Got a Toothache? Here's What You Need to Do

Posted on: 15 June 2016

When you have a toothache, it's tempting to ignore it and hope it goes away. However, this approach often makes toothaches worse. Rather than ignoring your toothache or trying alternative remedies that can be dangerous or ineffective, follow this step-by-step guide to relieve your toothache and address the underlying problem.

1. Book a Dental Appointment

Before you do anything else, book an appointment with an emergency dentist. You need to find out what is causing your toothache and get advice about treatment. Toothache can be a sign of advanced tooth decay, so it's vital to see a dentist quickly to stop the decay from progressing.

2. Use a Salt Water Rinse

Rinsing your mouth with salt water can kill bacteria and reduce swelling in your mouth. Therefore, it can sometimes help to relieve the pain of toothache while you wait for your appointment. Create your own salt water rinse by mixing one teaspoon of ordinary table salt with one cup of warm water. Hold this rinse in your mouth for two minutes to soothe your sore tooth.

3. Apply a Cold Compress

Swelling in the tissues around a damaged or decaying tooth can be very painful. Bring down this swelling by holding a cold compress against your cheek on the side where you feel the pain. You can create a homemade cold compress by wrapping ice cubes or frozen peas in a clean towel. Don't apply ice directly to your cheek or gums, as extreme cold can damage the skin.

4. Eat Soft Foods

Crunching on granola or chewing your way through a tough steak can make a toothache worse. Stick to soft foods like soup, oatmeal, mashed potatoes and fruit smoothies while you wait to see an emergency dentist. Note that your teeth might be more sensitive than usual to extreme temperatures, so you should avoid drinks with ice and allow hot foods to cool for a few minutes before you eat them.

5. Keep Your Mouth Clean

Although cleaning your teeth can be painful when you have a toothache, it's important not to neglect your dental hygiene. Use a soft brush to gently clean your teeth and continue to floss daily. If your sore tooth is too sensitive to touch, even with a soft toothbrush, use a mouth rinse with fluoride to keep your mouth as clean as you can.

6. Choose Pain Medicines Carefully

Don't use aspirin to treat your painful tooth. Aspirin raises the risk of bleeding from the gums during emergency dental treatment. Paracetamol and ibuprofen are better options for managing pain while you wait to see the dentist. Remember to follow the dosage instructions carefully.