How to Manage Tooth Pain


Tooth pain can get quite intense to the point where it disrupts life, making it difficult to eat, sleep and concentrate. Unfortunately, toothaches tend to strike on nights, weekends and holidays, when the dentist's office is closed. Fortunately, there are methods that can be used to manage toothache pain until the sufferer can visit the dentist.

Things You'll Need

  • Toothache medicine
  • Pain relievers
  • Ice pack
  • Warm, soft foods
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Salt
  • Warm water
  • Cup

Take an over-the-counter pain reliever at the first sign of tooth pain. Be sure to take the medicine exactly as directed. An over-the-counter pain reliever such as aspirin, Tylenol, Aleve or ibuprofen will help to dull the tooth pain, making it more bearable.

Apply tooth pain medication to numb the tooth and gums. Tooth pain medications like Anbesol are typically found in gel or liquid form. While effective in relieving and managing tooth pain, the medicine must be applied frequently.

Apply an ice pack to the side of the face if swelling is present. Often, tooth pain is caused by a cavity that's become infected. If this is the case, swelling may be present on the face. Applying an ice pack to the side of the face for 20 minutes out of every hour will help to eliminate swelling, thereby reducing tooth pain.

Eat soft foods that require little chewing to prevent irritating the painful tooth. If chewing is necessary, try to chew on the opposite side of the mouth to avoid exacerbating the pain.

Avoid very cold or very hot food and drink, as this will shock the exposed nerve in the case of a cavity or broken tooth. Slightly warm food and drink will be the least painful when an individual is suffering from tooth pain.

Brush your teeth twice daily, despite the tooth pain. This will help prevent the formation of new cavities and in the case of an infection, this will help prevent the infection from worsening.

Dissolve a few tablespoons of salt in a cup of warm water and swish this around your mouth for approximately 5 minutes several times per day. This will help reduce the risk of infection, while dislodging trapped food that could be contributing to the tooth pain.

Keep your mouth closed and breathe through your nose. The cool air rushing past the tooth can shock an exposed nerve in the case of a cavity or broken tooth.

In the case of a broken or chipped tooth, press a warm piece of wax into the tooth defect. This will help prevent air, liquid and debris from coming in direct contact with the sensitive exposed nerve, thereby reducing the amount of pain that's experienced.

Visit the dentist as soon as possible. Generally, tooth pain does not go away on its own; it tends to get worse with time if left untreated.

Tips & Warnings

  • If a weekend or holiday is approaching, try to visit the dentist before the weekend or holiday arrives. Tooth pain can go from mild to severe in a fairly short period of time, so the sooner the problem is treated, the better.
  • Don't try to pull a tooth at home. This is extremely painful and often the situation is only made worse if the toothache sufferer accidentally breaks the tooth while attempting an extraction.

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