Having a toothache can be very uncomfortable. It may affect how you eat, get in the way of sleep and everyday normal activities. Try to monitor your toothache over a 24 hour period. You should most definitely contact your dentist if you have a toothache that is persistent and not controlled by over the counter pain medication. If those symptoms are combined with a fever, headache or pain in your jaw, and trouble swallowing or breathing, call your dentist immediately.
While you wait to see your dentist, there are a few tips to treat toothaches at home.
Over the Counter Pain Medicine
When the toothache first develops, you will want to try to treat the pain with over the counter pain medicine like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen. Aspirin will work too, but do not rub it on your gums or the tooth. That is an old wives tale that does not work and could harm the inside of your mouth. Over the counter anesthetics also provide pain management. You can apply these gels or liquids directly to the sore tooth and gums. They contain a numbing agent called benzocaine, which can relieve the discomfort. Over the counter anesthetics are meant to be used only in the short term.
Cold Compresses and Ice
Researchers believe that ice can stop pain signals to the brain. If you find yourself with a bad toothache, take ice into the hand that is on the same side as the painful tooth. Rub the ice between your thumb and forefinger for seven minutes, or until the area becomes numb. If you are experiencing swelling, use an ice pack on the affected area. The compress should help manage your pain. Please be cautious while dealing with swelling to the face, because it could be a sign that you have an infection. Swelling combined with red gums and a high fever means that you should contact your dentist immediately. Your dentist will be able to assess the situation and treat you from there.
Rinse With Saltwater
While you are waiting to be seen by your dentist, try rinsing out your mouth with saltwater. Mix a half teaspoon of table salt with eight ounces of warm water. Swish the mixture around and then spit it out, do not swallow the saltwater. You can try to gently floss around the sore tooth to remove bits of food that could be stuck. You can also try to rinse your mouth out with hydrogen peroxide and water. This solution should be equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water. After you rinse, spit it out, do not swallow hydrogen peroxide.
Use Clove Oil
Clove oil is a completely natural way to treat the pain from a toothache. Rub it directly on the sore tooth, or you can soak a cotton ball with the clove oil and dab it onto the sore tooth. Like the over the counter toothache gels and liquids, clove had a numbing agent that helps relieve pain. Another natural way to treat a toothache is to make a homemade mouthwash from thyme oil. Add a few drops of thyme oil to water to make the mouthwash. Or, dilute the thyme oil with a few drops of clean water to a cotton ball and apply to the affected area. Thyme oil has powerful antibacterial properties and it is also an antioxidant.
Other Natural Remedies to Consider
There are a few more natural techniques to consider. Garlic has been used for years for its medicinal properties. It can kill harmful bacteria, and works as a natural pain reliever. Smash a clove of garlic until it turns into a sticky paste. Apply the paste to the sore tooth. Or, if it is not too strong of a taste for you, try chewing a clove of garlic on the side of the sore tooth, then spit it out afterward. Guava is known for having anti-inflammatory properties, and guava leaves have antimicrobial traits that can help manage pain, and keep the affected area sterile. Try chewing the leaves of guava or boiling the leaves to make into a liquid mouthwash. Finally, peppermint tea bags have a mild numbing agent that can ease pain for a short time. You can place the tea bags to the sore area while it is still warm, or place it in the freezer to cool. Either way, the tea bags give a nice natural option to choose from to control pain from a toothache.