Since toothaches are usually caused by infections in the tooth root, it's important to see your dentist promptly if you're experiencing one. But those hours (or even days) while you wait for your appointment can be excruciating! Here are some tips to manage the pain until it's time for your dentist appointment.

Take an NSAID-class pain reliever.

Not all over-the-counter pain relievers are created equal. For a toothache, you want to take one that is classified as an NSAID, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. These medications alleviate inflammation in addition to calming pain. Since an infection in your tooth root causes inflammation that presses on nerves and makes your pain worse, taking an NSAID should deliver substantial relief. There are three primary NSAIDS available over-the-counter in the US:

  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen (the active ingredient in Motrin and Advil)
  • Naproxen (the active ingredient in Aleve)

Apply some clove oil.

You can also address the pain from the outside inwards by dabbing a little clove essential oil on the sore tooth. This essential oil will help numb the area and keep pain at bay. It's such a popular option for tooth pain that you may find it in your regular drugstore in the dental care section. If not, you should be able to find it in a health food store. Its flavor is a bit unpleasant, but if you apply it to a cotton swab and dab it carefully on your tooth, you should be able to avoid tasting it too much.

Use an ice pack.

Usually when you have a toothache, sipping cold liquids or otherwise applying cold to the inside of the mouth makes matters worse. Your tooth is probably overly sensitive, and the coldness will register as shooting pains. However, applying cold to the outside of your cheek should ease the pain more effectively. Place a thin towel over your cheek (nearest the sore tooth) and then hold an ice pack against it. If you're having trouble getting the ice pack to form to your face shape, use a bag of frozen veggies instead. The cold helps alleviate inflammation, which in turn suppresses pain.

Once you get into your dentist's office, he or she can prescribe you antibiotics and hopefully remove the infected tooth material. If a tooth is causing you discomfort or if you have more questions about the remedies discussed above, contact your local dentist, like Kappenman Family Dental. If the pain is simply unbearable, consider contacting an emergency dentist rather than waiting for an appointment with your general dentist.