Coronavirus (COVID-19) : How can you manage toothache in Isolation?


If you are self isolating and avoiding going outside, the last thing you want to experience is toothache.

Currently, our practice is open to see emergency patients but following current guidance, we would recommend that everyone, especially those over 70 or those at increased risk from Covid-19 due to underlying health conditions, to follow the social distancing measures.

It is currently unclear when these social distancing measures will no longer be needed and therefore, if you are experiencing toothache, we would recommend to try a few of the following to manage the pain.

If you have a swelling on your face or difficulty swallowing, please seek urgent medical attention by contacting the practice for an appointment or advice. Our phone lines are open 24/7 so please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of any help.

Pain from teeth: 

Toothache can occur due to decay reaching the nerve in the tooth, causing the tooth to become sensitive. As an infection develops, the inflammation of the nerve will worsen. Antibiotics are unlikely to fix the problem if your tooth is acutely sensitive to temperature. The decay will need to be removed or if irreversible damage has occurred, we may need to carry out root canal treatment or remove the tooth.

  • Anti-inflammatory tablets (NSAIDs): These can reduce sensitivity and a combination of paracetamol and ibuprofen have been found to be beneficial in managing symptoms. However, there have been some reports that Ibuprofen may aggravate the symptoms of COVID-19 so you may want to stick to paracetamol if you have symptoms.

Please note that although the pain will cease, it is best to continue taking anti-inflammatory tablets to reduce the inflammation around the tooth.

  • Desensitising toothpaste: Try sensodyne repair or protect or Colgate sensitive pro relief!
  • Anaesthetic Gel: Application to the area may help to numb the pain.
  • Clove Oil: Found in health food stores, you can apply it onto the painful tooth with a cotton bud.
  • Keep your head elevated at night time: When you lie down to sleep, the blood pressure in the tooth can increase which increases pain. An extra pillow under your head can help prevent this.
  • Keep the area cold: By reducing blood flow to the area, inflammation will be reduced.

If you have an infection (a swelling next to the tooth or pus discharge)…

  • Rinse your mouth with warm salty mouthwash to try and draw out the infection in your mouth.

Gum pain

Pain in the gum can occur when bacteria or food debris becomes trapped between the gum and the tooth. You can reduce pain by cleaning the area with floss or tepe brushes, or getting corsodyl to the area either through corsodyl mouthwash or corsodyl gel. Corsodyl is known to stain teeth so we wouldn’t recommend this long term.

Pain from ulcers:

Ulcers in the mouth can be signs of underlying medical conditions so should not be ignored and if any mouth ulcer hasn’t healed after 2 weeks, it should be checked by a dentist.

To reduce any discomfort, you can try using a topical anaesthetic gel such as Orajel or gengigel.

Broken Teeth:

If a tooth or filling has chipped or cracked, this may cause sensitivity from the exposed tooth or a sharp edge may hurt your tongue. The sensitivity can be reduced by rubbing a desensitising toothpaste onto the tooth.

Here at Heath Street Dental, we will endeavour to help you through your pain in whatever we can, so please feel free to get in touch!