No one wants to experience a toothache, but most people will have this type of discomfort at some point in their lives. You need to know what to do for a toothache until you can have your dental professional check it out. Whether you wake up with the ache or need tips for easing your discomfort until your dental appointment, follow these guidelines from us at Innovative Endodontics to ease the pain.
Before taking steps to find out what to do for a toothache, you should learn more about possible causes. In fact, your teeth may not be the origin of the discomfort. However, you should assume that your discomfort comes from a tooth until your dentist tells you otherwise. Only a thorough evaluation from a dental professional can determine the exact cause of your toothache.
Common causes of toothaches can range from minor to serious and can include the following:
In cases of a knocked-out tooth or severe discomfort with fever and significant swelling, visit an emergency dentist for care. These situations require immediate attention to help you avoid severe complications.
However, for milder toothaches, you might need to wait until your dentist opens to call for an appointment.
If you have a toothache, don’t waste time trying to find the source of the discomfort yourself. Save that detective work for your dentist. Instead, phone as soon as the dentist opens to set an appointment. The office will likely have you describe your symptoms so they can schedule you based on their severity. In the meantime, take pain-relieving methods for your tooth discomfort.
Floss around the tooth and brush your teeth well to remove any trapped food that could contribute to the discomfort. Even if the discomfort eases from flossing, seeing your dentist is still a good idea to rule out other possible causes of toothache.
Use ibuprofen or acetaminophen to ease pain from a toothache. Take only the amount directed on the bottle. Or, follow the instructions from your dentist for the amount to take if they gave you a different recommendation when you called for an appointment. When using pain medication, never place a tablet directly onto the painful tooth. You can cause more harm, especially with aspirin that has an acidic component.
Before using any topical gel for toothaches that contains benzocaine, talk to your dentist or endodontist—misusing these products could result in severe but rare side effects. Never use more than the dosage recommended on the package, and do not use these products in children younger than two.
If you have significant discomfort and swelling, place a cold compress on the cheek of the affected side. Wrap ice packs with a towel to make it more comfortable. Let your dentist know about the presence of swelling around your tooth, which could indicate an infection that needs attention soon.
Rinse out your mouth with warm saltwater. Warm water but don’t make it too hot. You want the temperature close to bath water so it will feel warm in your mouth without causing sensitivity. Warming the water makes dissolving the salt into the mixture easier.
Next, mix in a few teaspoons of salt until the mixture tastes like seawater. Swish the mixture in your mouth and spit it out.
Using a saltwater rinse can remove food from inside the mouth and offer pain relief from the warmth of the water and the salt.
Cloves are a potent spice from the unopened buds of the clove tree flowers. The oil produced from this spice yields a potential pain-killer for toothaches. In one study of people who’d had wisdom teeth extracted, those who used a clove oil-based paste as compared to a control group, a group treated with an antimicrobial gel. The researchers concluded the clove oil paste performed the best among the three groups on the metrics examined – wound healing, pain, infection, dry socket development, and inflammation.
When using cloves, mix the spice with water to make a paste. Dab a small amount of the paste onto a cotton ball and place it in your mouth. Alternatively, dilute clove oil and place a few drops of the diluted oil onto a cotton ball that you hold in your mouth.
You can also try to use a single clove as a lozenge. Avoid swallowing cloves or giving them to children. Their pointed structure can cause pain when swallowed whole. Using cloves in the mouth may require you to hold them in place for a few minutes for the full pain-relieving effect to occur.
First, you should see your dentist if you have a toothache, in most cases. A dentist may need to take x-rays and do an exam to find the cause of your toothache. After making an assessment, your dentist can fill a cavity in a tooth or refer you to have endodontic care. The latter applies if you need root canal therapy or endodontic surgery.
The only exception is for toothache in a tooth that you recently had endodontic care on. For example, if you recently had a root canal or endodontic surgery and develop discomfort in the tooth after initially feeling better, you should contact an endodontist. Feeling pain after the initial discomfort eases from root canal therapy indicates that you may need endodontic retreatment.
The best advice for what to do for a toothache is to visit your dentist. In some cases, you may only need a filing from your dentist or help with sinus problems from your physician. However, if you have a more serious condition, such as an infection, you may need root canal therapy or endodontic surgery. If your dentist recommends endodontic care to treat your tooth pain, schedule an appointment with us at Innovative Endodontics. With successful treatment, you can find lasting relief for your toothache.