The best ways to get rid of a toothache

If you’ve ever had a toothache, you know how uncomfortable and annoying it can be. Unfortunately, toothaches are a common oral health condition that nearly everyone has experienced.

It’s important to contact your dentist if you have a toothache that lasts for more than a day or two. It may indicate a more serious oral health problem such as an infection. However, there are things you can do in the meantime to reduce pain associated with the toothache. Try these remedies until you can get in to see your dentist.

Rinse with saltwater

Rinsing with saltwater is a go-to for many people dealing with problems such as toothaches, sore throats, and more. Mix a teaspoon of salt with a cup of warm water until it is dissolved and then swish around the mouth for at least a minute. Saltwater can help loosen any trapped food particles in the teeth and may also help reduce inflammation in the mouth. Try rinsing a couple of times a day to help get rid of toothache pain.

Use a cold compress

If you have ever had a sprained ankle or trauma to a body part, you may have used a cold compress to help stop the pain. The same approach can be used for toothaches. To make a cold compress, wrap a bag of frozen food (peas are a favorite option for many) or ice in a towel. Apply the cold compress to the side of the face the toothache is (make sure to use it on the outside of your face only) and keep it on for at least 20 minutes. Cold causes blood vessels to restrict which helps reduce pain.

OTC topical anesthetics

If at-home remedies are not helping with the pain, it may be a good idea to try OTC (over the counter) topical anesthetics to numb the area. Popular options that can be found at nearly any supermarket include Orajel or Anbesol. Topical anesthetics usually contain lidocaine or benzocaine that are applied directly to the gums and help numb tooth pain.

OTC pain relievers

If tooth pain becomes too uncomfortable before you can see a dentist, using OTC pain relievers may be a great option for you, such as Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Aspirin, or Acetaminophen. As always, it’s important to consider side effects, drug interactions, and allergies before taking any pain medication. Be sure to talk with your dentist or health care provider to help select the right option for you.

When to see a dentist for a toothache

It’s a good idea to see a dentist for any toothache that lasts more than a day or two. However, if you experience any of the following symptoms with your toothache it’s important to see a dentist as soon as possible:

  • Fever
  • Swelling
  • Abnormally red gums
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Pus or discharge in the mouth

These symptoms may indicate a more serious problem such as a dental abscess or infection that needs to be treated in office.