How to Soothe a Toothache When You Can’t Get to the Dentist


Toothaches seem to happen at the worst times—weekends, holidays, vacations, and any time you can’t make it to the dentist for a few days. While you’re waiting, you’re stuck with a relentless, throbbing pain that won’t go away. Only your dentist can resolve the cause of your pain, but until your appointment, you can do things to help lessen the discomfort.

Use a Mouth Rinse

Rinsing your mouth thoroughly can loosen any debris in your tooth or a cavity that might be making the pain worse. The right combination of ingredients can also work as an antibiotic to destroy at least some of the bacteria that might be infecting your tooth.

The simplest mouth rise is salt water, which can help reduce inflammation and soothe your mouth. You can also mix hydrogen peroxide with water. The hydrogen peroxide produces a bubbling effect. Commercial mouthwash does have antibacterial qualities if you can tolerate the strong taste.

Take Painkillers

Simple over-the-counter medications can help you manage aches and pains. If your tooth is infected, you may experience pain and swelling throughout your jaw and face. In rare cases, you could develop a fever. Acetaminophen, used as directed, can reduce pain and fever.

Ibuprofen, naproxen, and similar NSAIDS are particularly effective in reducing inflammation. Oftentimes the pain you feel is caused by inflamed tissues that swell and press against your nerves. Taking an anti-inflammatory can lessen the swelling and relieve the pain.

Use a Topical Anesthetic

Oral topical anesthetics are readily available at any store that sells dental products. These usually come in the form of a gel, lotion, or paste that you apply directly to the infected tooth and surrounding gums. An anesthetic mouth rinse is also available.

The anesthetic is absorbed by the tissues in your mouth and then goes to work blocking nerve endings from sending pain signals to your brain. They can be highly effective but work for only a short time. You’ll have to resist the temptation to keep applying it because it’s only recommended for use four times a day.

A toothache is a signal that something is seriously wrong that only a dentist can fix. But if you can’t get to the dentist right away, you can take measures to manage the pain. These easy, inexpensive measures can keep you functioning until your appointment.

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