Toothaches can be extremely painful. In some cases, they creep slowly up on you over a period of days or weeks. In other cases, they come on suddenly. But the one thing about toothaches that is always true is that no matter when they occur, they never come at a convenient time. They may happen while you’re on vacation, on the weekend, or when you’re miles away from your dentist’s office. When you can’t seek immediate medical help for your pain, here are six proven strategies for toothache relief.
1. Apply a Cold Pack to Your Jaw
Sometimes the cold will numb the pain from your toothache. If you don’t have a gel cold pack available, you can substitute a bag of frozen vegetables or even a frozen steak. Just be sure to cover the cold pack in a towel so that you don’t injure your sin with excessive cold.
2. Apply a Heating Pad
If the cold doesn’t seem to be doing the trick, try applying heat with a heating pad. Set the heating pad to low, since the skin near your jaw may be sensitive to the heat. If it gets to be a burden holding the heating pad next to your jaw, try resting in an armchair with a pillow supporting the heating pad.
3. Rinse With Warm Salt Water
Sometimes if you have a toothache, rinsing with warm salt water alleviates the pain. Just a half teaspoon in a 12-ounce glass of tepid water should be enough. Stir thoroughly until the salt dissolves, then swish the water around your mouth in the area where the pain is. Don’t swallow the water – be sure to spit it all out.
4. Spritz With Sore Throat Spray
Sore throat sprays work by numbing the surface area nerves. You can try spritzing the painful tooth with a sore throat spray for temporary relief. Be sure to follow the instructions, because sore throat sprays are only intended for a limited number of uses in any 24-hour period.
5. Try Over the Counter Medicine
Some dentists recommend taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen for toothache pain until you can get in to see your dentist. Again, these medications are only intended for temporary use, so be sure not to exceed the recommended dosage.
If you can get some sleep, that will allow time to pass pain-free until you can see your dentist for help with your toothache. It may be hard to get to sleep with a toothache, but if you avoid stimulants like caffeine, it may be easier to get to sleep and stay asleep as long as possible.
It’s important not to ignore a toothache. Toothaches are often an indication of a tooth infection or something else. It’s very unlikely that a toothache will magically go away on its own. Even if it subsides for a few days, chances are it will rear up again in a matter of time. Professional help is always recommended whenever you have a toothache. Be sure to tell the dentist receptionist that you require an emergency appointment, so you can be seen as soon as possible.