Tooth pain can be caused by a number of issues, from a cavity or abscess to gum disease, temporomandibular joint disorder, and more. Some of these issues are visually obvious or become apparent after a brief examination of the mouth. Other tooth pain – particularly pain related to TMJ or a hidden cavity – may be less apparent.
If you are unable to secure a dental appointment right away, try one of these at-home remedies as a temporary solution until a dentist can diagnose the issue:
- Over the counter pain relievers. OTC nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications like ibuprofen, naproxen, or acetaminophen are suitable for adult use and can help relieve pain temporarily. For children, stick to acetaminophen. However, avoid rubbing NSAID pain relievers directly on the gums – this practice can damage your mouth’s soft tissues and is no more effective than taking the medication as directed.
- Oral pain relief gels and liquids. Oral pain relief gels and liquids typically include an anesthetic like benzocaine. These medications can provide topical, short-term relief by numbing the affected tooth and the associated gums. However, pain relief is limited, and these products are suitable for short-term use only.
- Clove oil. If you are hesitant to attempt an oral pain relief gel, consider trying clove oil instead. Research suggests that it has anesthetic qualities similar to that of benzocaine and may provide similar pain relief. Pour a few drops on a cotton swab or gauze pad and apply it to the affected tooth or gum.
- Rinse with saltwater. Add ½ teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water and mix until the salt is dissolved. Gently swish the solution around in your mouth and spit to relieve pain and remove any excess food stuck around the affected tooth. If food remains, floss gently to remove any remaining particles.
- Try a hydrogen peroxide rinse. Alternatively, try a mixture of equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water. Swish this mixture in your mouth and spit in a similar manner to the salt solution. You mustn't swallow hydrogen peroxide in any concentration.
- Apply ice. If you’ve experienced a tooth knocked out or jarred loose as the result of an impact to the face, you will likely experience swelling in the area. Swelling without a sudden trauma can also be a sign of tooth abscess. An ice pack applied to the cheek or jaw can help reduce any swelling and address inflammation of the tissues surrounding your tooth – which can also help relieve pain.
While the above pain relief measures can provide a temporary solution to oral pain, the only lasting solution is attention from a trusted dentist. If you are unable to secure an appointment with your regular dentist to address your tooth pain, contact Emergency Dental Service at 1-888-350-1340 or request help online. Our team of professionals can help you find an emergency dentist near you to restore you to proper oral health.