In an unprecedented move all dental clinics have been asked to close down. This is to stop patients coming into contact with infected patients in the waiting rooms, reception, toilets and more so in the surgery.

Dental clinics have been ordered to stop all check ups, hygiene visits, orthodontic treatment and routine dentistry; they are being asked stop producing aerosols.

Dental clinics are operating a skeleton service or even just a phone service, much like GP practices.

Aerosols

Most dental procedures produce aerosols; from just drying a tooth to cutting teeth. The 3:1 air water syringe can create an aerosol, the high speed drill as you all know produces high volumes of aerosol, but even the suction unit can from its exhaust create an aerosol

Coronavirus outbreak and coronaviruses influenza

Besides the chances of becoming infected by the virus if you venture outside, what else can you do to minimise a trip to the dentist?

If you are in pain, the first thing you should do is contact the clinic; try not to call 111 or the emergency services as they will be very very busy and ill-equipped to give you advice. The best thing is to speak to a dentist. He or she can remotely diagnose what the most likely problem and solutions are.

Tooth pain

Illustration showing infected tooth with pulpitis.

Tooth ache can occur from a leaking filling, a broken filling or tooth, or from the nerve itself. A broken filling or tooth or even a leaking filling can be sealed if you are able to buy a tooth repair or temporary filling kit from the chemist, or even Amazon. If you feel that you cannot seal the tooth yourself then please ask your dentist for advice. Unfortunately the Chief Dental Officer is asking all dentists to refer all emergencies to emergency centres; the problem is that most have not been set up yet.

In certain circumstances the dentist may be able to isolate the tooth, dry it with cotton wool and place a temporary filling. There is the danger however that you, the dentist or the staff could be carriers.

Broken teeth with nerve exposure

When a tooth pain lasts more than a few seconds and is prolonged then the cavity may have involved the nerve. If the pain is excrutiating and long lasting then the chances are that the nerve maybe irreparably damaged/infected. Normally the dentist would remove the nerve or at least dress the nerve chamber with a sedative dressing. If this is not possible by your dentist then you can try tooth tincture. This is the general name for medicaments that contain eugenol oil. The oil can enter the nerve chamber and kill off the nerve. Be warned that the nerve cannot then be resuscitated and you may later need root canal treatment or an extraction.

Gum pain

Tartar, plaque on frontal teeth and gingivitis

Gum disease can be a chronic condition with no pain. Gum disease however causes bone loss and sometimes you can develop a gum abscess. This is usually a pain or swelling linked to the gum. Sometimes the gum abscess appears like a boil. Treatment can involve salt water solution rinse, rinsing with corosdyl or listerine, brushing the gum with these liquids, or even lancing the abscess with a sterile needle. The relief can be very immediate once the pressure is released.

Sometimes a tooth can appear loose due to gum disease or an abscess deeper in the root. It is advised that you try to eat soft foods, and avoid eating on that tooth. Analgesics can help relieve pain and also some of the pressure.

The same goes for loose teeth. One learns to avoid eating on a loose tooth, but if it really painful and needs removal then your dentist is best to call about a local emergency centre. He or she may also be able to splint it to an adjacent tooth until more permanent treatment can be carried out.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

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