Out of hours FAQs

What do I do if...

I have just had some dental treatment

  • I have just had an Amalgam (Silver) Filling
    The tooth can ache for up to 48 hours, especially if it was large. In this time it is also possible to have sensitivity from hot and cold. If the tooth feels tender upon biting, it is possible that the filling is proud and needs smoothing down.
  • I have just had a Composite (White) Filling
    The same problems as above can occur. In the past, sensitivity was a greater problem with large composite fillings. Although this is getting better, some treatments are still prone to this problem.
    If the problems have not settled in 48 hours, please contact the dentist for advice over the phone.
  • The edge is sharp and is rubbing against the tongue
    Place a soft material e.g. sugar-free chewing gum, cotton wool etc. to act as a cushion. Refrain from using nail files to smooth off the sharp edges in case you pierce the tongue or lip.
  • The tooth has now become sensitive to hot or cold
    The sensitive part of the tooth (Dentine) has become exposed. It reacts to hot and cold. It usually does not get worse. Do not be concerned; tooth decay will not undermine the tooth in the short term. Avoid hot and cold until the Dentist can see you. It is sometimes possible to get temporary filling material from the chemist. Follow the instructions carefully. When making an appointment, mention that you have a broken filling/tooth that is sensitive.
  • Food keeps getting stuck between the teeth
    Do not leave the compacted food between the teeth and pressing against the gums. It can become very painful. Keep the area clean with floss and wood sticks after each meal.
  • I have a deep continuous ache OR I have throbbing pain from a tooth
    Both can be caused by damage and swelling of the nerves in the middle of the tooth (Pulp). Take painkillers and make an appointment to see the dentist. In the old days, the use of clove oil in an existing large cavity helped. Clove oil is strong and has been known to “burn” the gums.
    antibiotics will not help at this early stage of toothache.
    PLEASE NOTE: After a few days the pain can subside. This is because the tooth has “died”. An abscess can gradually form. It is advisable to seek a Dental opinion even though the pain has apparently subsided.
  • I have a very tender tooth and my face is swelling
    This is a sign that an abscess may be forming. It needs to be treated by a Dentist who will remove the source of the infection and possibly prescribe antibiotics. antibiotics will not “cure” the problem.
  • I have had a very sharp, shooting pain from a tooth while chewing
    Sometime the force of the bite can be accidentally directed onto one tooth only. This is very painful and can leave the tooth very tender to bite on for a few days. The tooth will also ache and be sensitive to hot and cold during this time. A bruising of the bone under the tooth causes this. The tooth should be avoided and will heal with time.
    If there is a sharp, shooting pain when chewing on the tooth, it is possible that there is a “crack” in the tooth. This is not uncommon on filled teeth. A dentist needs to be consulted.

What to do with my antibiotics

  • Make sure that you complete your course of antibiotics.
  • Antibiotics can cause an upset tummy, diarrhoea. This is NOT an allergic reaction.
  • If you develop a rash on your skin or your skin feels itchy, you could be allergic to this antibiotic. Stop taking the antibiotic IMMEDIATELY and inform both your Doctor and the Dentist.
  • Do not consume alcohol with the Antibiotic called “Metronidazole” also called “Flagyl”. It can cause nausea and vomiting.
  • If you are currently taking an oral contraceptive pill, take additional precautions while taking antibiotics and for 7 days after the course of treatment is complete.

After tooth extraction

The following steps will prevent bleeding and relieve soreness:

On the day of treatment

  • Keep the cotton wool pack on the extraction site and maintain a continuous pressure, for at least 1 hour.
  • If the bleeding continues, repeat the above procedure with a new pack, until it stops.
  • Bleeding can continue for some hours. It often looks worse than it is.
  • Avoid rinsing. If necessary, rinse very gently, with cold water.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise and alcohol.
  • Avoid warm drinks, hard or chewy foods on or near the extraction site.
  • Do not disturb the site with your tongue, or while eating, for 12 hours.
  • Taking painkillers containing Paracetamol or Ibuprofen can relieve any pain or soreness. Please do not take more than the recommended dosage. Aspirin is not recommended.
  • Warm water containing some salt may be used after 24 hours to bathe the site if desired.
  • You may feel the sharp edge of a socket with your tongue and small fragments may work loose after a few days – do not be alarmed, this is normal.

On the days following treatment
If the pain persists, spreads and becomes severe, it is probable that you have developed an infection at the extraction site.

This complication can arise with some patients, and is best prevented by vigorously following the precautions listed above. This can be quite painful. Vigorously bathe the site with salt water and take pain-relieving medication.

Please contact the practice for treatment of this infection.

The infection is normally due to a blood clot failing to seal the wound. This allows food and bacteria to invade the site.