Almost everyone experiences tooth pain at some time in their lives. And if you’re unlucky enough to be dealing with this issue right now, it might still be a while before you can see your dentist. In the meantime, your best bet is to find some reliable, safe ways to deal with the problem. Although there aren’t any permanent home remedies for tooth pain, there are plenty of ways to manage your pain in the time you’re waiting to see your dentist.
Tooth Pain Home Remedies
There are some standard things you can do for any toothache, no matter what kind of tooth damage it’s caused by. Standard home treatment for a damaged tooth can include any of the following remedies:
- Cold packs and hot packs: You can use a hot water bottle, or a microwavable bean bag as a hot pack. For a cold pack, you can simply use pack of frozen peas wrapped in a kitchen towel. Feel free to alternate between hot and cold packs depending on what feels most comfortable at any given moment. Just don’t use anything that feels too hot or cold.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers: Over-the-counter painkillers offer you one of the most reliable methods of treating your pain temporarily while waiting for your dentist appointment. If you’re dealing with a child, it’s always better to use acetaminophen rather than aspirin for pain relief.
- Salt water mouthwash: To keep bacteria from causing serious infections, it’s always best to use a mouthwash when you have a sore tooth. You can mix a ½ teaspoon of salt into a cup of water and use it as a mouthwash twice a day to fight bacteria while you’re waiting to see your dentist.
- Pain Numbing Gels: Your local drugstore should have some tooth pain numbing gel available. However, be sure to get proper instructions on how to use any gel you buy from your pharmacist, or carefully read the instructions. These gels aren’t a long-term solution to tooth pain, so be careful not to overuse them.
All of the above tooth pain remedies will be at least somewhat effective regardless of what tooth damage you have. But depending on whether you have an abscess or your tooth is cracked, for instance, you’ll have some unique problems to deal with.
Dealing with a Broken Tooth
If your tooth is broken, and you don’t have an infection, keeping the broken area of the tooth clean is an important part of avoiding a nasty infection. Your broken tooth is likely already hurting (although it some cases it might not), so getting an infection in a sore tooth is the last thing you need.
However, broken teeth often have sharp edges, or they feel too sensitive to brush. This makes it difficult to keep the broken area clean. The best way to ensure your tooth doesn’t get infected is to use mouthwash (either salt water or regular store-bought mouthwash) to remove bits of food that might be stuck and kill germs.
After thoroughly cleaning the area by rinsing it, you can use a piece of sugarless gum to cover sharp edges. You can also go to your local drugstore and ask whether or not they sell temporary dental cement, which can also be used to protect your broken tooth in some cases.
Keep in mind though – you shouldn’t leave a tooth that’s broken or cracked without dental treatment for too long. This can cause the problem to worsen, so book an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
Dealing with an Infected Tooth
Small holes in the surface of your tooth caused by decay, provides the perfect opportunity for harmful bacteria and tiny bits of food substances to get into your tooth. When the tooth becomes infected, a pus forms inside it, causing an abscess.
A dental abscess is usually extremely painful. But although small holes might be visible on the surface of an abscessed tooth, an abscessed tooth might have no visible damage at all in some cases.
Because an abscessed tooth is usually so excruciatingly painful, emergency dental care is probably your best option. While painkillers will help to relieve pain caused by an abscess somewhat, some abscesses can be so painful that you’ll still feel a lot of pain even if you use over-the-counter pain medication.
No matter what the cause of your toothache, it’s best to make an appointment to see your dentist within the first few days after the pain started. Because toothaches are usually linked to some form of tooth damage, seeing your dentist sooner rather than later can prevent further tooth damage, helping your dentist to save the tooth rather than extract it.