What Can You Do for a Toothache?


Quick Answer

Someone with a toothache should always seek a dentist evaluation to determine the cause of the problem. If the toothache starts in the middle of the night or on a weekend, however, using over-the-counter pain relievers and natural remedies may relieve the ache until it's possible to book an appointment.

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What Can You Do for a Toothache?
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Full Answer

Rinsing with warm salt water pulls fluid away from the affected area, reducing swelling and relieving pressure on the nerves. Food particles stuck between the teeth may exacerbate the problem, so someone with a toothache should also floss gently. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen are used to relieve pain and inflammation. For those who can't take these drugs due to allergies or other medical problems, putting a cool compress on the cheek also helps.

One of the most common home remedies for tooth pain is clove oil. This oil contains compounds that reduce pain and prevent infection. In one study, clove oil was just as effective as benzocaine at numbing the gum tissue above the canine teeth, reports the New York Times.

If clove oil is not available, benzocaine is also an option. This medication is applied directly to the gums to reduce irritation and relieve pain. Benzocaine should not be used on children under the age of 2 or people who have had a condition called methemoglobinemia, which causes the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream to drop drastically.

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