How to stop a toothache ASAP

Young woman with toothache putting ice bag on mouth

How to Stop a Toothache ASAP

Do you have a sharp pinch when biting down, a dull ache after drinking a cold or hot drink, or a throbbing sensation after chewing? If so, you may have a toothache. While a toothache isn’t life-threatening, it can be incredibly painful, and you will want to seek relief immediately. Here are a few at-home treatments to help you deal with the discomfort until your dentist can provide more long-term care with Washington Court House Dental.  

What is a Toothache?  

A toothache is a pain in or around a tooth that’s often a sign of something wrong with your tooth or gums. It’s a common oral health condition, with more than 40% of adults experiencing some kind of pain in their mouth annually.   

Common symptoms of a toothache include:   

  • Swelling around the tooth  
  • A bad odor from the mouth   
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold food or drink  
  • Foul-tasting drainage from the infected tooth   
  • Sharp, throbbing, or constant tooth pain. In some people, pain results only when pressure is applied to the tooth, such as when biting down on something.  

What are Common Problems That Cause Tooth Pain?  

Several things can cause tooth pain, but the most common ones include:  

  • Tooth decay (cavity): This is the most common reason for toothaches. Cavities are caused when the acids produced by bacteria in plaque break down the tooth enamel forming holes. Left untreated, the decay will eventually reach the pulp (innermost part of the tooth containing blood vessels and nerves), resulting in pain and an abscess (a severe infection).   
  • Poor oral hygiene and health: One of the many reasons for toothache is poor dental hygiene. Plaque buildup caused by poor oral hygiene may result in severe tooth decay or gum infection, which, in turn, causes tooth pain.  
  • Grinding of teeth: This can wear down your teeth and stress the ligaments and roots of your teeth, which may cause them to ache.    
  • Cracked or chipped teeth: A broken or cracked tooth can cause a painful toothache. A break in the tooth enamel can expose the pulp, and if that area becomes inflamed or infected, the pain can be excruciating.   

How Can Tooth Pain Be Managed?  

Here are some steps you can take to help alleviate your tooth pain:

  • Warm water compress: If your toothache is associated with swelling, holding a warm water compress against the affected side of your face (20 minutes on, then 20 minutes off) can help. The heat interrupts the pain signals traveling from your mouth to your brain, relieving pain.   
  • Saltwater rinses: A simple saltwater rinse to ease your pain. Stir a ½ teaspoon of salt into a warm glass of water, swish it around your mouth, and spit it out. Saltwater can loosen debris between your teeth, act as a disinfectant and reduce inflammation.  
  • Peppermint tea: Peppermint tea contains an active ingredient called menthol, which has numbing properties and can help relieve a sensitive tooth. Make a cup of peppermint tea, then apply the teabag to the affected tooth after it has cooled down. You can then swish the tea in your mouth to enjoy further pain relief.  
  • Over-the-counter pain medication: OTC pain relievers such as ibuprofen and Tylenol (acetaminophen) are anti-inflammatory and can help reduce tooth pain.   
  • Clove oil: This is a natural antiseptic that reduces inflammation and numbs pain. Add a drop of clove oil to a small glass of water and rinse your mouth thoroughly or dab a small amount of clove oil on a cotton ball and apply it to the painful area.  
  • Garlic: Another way of managing tooth pain at home is by making a paste of crushed garlic clove and applying it to the affected tooth and the surrounding area. Garlic can kill bacteria and relieve pain.   

When Should You Visit the Dentist for a Toothache?  

Toothaches can range in severity from mild to severe. While some toothaches are temporary and will resolve independently, more severe cases can be considered dental emergencies as they require immediate attention from a dentist.   

If you have a fever, headache, earache, or pain when opening your mouth wide, a toothache that lasts longer than 1 or 2 days, or a severe toothache, visit your dentist as soon as possible to treat it. The longer you leave it, the worse it will get.  

Get Toothache Relief Today!  

Because toothaches often indicate underlying oral health issues, such as an infection, tooth decay, and cavities, it’s important to visit your dentist for proper diagnosis and treatment. If you’re in Washington Court House, Ohio, and have a toothache, please contact us today to schedule an appointment! 

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