What to Use for a Toothache
by Contributing Writer
Pain when you chew, move your jaw or when you go for that good night kiss is never a good feeling. When you experience a toothache, your mouth may require attention from a medical professional, but for immediate relief there are some remedies that provide a quick fix for the pain.
Common Ways to Ease Pain
While most dentists would advise you to come in for a visit if experiencing a toothache, there are a few remedies to ease the pain while you wait your turn for a chair at the office. First, rinse your mouth with tepid water, moving the liquid around and through your teeth in case a lodged piece of food is causing the discomfort. You may want to try dental floss to accomplish the same goal. Rinsing with salt water may also help relieve pain. Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever might help you sleep until your appointment, but doctors at the Mayo Clinic advise against rubbing crushed pain relievers directly on the gum or the tooth because it may burn your gum and cause even more pain. Rather, try an over-the-counter antiseptic with benzocaine or oil of cloves (eugenol) for direct application to the gum or tooth as a pain reliever.
Alcohol produces numbing effects, and Dr. Corn, director of the Pennsylvania Academy of General Dentistry, recommends a shot of whiskey to kill the pain of a toothache. Instead of quickly swallowing the whiskey, hold it over the site of the pain in your mouth for a few seconds and then spit it out. An ache in the tooth is often related to nerves and what better way to calm your nerves than a massage. The nerves in your tooth may be connected with the nerves in your hand. According to a study done by Ronald Melzack, Ph.D., a Canadian researcher and former president of the International Association for the Study of Pain, massaging the area of your hand where the thumb and forefinger meet with ice can reduce toothache pain by 60 to 90 percent. Apply the ice for 5 to 7 minutes. Sucking on some ice is another option, but this technique simply serves to numb your mouth, just like putting ice on a sprained ankle to dull the hurt.
When to See the Dentist
While some methods may solve the problem, if you continue to experience pain for more than a day or two, you should schedule a visit with your dentist. A visit to a medical professional is also in order if you experience a fever with tooth pain, as this may indicate an infection that could spread if not treated. Also, if you have trouble breathing or swallowing, an immediate visit to your dentist or to the emergency room is recommended. If an infection has spread, it may cause your windpipe to close off, according to an article by health reporter Sarah Henry.