How to stop a toothache
For temporary relief try one of these top proven methods until you can get to the dentist.
1) Take an anti-inflammatory.
You can reduce swelling and blunt pain signals by taking an anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen. If you do take ibuprofen, try to continue taking the medication every few hours, according to the product label. Avoid taking the medication once and then stopping when you feel relief, or the pain and inflammation is likely to return. If you don’t have ibuprofen, you can take acetaminophen instead; however, while this will help with the pain, it isn’t an anti-inflammatory medication.
2) Rinse with salt water.
In addition to over-the-counter medications, there are some natural ways to stop a toothache. You can clean infections and promote temporary pain relief by rinsing your mouth with warm salt water. Treating a toothache with salt water can also help heal any oral wounds and reduce inflammation. Just make sure not to swallow any of the salt water while you rinse.
3) Apply a cold compress.
Apply a cold pack or bag of frozen vegetables to the side of your face for 20 minutes at a time. Just be sure to use a piece of cloth as a buffer, so you don’t accidentally damage your skin. This can help alleviate discomfort by blunting pain and reducing swelling.
4) Use Medicated Ointments.
Some medicated ointments may also help reduce toothache pain. OTC numbing gels and ointments that contain ingredients such as benzocaine may numb the area.However, benzocaine is not suitable for use by young children.
What to Expect at the Dentist.
To treat your tooth pain, a dentist will first review your medical history and conduct an exam. He or she will ask specific questions about your toothache, including when it started, where it is located, how severe it is, what makes it feel worse and what makes it feel better. The dentist will then examine your gums, teeth and any other relevant areas. X-rays and/or other tests may be needed to determine the exact cause of the problem.
Once the dentist determines the cause, he or she will outline available treatment options. For cavities, you may need a filling. If the tooth’s nerve is infected, you may require root canal therapy. If the area has become infected, the dentist may prescribe antibiotic medication to kill bacteria.
Depending on the seriousness of the issue, you may receive treatment immediately or a few days after your exam. If the latter occurs, your dentist may choose to prescribe pain medication to help you cope with discomfort while you wait.
Tiana Pham, DDS staff