Can I treat my toothache at home?

Tooth pain can be all-consuming, making it hard to concentrate on or enjoy anything else. And a toothache doesn’t only impact your teeth or the inside of your mouth. If active infection is present, you may experience pain and swelling around the tooth in question. You may also have a fever, headache, or experience bitter-tasting drainage and a foul odor from the infected tooth.

Whether your tooth pain is dull, sharp, sporadic, or constant, you likely just want it to go away, and you want it to go away fast. But how do you know when you can use home remedies for tooth pain and when you need to see your dentist?

4 Home Remedies for Tooth Pain

Most toothaches are felt in the tissue around your tooth, not inside the tooth itself. Gum pain can point to a mouth sore, an abrasion, something stuck between your teeth, or an infection. If you are experiencing pain and are waiting to get in to see a dentist, stick to soft foods like yogurt and eggs and avoid anything exceptionally hot or cold. Soft, mild-temperature foods paired with a home remedy can help to relieve or stop a toothache, depending on its source.

1. Warm Saltwater Rinse

You probably know that gargling with warm salt water can help with a sore throat. But warm salt water can help your toothache too. Salt water can help gently rinse away food particles that are stuck between your teeth. And rinsing with salt water also serves as a disinfectant and helps reduce inflammation. Mix 1 teaspoon of salt with an 8-ounce glass of warm water and rinse as needed. Do not swallow the mixture.

2. Cold Compress

Cold can help soothe a toothache. You can make your own cold compress by wrapping a thin, soft towel around an ice-filled plastic bag. Or you can opt for a ready-made cold compress. Apply to the painful area for 20 minutes and repeat every few hours as needed.

3. Hydrogen Peroxide Rinse

Similar to a saltwater rinse, hydrogen peroxide can help relieve tooth pain temporarily. Use a 3% solution to help reduce pain and inflammation, diluting the hydrogen peroxide with at least an equal amount of water before rinsing. Do not swallow.

4. Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

The most effective over-the-counter (OTC) pain relief medication recommended by dentists is ibuprofen. Motrin and Advil are both popular choices and can be purchased in tablets, softgels, and oral suspension formulas. As with any OTC medication, be sure to follow the directions given by the manufacturer and your dentist.

Types of Tooth Pain and When To See Your Dentist

Now that you have learned 4 home remedies you can try, here are four common types of toothaches and how to determine if they warrant a dental visit.

1. Dull, Persistent Ache

This is most often caused by something that has become lodged between your teeth and gums. In rarer cases, it can be caused by an abscessed tooth or habitual teeth grinding. Most of the time, a gentle flossing and tooth brushing combined with one of our aforementioned home remedies for tooth pain will dislodge any food and you should feel the ache disappear. However, if the ache persists, it is always wise to go ahead and see your dentist before symptoms progress.

2. Temperature Sensitivity

Sensitivity to hot and cold isn’t uncommon, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t serious. If the pain goes away quickly, you may simply have worn enamel or mild gum recession. Try a sensitive toothpaste and limit your exposure to hot or cold foods or beverages for a few weeks (providing your symptoms do not worsen) to see if the discomfort goes away. If the pain lasts for 30 seconds or more, the temperature sensitivity may be due to tooth decay, dental fractures, worn fillings, exposed roots, or gum disease. In these cases, you should contact your dentist and schedule an evaluation.

3. Sharp Pain

If you are experiencing tooth pain that is sharp or jabbing, it is also time to schedule a visit to your dentist’s office. Home remedies for tooth pain will rarely work in these situations as this type of toothache is usually caused by a loose filling or crown that has fallen off. If this doesn’t apply to you, it is possible that your sharp tooth pain results from a fracture, wear, or tooth decay.

4. Throbbing Pain

This type of pain may be caused by loosened, knocked-out, broken, or cracked teeth. It can also be an indication of a jaw fracture. You may also be experiencing discolored, bleeding gum tissue or a strange taste in your mouth. All of these reasons warrant that you seek emergency dental care. If you believe you are experiencing a dental emergency, do not hesitate to call our Griffin or Hampton locations. Our team is ready to assist you as quickly as possible.

Allred Family Dentistry is here to help regardless of what kind of tooth pain you are experiencing.

If you are experiencing persistent tooth pain, it may be time to request an appointment. If your evaluation reveals that no additional treatment is needed, we will work with you to form an at-home oral care regimen that will address your specific symptoms. Together, you and the Allred Family Dentistry team can ensure your toothache goes away and that your oral health is taken care of. We look forward to helping you!