Advice to help you manage and feel more comfortable until we can see you.
We normally aim to get our patients who have an emergency seen the same day or the next day. There may be occasions when you are unable to get to us because you are away or it may be a long weekend and we are not open.
Here are a few useful tips which I have given to patients and acquaintances over the years in cases of emergency outside of the surgery setting. As always, apply a large dose of common sense.
Chipped tooth or lost filling
This can lead to a very sharp edge which can rub on the tongue or cheek, making it sore and causing an ulcer. If the sharp edge can be rounded over (even if it is just slightly) it will make it more comfortable. Use a clean emery board as pictured to the left, to gently smooth over the sharp edge. Usually 3-4 rubs will do it.
Swelling in the mouth
This is most likely to be caused by a gum infection or a tooth infection and needs to be looked at by a dentist as soon as possible.
Until you can see the dentist, a useful tip is to use some warm salt water mouth bathes.
- Get half a glass of fairly warm water, but not too warm that you can burn yourself.
- Dissolve a teaspoon of table salt into it until the water goes clear.
- Hold some of this warm salt water in your mouth in the area of the swelling for a minute and then spit out.
- Repeat several times until the water is finished.
- Repeat this every 1-2 hours if possible.
The swelling is usually a collection of pus that your body wants to get rid of. The heat and the salt will attract the swelling/abscess to come to head and drain out, especially if done frequently. Once the pus drains out the pressure is relieved and the discomfort is better. Once this happens, there is no harm in continuing to allow the infection to keep draining out.
Pain relief, what works well
If unsure please speak to your pharmacist
If you are suffering from mild to moderate pain, then the usual analgesics – paracetamol and Ibuprofen work well. Please ensure that you are keeping within the recommended dosage guidelines.
There is some evidence to suggest that lower dosages of Paracetamol and Ibuprofen taken together provided better pain relief than taking them individually.
Inside the mouth (if it is a gum or cheek problem) Bongela or Difflam will help with the discomfort.
Clove oil has been historically linked with toothache relief. Please bear in mind that it is only effective inside a tooth. So if you have a large cavity causing pain then dampen a small piece of cotton wool with clove oil and place inside the cavity. This may cause some relief, but be very careful to avoid any contact with the gum or cheeks as it can cause irritation.
All the above tips are anecdotal and no liability is accepted. The advice of a dentist is always advised as soon as possible.