A toothache can be bothersome at best or flat-out painful at its worst. The feeling can be a dull ache or a sharp stabbing sensation, and if left untreated, the toothache can turn into a serious oral care problem for you. That’s why we decided to share a few, simple ways to proactively treat the symptoms at home, and when it’s a good idea to see your dentist.
WHAT IS THE TOOTH ACHE?
A toothache may mean you have a cavity but it can also be a sign of gum disease. Sometimes, a toothache means you have an abscess or impacted tooth. An abscessed tooth is an infection that’s caused by tooth decay, gum disease or a cracked tooth. An impacted tooth is when there is a lack of space in your mouth and the gum is covering part of the tooth. Typically, we see this happen when a wisdom tooth needs to be removed.
- WARM SALT WATER: This is an easy and natural disinfectant. You can mix salt with warm water and gargle the mixture in your mouth. The water helps to rinse out any particles stuck between your teeth. Salt water has also shown to decrease inflammation and treat oral wounds.
- ICE PACK: If you have a pain in your mouth, a cold compress may help reduce swelling or inflammation. You can fill up a plastic bag with ice and wrap a towel around it. There are reusable ice packs which you can buy which may also do the trick. If you have a frozen bag of fruit or peas, that works too! In fact, a study from Coventry University found that a bag of peas worked better than a gel pack.
- PEPPERMINT: If you have peppermint, this may end up temporarily easing your pain. Peppermint has been proven to reduce pain due to its numbing properties. Essential oils containing peppermint can help too.
- OVER THE COUNTER MEDICINE: There are painkillers available at the drug store that can help reduce the pain. Ibuprofen and/or Acetaminophen are best for toothaches, because they contain anti-inflammatory ingredients. There are several brands that can help you treat your symptom, such as Motrin, Advil or Tylenol.
WHEN SHOULD I GO SEE MY DENTIST?
If your pain lasts more than 1-2 days, we recommend a visit to your dentist. A toothache can be a sign of a serious, underlying issue.
“If you experience a toothache and no other symptoms, the problem may not be as severe. But we won’t know unless you visit us. If you have a fever, pus or red, swollen gums, then these are all red flags that the problem could be very serious,” advised Dr. Jason Kboudi, Advanced Smile Care.
“At-home remedies should never replace a visit to your dentist. These treatment options can only comfort you temporarily. But there is almost always an underlying reason for the problem that needs to be addressed. At some point, if the symptoms persist, you are going to need to see your dentist,” Kboudi stated.