01392 873899 384 Topsham Road, Exeter, EX2 6HE

 What to do if you develop dental problems during ‘lockdown’

April 6, 2020

We hope you are keeping well and safe in these difficult times. The health, wellbeing and safety of you and your family is our priority and always will be.


Why is the practice closed?

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the practice is now closed for routine care. During an examination and any treatment we come into close contact with the patient. When we use the high-speed drill and do a scale and polish we create a lot of spray from patients’ mouths. COVID-19 has a seven-day period before symptoms show. If an unsuspecting (asymptomatic) patient had a filling or a scale and polish, the spray from doing that procedure could infect the dentist and the nurse and possibly other patients. The personal protective equipment our dentists wear when using high-speed tools is currently required by hospitals treating coronavirus patients. Without this equipment dentists, hygienists, therapists and nurses are not safe to treat patients as normal.


This blog will hopefully help you to manage any dental problems you may experience whilst the running of our dental practice is disrupted.

Managing Toothache at home


If you experience toothache, first, try to manage the pain with simple painkillers. The safest painkiller is paracetamol unless of course you are allergic to it.  You should take:

2 tablets of 500 mg Paracetamol 4 times a day

You should not exceed this amount as there is a risk of poisoning.

The government has advised that patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should take paracetamol in preference to Ibuprofen. Also, DO NOT take any other additional painkillers that may contain paracetamol such as Co-codamol.


If this regime does not settle your toothache, you should ring us for further advice. You should also call us for any of the following emergency situations:

Some dental emergencies can be life-threatening and require management in hospital. Only if you develop either of the two following conditions go straight to A&E. For anything else, please call us.


During the lockdown, you may also experience discomfort which may not be an emergency. Here are some tips to manage these situations:

Tooth sensitivity

If you develop extreme sensitivity to hot or cold, sensitive toothpaste can help. Rub the toothpaste directly onto the affected area and do not rinse afterwards. Some examples of such toothpastes are Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief, Sensodyne Repair and Protect and Sensodyne Rapid Relief. Some anaesthetic oral gels may also soothe the sensitivity. An example of such a gel is the Orajel Dental Gel.


Broken tooth or lost crown

If the tooth is sensitive to hot or cold follow the above advice. If the tooth is sharp, try to dress the tooth with a temporary filling repair kit (you can purchase these at most chemists or online). This kit can also be used to put back crowns that may have fallen out. However, please bear in mind that this is only a temporary measure and if the crown dislodges, there is a risk of swallowing it or obstructing your airway. The safest thing would be to store the crown in a safe place and bring it to us when we re-open and are able to assess the tooth and the crown.

Wisdom tooth pain

Pain from wisdom teeth can occur if food, debris or plaque get trapped in the space between the wisdom tooth and the surrounding gum.This sometimes can lead to a gum infection called pericoronitis. Most ‘flare-ups’ can be managed with what you do at home.


However, if you develop difficulty swallowing or develop swelling in your cheek, you need to call us as you may need antibiotics.

Mouth Ulcers

Most ulcers heal within 7-10 days. To ease the pain you could try:

If a mouth ulcer does not resolve in two weeks from first appearing, please call us.

Denture problems

If your denture becomes loose, use a denture adhesive paste such as Fixodent, and come to see us when we re-open.

If your denture is rubbing and you can identify the sharp edges, file these sharp edges using an emery board.

Bleeding gums

Bleeding gums are not classified as a dental emergency. The gums bleed as a result of plaque build- up on the teeth. Brush your teeth thoroughly next to the gumline twice a day, and clean in between your teeth using floss or interdental brushes such as Tepe brushes. You should expect quite a lot of bleeding for the first two weeks of doing this. Corsodyl mouthwash may also help in addition to the cleaning regime described.

If you experience any pain or discomfort please keep a log of the following:

This information may be useful to us to give you better advice on the phone or refer you to an appropriate clinic for treatment if necessary. Also, this information could be useful when we review your oral health at your next examination appointment.

If you are unsure or concerned at all, please remember that that we are more than happy to speak to you by phone.  When you call the practice, the answer phone message will give you contact number details for either Nick or Anastasios (whoever is on call that day), they will try and help reassure and advise you accordingly.  If you feel lonely or need to just have a chat, we are here for you too.  Both Nick & Anastasios know you well and would be delighted to hear that you are safe and well.


 to find out more about your Dental Care and Coronavirus (COVID-19)


This blog has been written by our associate dentist Anastasios Plessas.


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