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What are the Best Ways to Treat Tooth Pain?

By Sherry Holetzky
Updated May 17, 2024
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People who have serious tooth pain should see a dentist as soon as possible, since it's likely that a cavity or more serious problem is causing the discomfort. If it’s after office hours, however, or a dentist is not immediately available for some other reason, there are a few things that a pain sufferer can do to bring temporary relief. Rinsing the mouth with warm salt water, germ-killing mouthwash, or peroxide-based mouthwash may help people who have pain that seems to be caused by an infection. Rinses and mouthwashes can usually be found near the toothpaste in a grocery or other store.

If tooth decay has caused any cavities, or if fillings have loosened or come out entirely, tiny particles of food may become lodged in these areas, leading to pain. Unfortunately, removing those particles can cause more discomfort, especially when using a toothbrush or other implement. Sufferers should first try to remove particles using warm water or one of the suggested mouth rinses. The person can swish it around the affected tooth as needed.

While rinsing is unlikely to cure these problems completely, it will often ease tooth pain by dislodging particles that can cause irritation. Another option is to apply clove oil. People who use this treatment must be sure to buy a formula that can be used orally, rather than the essential oil, and follow directions on the bottle. Clove oil is used to fight both infection and pain, but users should be aware that it can sting and should be diluted before use.

Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever can be helpful as well. While simple pain relievers won’t generally eliminate the pain entirely, they can help lessen it. Crushing a tablet and placing it directly on the affected area is said to help ease tooth pain. There are also over-the-counter pain relievers that are available in powdered form, which are simpler to use.

Gels or drops designed for mouth pain are good options as well. There are adult strength formulas, but even teething gel meant for babies can help ease pain in a pinch. It will give the sufferer temporary relief, hopefully long enough to find a more effective solution. Individuals should check with a health care provider or pharmacist before using natural remedies or medications to ensure their safety, as well as to avoid potential drug interactions.

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Discussion Comments
By submariner — On Jan 30, 2011

@ Chicada- Will the burdock root remedies work for wisdom tooth extraction pain? I had my wisdom teeth out, and all I can feel is pain from my jaw to my sinuses. It also feels like there are pressure changes between my mouth and my sinuses. It has been painful for three days, if it does not cease soon, I am going back to the oral surgeon.

By chicada — On Jan 29, 2011

@ aplenty- A great tooth pain remedy for cracked teeth is a burdock root compress. I grind my teeth, and have had a few crack and need emergency root canals. Burdock is also known as bone mend, and it has a healing effect that helps stitch together breaks in bone and other calcium like materials.

To make the compress, you need to boil about a cup of burdock root in a couple of cups of water. After about fifteen minutes, turn of the boil and let the astringent sit. Scoop a spoonful of the softened root pulp into a piece of gauze, twist into pouch, and tie with a piece of dental floss. Put this compress over the tooth and bite down. Every few minutes, take the compress out of your mouth and soak it in some of the burdock concoction. Put the burdock back on the tooth and repeat a few times. After about a half hour, your tooth should feel better since the calcium and starch in the burdock root will form a seal over the exposed area, protecting it from air and liquids that cause pain.

By aplenty — On Jan 28, 2011

I have the worst toothache and it’s the weekend. How do I relieve this throbbing tooth pain until Monday when my dentist office opens? It must be some sort of exposed nerve because it is the most excruciating tooth pain ever. I almost feel like my tooth is cracked.

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