Five Ways to Treat a Toothache
It happens to everyone. The tingle in that back molar has become a full-blown toothache. What can you do to relieve the pain until you can see your dentist? In addition to general purpose pain medication, here are five remedies you can try using common household items:
Clean the Tooth
Sometimes pain may be caused by food debris wedged between teeth. Brush and floss carefully and thoroughly, paying extra attention to the painful area. Follow with a salt rinse: a teaspoon of table salt dissolved in a cup of warm water and swished around the tooth. Do not swallow the salt water. This rinse can be repeated every few hours.
Not surprisingly, over-the-counter cough drops contain small amounts of menthol or benzocaine, which is how they relieve sore throat pain. Apply this same pain-relieving medication to the tooth by sucking, not chewing, on a cough drop positioned as near to the sore tooth as you can place it.
Another surprisingly effective home remedy is a hot tea bag. Dr. Bryan Murray says the tannic acid in tea relieves swelling and the heat from the bag creates a soothing effect. Soak the tea bag in hot, not boiling, water until it is completely saturated. Then apply to the sore tooth and gum area.
This is a time-honored remedy. Cloves are used primarily in baking, and are sold in the spice section. Dried cloves will be either whole or powdered. Place whole cloves against the tooth. Make a paste with powdered cloves and water or oil, and apply to the tooth. Oil of clove is available from pharmacies and natural food stores. Put a few drops on a cotton ball, and hold the cotton on the sore tooth by gently biting down on it. Remove the clove preparation after a few minutes, as extended exposure may be harmful.
External Cold Compress
Use a bag of frozen vegetables, such as peas or corn, or a bag of crushed ice to create a compress. Wrap the bag in a towel. Gently press the bag to the sore jaw for 10 to 15 minutes then remove so that skin does not become too cold. Wait at least 20 minutes to reapply. Note: you may refreeze the vegetables for use as a compress, but do not consume foods that have thawed and been refrozen.
Pain is a warning sign that a problem may exist. These suggestions are for temporary relief only. Any chronic tooth pain should be seen to by a dentist as soon as possible.