How to Ease a Toothache Until Your Dentist Appointment

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Make an appointment with your dentist when you first notice tooth pain.
Make an appointment with your dentist when you first notice tooth pain. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Toothache is a general term used to describe all pain in or around a tooth. Common causes of a toothache include tooth decay and cavities, sinusitis, earache, ear or jaw injury, and in severe cases, an abscessed tooth. While a toothache should always be checked out by your dentist because they may be able to help stop the spread of decay, you may not be able to get an appointment right away. If your toothache isn’t severe enough for an emergency appointment, there are some things you can do to ease the pain until you can visit your dentist.

Topical Benzocaine Treatment

Apply over-the-counter topical antiseptic that contains benzocaine as its main ingredient directly to the tooth and irritated gum to help soothe toothache pain. Always use topical toothache remedies as directed by the manufacturer. The Mayo Clinic cautions against applying topical over-the-counter pain relievers onto the teeth and gums of children under the age of two because of a rare, but serious conditions called metemoglobinemia, which decreases the amount of oxygen in the blood. This condition can affect adults, but it’s much less common. Talk to your doctor before using a topical toothache remedy that contains benzocaine on children less than two years of age. Topical benzocaine treatments can be purchased at most drug and grocery stores.

Clove Oil

Often used as a natural home remedy for a toothache, clove oil may actually relieve pain from an aching tooth according to the Mayo Clinic. Clove oil, also called eugenol, can be purchased at many drug stores and natural health food stores on its own, or in a formula with other ingredients like benzocaine, designed to relieve pain. Avoid using clove oil in combination with other topical pain relievers. Irritation may occur.

Take Ibuprofen or Aspirin

Over-the-counter pain medications like aspirin and ibuprofen can help relieve temporary pain caused by a minor toothache. Take over-the-counter pain medication only as directed by the manufacturer, and avoid using the product more than recommended, as over-the-counter pain relievers can damage the lining of your stomach and your liver or kidneys. Don’t put over-the-counter pain relievers directly on your gums or teeth, as they may cause damage to tissue in the area according to the Mayo Clinic.

Practice Good Hygiene

Good hygiene is essential to maintaining healthy teeth and it’s vital when you have a toothache. Food particles can easily get trapped between your teeth, which can make pain worse, and if you have a cavity or abscess, food particles left between teeth can result in a bacterial infection. Rinse your mouth with warm water regularly and brush and floss after you’re doing eating or drinking anything besides water. Use an antiseptic mouthwash if you are unable to brush and floss right away.

Tips & Warnings

  • Even if tooth does start feeling better, make sure you keep your appointment with your dentist. Even if things feel better now, the pain will come back.

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