DIY Dentistry and Dealing with Dental Emergencies

DIY Dentistry and Dealing with Dental Emergencies

At Dental Fear Central, we realise that you may be tempted to perform DIY dentistry rather than face a dentist. Please note that this is neither recommended nor endorsed – this is strictly damage-limitation territory. Dentists have many tales to tell of people too frightened to receive dental care – these tend to involve attempts at cutting out teeth and inappropriate use of superglue. Before you attempt anything downright dangerous, have a look through our website – and find a dentist who is right for you. He or she is out there.

Even if you have found the dentist of your dreams, you can find useful tips for dental emergencies on this page.

Pain Relief for Toothache

The best over-the-counter painkillers for toothache are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs for short. These include ibuprofen, or even better, ketoprofen if you can get hold of it. Ibuprofen is sold both as a generic version (cheaper!) and under many brand names. The most common are Nurofen (UK) and Advil and Motrin (US). Ketoprofen is either sold under its “real” generic name or under a whole host of tradenames – just ask your pharmacist for “Ketoprofen”. Dentists may prescribe 800mg Ibuprofen every four to six hours as an alternative to narcotic pain relievers. Do not take these if you have asthma and always read the label for contraindications!

Paracetamol/Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or even aspirin (Disprin) are also pretty good for dental pain. Some people have reported that Paracetamol with Codeine has worked for them when other pain meds wouldn’t. However, dental pain often comes from inflammation and pressure on various tissues and nerves of the face. NSAIDs can be better for dental pain because they are both pain relievers and good anti-inflammatories (vs. acetaminophen which is only a pain reliever). It can be very dangerous to take too much paracetamol/acetaminophen.

For contraindications, side-effects and maximum doses, always read the label!

DO NOT PLACE ASPIRIN ON OR AROUND THE SORE TOOTH! It can burn your mouth and harm your teeth. If you’ve been doing this all along, don’t worry too much about it – but stop doing it :grin: .

Another product which occasionally gets good reviews for alleviating dental pain are over-the-counter dental anaesthetic gels, pastes, or liquids, such as Anbesol, Orajel or DenTek Stix. “Maximum strength” versions (20% benzocaine) are available. The problem is that the effect doesn’t last very long :sad: .

It’s been mentioned that alternating Ibuprofen with codeine can help if you’re on the maximum Ibuprofen dose, for the hours in between when the Ibuprofen has worn off. Again – this information is provided for entertainment purposes only, and by using this website, you agree that Dental Fear Central shall not be held responsible for any consequences should you decide to act on the information provided.

If a cavity is causing your toothache, you could try rinsing your mouth with warm water and using a toothpick to remove food from the cavity. Soak a piece of cotton with oil of cloves and pack it into the cavity, but be very careful not to get any oil onto your tongue, gums, or other soft tissues. It really does help with the pain, but can cause local irritation, ulcers, and allergic reactions if it gets into contact with soft tissues.

“If your pain is from nerve damage and you are getting the spontanous night pain try sleeping in a sitting position. The nerve and pulp chamber doesn’t get filled with fluid and blood and usually you don’t get that throbbing pain.

If the pain is from a broken tooth and you have an exposed nerve, if the nerve is still relatively healthy just covering it up will cause a great amount of relief. Take a piece of sugerless chewing gum chewed up and cover the nerve and tooth, it should help alot. I have had patients try it all to cover the nerve, shove cardboard in their tooth, air plane glue trying to seal the tooth, etc. but the sugarless chewing gum is your best temporary solution.”

If the pain is really, really bad and/or your gums or face are swollen, or there’s stuff oozing out around a tooth, or you have a fever, these may be signs of an infection or abscess. Please visit a doctor or, if that’s out of the question, the emergency department of your local hospital asap. You may need antibiotics to prevent the infection from getting worse and spreading.

Antibiotics kill the bacteria that are causing the swelling, tissue damage and infection and therefore help to relieve pain as well.

If you have cavities but cannot see a dentist yet due to fear or finances, you can find out how to stop cavities from getting worse here!

DIY Kits

Resist the temptation of superglue, and go for a dental repair kit instead. OK, it might mean an embarrassing encounter with a pharmacist, as well as having to face dentistry-related paraphernalia… but it really is a much safer choice. Boots stock the Dentanurse kit – click on the picture to find out more!

Have fun fixing teeth with this neat little kit, invented by a dentist… not a drill in sight! Which only goes to show that dentists are pussies.

Similar kits are available outside the UK – have a poke around your local drugstore for things like DenTek’s dental kits range (see below)!

And to add a touch of professionalism to your work, check out the “Dental Playbox”… It contains a dentist uniform, nurse uniform, set of theatre greens, play-doh Dr Drill and Fill, playmobil dental surgery, large puppet, teeth and toothbrush, set of chattering teeth, human biology box kit, four jigsaws, books, real equipment including gloves, surgical masks and dentists bibs and leaflets:

Repairing crowns, dentures and lost fillings

To temporarily re-cement lost crowns (“caps”), bridges, or veneers, use a temporary dental cement, such as Dentek Thin Set (see below). Denture adhesive (such as Fixodent in the US) may also hold crowns and bridges in place temporarily. If you’ve lost a temporary crown, it is always better to put it back on because it prevents tooth movement, and allows you to eat. If the temp crown fits the tooth well, and you can’t get to a pharmacy or drugstore, a simple toothpaste should be enough, although a denture cream is even better (but not everyone has that lying around).

You can check out DenTek’s range of repair and emergency kits below to see what kind of kits are available – similar kits are available from other manufacturers:

Toothache Kit:

Contents include Temparin temporary filling material (see below), cotton swabs, wooden applicator, toothache medication, and toothsaver. Caution: Do not use if there is throbbing pain or swelling in the affected area.

Be careful not to get the medication (eugenol a.k.a. oil of cloves) onto gums, tongue, and other soft tissue!

Temparin Temporary Filling Material:

For lost fillings: Wash affected area with warm water, dry with cotton swab. Using the wooden applicator, scoop a small amount of Temporary Filling Material and place into the cavity, pack tightly. Bite down and clench teeth together, lightly grinding a couple times to create a comfortable bite. Remove excess product from around area. Avoid chewing on repair for an hour to allow the material to set.

For loose crowns (caps) or inlays: Carefully rinse tooth area and inside of the crown, cap or inlay with warm water and dry thoroughly with cotton swab. Using wooden applicator, scoop a small amount of Temporary Filling Material and place evenly inside the crown, cap or inlay. Place the crown, cap or inlay on tooth and carefully bite down, applying enough pressure to secure in position. Use a toothbrush to gently clear excess material from around crown, cap or inlay. Avoid chewing for an hour to allow the material to set.

Caution: do not use this to make your own fillings! If you don’t remove all the decay (not doable without special handpiece) beforehand, the decay will spread and result in a painful abscess. You’ve got a better chance of keeping the area clean if you don’t make your own fillings.

QuickStix Oral Pain Swabs (topical anaesthetic):

Contains 20% Benzocaine for maximum pain relief. Also safe to treat canker sores and sore gums.

Using the swab tip, apply a small amount of medication to the affected area including the surrounding gum or oral tissue. Use up to 4 times daily or as directed by a doctor or dentist.

Caution: Don’t use this product continuously. Do not use if you have a history of allergy to local anesthetics such as procaine, butacaine, benzocaine, or other “caine” anesthetics.

Thin Set Cap & Crown Cement:

See instructions for further details. ThinSet can also be used to temporarily recement veneers, not just crowns (“caps”).

Please note that such products are meant to be temporary measures – so don’t expect them to last long (4-5 days if you’re very lucky).

Stopping tooth decay from getting worse

“Preventing a cavity from getting worse involves some major changes to your eating and drinking habits.
Don’t eat ANYTHING between meals. Don’t sip on sodas or tea/coffee between meals. If you’re thirsty drink water. I’m assuming you get 4 meals a day here…

Next thing to do is when you’ve finished brushing your teeth, get a blob of paste on your finger (make sure you’re using Fluoride paste!) and rub it into the cavity. Do not spit or rinse after brushing.
Make sure that nothing goes into your mouth last thing at night after your toothbrush, (no innuendo here, thank you :wink: !). During the night your saliva is switched off so stuff lying on your teeth festers all night long.”

Cosmetic DIY Dentistry

If you’re up for an artistic challenge and you enjoy needlepoint, macrame, scrapbooking, and painting ceramic penguins, then Cosmetic Dentistry may be your thing!

Don’t succumb to societal ideals of beauty!

Set up your very own dental lab, with cosmetic teef from Imako!

Oh… go on then – choose Imako instead!

Dr Bukk’s ministry is to end the suffering of those who look too good or too bad… whatever! Tired of looking so good? No? Then you might want to check out Imako ™ Cosmetic Teeth, which you can get from Dr. Bukk Inc.! Although this smacks of yet another novelty product, apparently it works rather well. As one of our readers said:

“It is made by the same company that makes those “plastic” vampire teeth. They’re very popular for Halloween in the US. Anyway, it (imako) is a sort of thin shell that fits over a person’s natural teeth. It’s made (supposedly) to look like a perfect, straight set of upper teeth. Personally, I don’t think it looks all that realistic – the “teef” are bigger than my own, but it’s still a definite improvement in my case. It has a plastic backing which you melt in hot water, then mold to cover your teeth.”

You can even create your own faux partials! The review above was written when Imako was only available in a larger size, but now they’re also available in a smaller size which should look a lot more realistic if you have a smaller mouth.

Some caveats: they’re not suitable for eating with, and it doesn’t work if you have protruding (buck) teeth or any tooth that protrudes a lot, or if you have a cross bite (lower teeth out in front of uppers). Wearing them too much would also be bad for your gum health, so they should only be worn for special occasions (such as facing the world). For more info, see Imako’s site: Make Your Own Cosmetic Teeth!

If the whole cosmetic smile makeover is too much of a challenge, or if you’d like to just replace a single missing tooth, you could try TempTooth – a tooth replacement procedure that you can complete in minutes in the privacy of your own home! I asked one dentist what he makes of this product – here’s the answer:

“Yeah that looks interesting, but the esthetic results are a bit mixed :shock: . It sounds like some sort of thermoplastic tooth coloured material that people are warming up and adapting into the gap or perhaps a self-setting resin of some sort. I’d have to see the material and instructions to be able to say much more, but this wedging effect makes it sound like the material must be slightly pliable to try to lock into the undercuts around the teeth to keep it in place. It’s probably not the best thing to use, but in a pinch if it works in an emergency, why not hey? I just can’t comment on what long term effects something like that may have on the gums though.”


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