With the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, many patients are delaying their visit to the dentist. Mild toothache can be easily managed at home if instructions are followed correctly. However, remember that the following tips are only temporary relief protocols to help you in these trying times and until you have access to your dental health care provider.
Tips to manage toothache during COVID-19 pandemic
1. Avoid extremely hot/cold/acidic foods: Keep your diet restricted to simple foods that do not require extensive chewing, and avoid drinking hot/cold liquids. The sudden change in temperature will irritate the nerves and cause lingering pain.
2. Rinse with saltwater: A warm water and salt rinse help relieve the discomfort by removing loose food particles and is a natural disinfectant. It should preferably be done after every meal. A saltwater rinse can be made with 100 ml of lukewarm water with 1/2 tablespoon of salt. Some patients also notice an improvement of symptoms with mouthwashes ( use one if readily available).
3. Treat pain with cloves: Clove has been used to treat toothaches throughout history as it contains eugenol, which is a natural antiseptic. You can try using few drops of clove oil in a cotton piece that is placed on the affected tooth, or you can chew a clove and place it on the affected tooth to let its oils slowly seep through. Remember to place it on the tooth and not on the gum.
4. Cold compress to your rescue: Use an ice pack/ cold pack over the site of pain to soothe the area.
5. Elevate your head: The sudden pressure changes in your body when moving from standing to lying down often causes severe discomfort because of changes in the pressure inside the tooth. A good way to reduce this discomfort is by elevating your head while lying down or being in a semi-reclined position.
6. Take OTC (over the counter) pain medications after consulting your doctor: Various over the counter pain pills are available at your local pharmacy to help aid with sever pain. Pain medications can keep you comfortable while you are waiting for your emergency dentist appointment. Take care, do not to over medicate. Make sure to mention your allergy history if any, before buying any medications.
When is it time to see your dentist?
There are a few symptoms that require immediate attention and care. If you have one or more of the following symptoms, visit/ contact a dentist immediately:
Severe pain not resolving with pain medication
Swelling in the site of pain
Pus/ foul smell
Difficulty in swallowing
As always, prevention is better than cure. With quarantine and social distancing in place in most locations in our country, it makes sense, now more than ever, to take extra special care of our health and our teeth. So keep those pearly whites brushed and well taken care of till your next dental visit.