Covid-19 Pandemic and Dental Care

By Shayan Shabir

SINCE the whole world is in the grip of covid-19 pandemic and all the routine dental procedures are suspended, there is a high viral load in the nasal cavity of infected patients, which especially puts dental specialty at risk for a SARS-CoV-2 infection as transmission is mainly by respiratory droplets. So it’s of paramount importance that the dental professionals reach out to people through technology and instruct them regarding various home remedies to relieve their dental problems. It’s true that not all dental problems can be treated at home but the pain due to many of these can be relieved at home temporarily (though permanent treatment is needed later on). This is the need of the hour and the public must know about it. So this article will be highlighting dental care from home with brief information on the causes of dental pain.

Toothaches are a common concern in almost every household. The causes may range from very simple to highly complicated. Some of the basic causes are Tooth decay (it is the primary cause for most children and adults), Dental caries / cavities, Exposed roots, Gum diseases (e.g recession ), Something stuck in between teeth, Severe flossing, Biting something hard, Impacted tooth, Tooth infection ( abscess ), Sinus infection, Dry socket (after surgical removal of tooth ), Defective restoration, some underlying health conditions.

The most common causes of severe tooth pain are: Pulpal pain, due to dentinal sensitivity, reversible pulpitis, irreversible pulpitis and necrotic pulp. Periodontal pain, due to acute apical periodontitis , acute periapical abscess , chronic apical periodontitis, periodontal abscess and periocoronitis.

There are many approaches to manage dental pain at home. Some of these are briefly discussed here:

CLOVES: Cloves are well known for their medicinal purposes (mostly for toothaches, mouth and throat inflammation). Throughout many years, clove oil has been used extensively. Many scientific experiments (mostly animal based) have proved the efficacy of clove oils. Clove oil contains many ingredients, chief among them is eugenol 90-95%,the properties and benefits of which are not new to dentists. Clove has powerful germicidal action, due to which it finds its use in toothache, sore gums and oral ulcers. It has antiseptic action, therefore can be used to guard the tooth from infections. It has anti- inflammatory action. Eugenol and other components of clove combine to make clove a mild anaesthetic.

Apply the oil directly to the affected area or dip a small piece of cotton in the oil and dab it on the sore tooth. If the clove oil is not available, crush the whole clove and place it on the gum where toothache is located.


A clogged sinus can cause pain in your tooth. So, steam opens the sinuses and relieves the pain.

WARM SALINE RINSES: A warm salt water rinse usually helps to reduce the intensity of toothache, when used frequently and regularly. Warming the water and adding a pinch of table salt to it can enhance its efficacy to a great extent. It can reduce or even be an alternative to anti-inflammatory drugs intra- orally. Its high osmolality reduces inflammation and can be microbicidal.

When there is enough salt in the mouth, exosmosis of water occurs from the bacterial cell. This causes dehydration of the bacteria and their consequent death. Thus, rinsing with 100-150 ml of warm saline three to four times a day can be an effective method for good oral hygiene. It can be of help in the removal of loosened food particles, dead cells and mucus from the oral cavity as well as in containing the local inflammatory process.


The application of a cold compress to the affected site can help relieve the soreness, swelling and bleeding. One can use ice creams to temporarily numb the affected area and alleviate the pain.

Many home remedies actually do work in alleviating dental pain temporarily. Not ignoring the fact that permanent treatment is must but in these times, maintaining social distance and not putting each other into potential risk of covid 19, hope this short communication will prove helpful to patients during these testing times.

  • The author is an intern at Government Dental College, Srinagar

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