These are temporary measures that can help you for a few days. If they pain has not subsided after this time, you will need to contact your dentist.
4) What if my gums are bleeding?
If your gums are bleeding, you need to:
- Carefully and completely brush your teeth at least twice daily, every day, for 3 minutes each time, to ensure that you have cleaned all the tooth surfaces (using a soft toothbrush)
- After carefully brushing, floss between your teeth. Cleaning between your teeth means using floss or oral irrigation (water flosser or shower), that can get in between all your teeth.
If the gums are bleeding heavily, use a chlorhexidine-based oral antiseptic twice daily, swish around mouth, spit out but DO NOT rinse. After swishing with a chlorhexidine-based mouthwash, you must not eat or drink anything for the next 30 minutes.
If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us via e-mail or our Facebook page. We will add in the newest questions and answers to this text.
And don’t forget, we are here for any emergency cases for all Dentum patients!
TEL: +385 1 5802 333
DENMARK LINE: 07667 05537
IRELAND LINE: 07877 2137
Number in case of emergency: 0038591 2999 333 or 0038591 2522 232