Toothaches are no laughing matter, especially when one affects you, your child, or another loved one. All too often, these aches occur in the middle of the night, interrupting sleep, or at other inconvenient times, which can put your life on pause as you determine how to get rid of it and keep it from reoccurring.
While applying a quick remedy is helpful, it’s important to understand that there is likely a serious cause behind that ache, and you’ll need to seek dental care as soon as possible.
While not all toothaches are emergencies, many are, and delaying help can lead to more problems down the road if not treated.
What Causes Toothaches?
A variety of issues can be causing that toothache, including a fractured tooth, damaged filling, an abscess, infected gums, or tooth decay itself. Depending on that underlying cause, you can experience more complications, like tooth loss and infections, if not treated as soon as possible by your dentist.
To start, see if you can identify any other symptoms accompanying the toothache, such as
- Swollen jaw or face
- Red and swollen gums
- Bumps in the mouth
- Sensitivity to cold, hot, or sweets
- Chipped, cracked, or broken teeth
- Missing or damaged filling
When you do meet with your dentist, make sure you tell them about these as well as the pain you are experiencing. Meanwhile, there are ways to ease the pain until you can get there.
How To Get Rid of a Toothache (at Least Temporarily)
To help alleviate a toothache, try the following at-home methods.
Apply Cold Compresses
A quick solution to an aching or throbbing tooth is to apply a cold compress to the outside of your face. These cold compresses can help numb the pain and lessen swelling.
Place a thin cloth, such as a washcloth or towel, over the affected side of your face, then apply a cold pack or even a bag of frozen vegetables for 15-20 minutes.
Rinse with Salt Water
One of the more simple and natural ways to alleviate a toothache is to rinse your mouth with warm, salty water. Salt water can ease the pain temporarily, kill bacteria, reduce infection-causing inflammation, and heal oral sores or wounds. Swish the rinse gently around in your mouth for a minute or more, and avoid swallowing.
Take Over-the-Counter Relief Medications
Take an over-the-counter pain and anti-inflammatory medication to temporarily relieve the toothache. These NSAID medications, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin, can relieve the pain and discomfort, as well as lower swelling from infections.
If you can’t take these medications due to other health concerns, try taking acetaminophen for the pain. Sometimes this will be all you need to rid your toothache, but if it returns even after three doses, contact your dentist. As an alternative, consider using an over-the-counter topical ointment instead.
Use Warm or Cold Peppermint Tea Bags
If you have peppermint tea bags in your cabinet, bring them out to help relieve a toothache. These tea bags can work by being either cold or warm.
If you prefer cold, place them first in the freezer for a few minutes, then apply them directly to the gums surrounding the aching tooth. Otherwise, immerse them in warm water before applying.
This solution works because peppermint has mild numbing properties that can alleviate tooth pain temporarily.
Apply Clove Oil
Throughout history, people have been using clove oil to help alleviate toothaches, and this is because of its ability to numb pain and reduce inflammation. It can also sterilize new wounds safely within the mouth due to a substance called eugenol, which is a natural antiseptic.
Place a small amount of the clove oil on a dry cotton ball and dab the area surrounding the aching tooth. You can find containers of clove oil at your local market of pharmacy.
How Your Dentist Will Help
In the vast majority of cases, getting rid of a toothache for good does require a trip to the dentist.
Start by contacting your dentist office as soon as possible and describe your pain and any other symptoms. Most dental offices will fit you in as an emergency patient and help not only rid you of the pain but also find the cause behind it.
Once in the dentist’s chair, your dentist will ask you specific questions about your pain and conduct an exam of the tooth, gums, and surrounding areas. You may need dental x-rays or other diagnostic tests to identify the underlying cause.
Once that underlying issue is confidently determined, your dentist will inform you of the treatments available. Much will depend on the level or extent of the issue, such as whether it is just a filling that needs replacing or an infection that requires medication, or even a root canal.
If treatment requires a short delay, your dentist may prescribe pain medication or suggest any of the methods listed above or others suitable for your particular issue.
Contact Us Today for All Your Dental Health Needs
While avoiding a toothache is always preferred, sometimes it does happen. If you or a family member experience one or any other dental health concern, contact our dental office in Findlay as soon as possible. Dr. Bateson and her team of professionals will provide the relief and treatment you need and continue to be here for you to help maintain good oral hygiene going forward.