Emergencies during COVID-19 Lockdown?

Dental Emergencies during COVID-19 Lockdown?


To contain the spread of Covid -19, our Government has imposed Level 3 restrictions for Dentist. What does it mean? Well, currently, dentists are allowed to treat patients only with acute dental infection, severe pain or swelling, trauma or ulcers. Any procedures which can cause aerosols, are strictly not allowed with the exception of a painful tooth which can be treated under dam. This is for the safety of the Dentists, their staff, and other patients.

It becomes all the more important to take good care of your oral hygiene to minimise any dental emergency. This blog would take note of the emergency dental conditions you might encounter and how would you be able to deal with them during lockdown period.

Few Dental Emergencies

First off, it is always highly recommended that you visit a dentist, but given the situation right now, it might not be a feasible option for people until and unless there is an emergency. So, here is a list of things that you can do that helps solve the problem as of now and delay proper treatment till the time it is safe to do so.

1: Severe toothache with or without swelling

One can try over-the-counter medicines like Panadol with or without combination of Ibuprofen  every six to eight hours. Pharmacist can help you as they would have records of your other medications. (Neurofen is not advised if there is suspicion of Corona virus infection).

Try to avoid hot or cold food or drinks if it’s aggravating the symptoms. If one side of your mouth is affected more with the pain, try not to chew food with that side. Try desensitizing toothpaste to numb the pain, but if the pain is unbearable and persistent, please call your dentist.

Your GP could also prescribe you antibiotics if there is swelling. This can help you till you are able to see a dentist.

Never apply heat pack on external swelling, however warm water with pinch of salt mouth rinse 2-3 times can ease the pain at times.

  1. A chipped tooth or filling

Try to  manage in case you are not facing any pain or sensitivity. Try to avoid biting on the tooth and eating hard food so that it doesn’t break further. Keep that area clean to avoid food pack or accumulation.

However if you are experiencing sensitivity dentist might have to place a temporary filling for time being.

If the broken tooth or chipped tooth has left a sharp edge, always discuss with your dentist and have the sharpness removed or smoothened to stop it from cutting into the tongue or cheek.

3: Mouth ulcer or gum swelling pain

If the ulcer is recurrent, then there could be underlying medical condition. Your GP could help you. However if it’s dental related, then you can try warm salt water rinse or sodium bicarbonate with warm water rinse or even alcohol free over the counter mouth wash 2 -3 times daily and see if it helps. A numbing agent or analgesic found at your local pharmacy may also help you. If ulcer is caused by broken or loose orthodontic wire, apply wax given to you by your orthodontist on the broken wire.

  1. Wisdom tooth pain

Similar to the solution for your ulcer, you can take warm salt-water or an  alcohol-free mouthwash for rinsing your mouth around two to three times per day. Over the counter pain killers would also be of help. Consult with your general practitioner for antibiotics prescription as often wisdom teeth get infected if have been left untreated for a while.

  1. Trauma to teeth: Please refer our blog for trauma or injury to teeth. Best to call your dentist or Royal Dental Hospital Melbourne 03 9341 1000. If your permanent tooth is dislodged and if it’s a clean tooth and Dentist is far away then parents or guardians can put the tooth back in the socket. Trauma is an emergency.


Few tips for your dental conditions

  1. Avoid frequent snacking and sweet acidic drinks as it can cause tooth decay. Nutty, sticky and very hard food can chip your existing filling or chip your tooth. Remember a Dentist cannot perform any procedure which produces aerosols!
  2. Brush regularly to avoid bleeding gums and bad breath. Scaling cause aerosols so it’s strictly no at the moment!
  3. Avoid brushing hard as it can cause sensitivity.
  4. Wear mouth guard along with helmet while riding your bike!
  5. Do warm water with pinch of salt gargle before going to bed.
  6. If you have diabetes, please keep it under control as it can cause abscess or painful gums.
  7. Call your dentist if you need more information or if it’s really an emergency.


Conclusion: It is imperative to stay safe and maintain social distancing. Additional care for your dental health is recommended so as to minimize dental emergency. Eat healthy, drink water, use fluoridated tooth paste, brush for two minutes, you don’t have to rinse very well, don’t forget to brush your tongue!


Northcote Family Dental is a clinic that has been serving Northcote and its surrounding suburbs for over sixty years now. Should you want emergency dental attention, get in touch by dialing (03) 9481 5747 immediately.