5 Dentist-Approved Toothache Pain Remedy Options

Jamie J. Alexander on February 25, 2022

“There are many causes of dental pain,” says Dr. Jamie J. Alexander of Boynton Beach, Florida. Sometimes a toothache is the result of sinus pressure, but often it is a sign of damage to the tooth. Damage may be in the form of enamel decay or a crack in the enamel that has exposed sensitive tooth roots to hot and cold temperatures and oral bacteria. Sometimes there is an infection festering inside a tooth or the surrounding gum tissue. Wear and tear on a weakened tooth may cause it to break, exposing sensitive roots. A traumatic blow to a tooth often causes swelling of tooth ligaments and nerves, as well as surrounding gum tissue. And sometimes gum pain is misconstrued as a toothache. Fortunately, there are some toothache pain remedy options that are dentist-approved!

A trip to the dentist to diagnose the source of the pain will not only calm your worries but also make it possible to treat problems before more extensive treatment is needed.

“It’s easy to assume the worst when the pain becomes acute. It’s also easy to delay diagnosis and treatment if the pain is minor. Whenever there is acute pain, I try to see patients the same day they call. Whenever our patients are in pain, I advise them to let us know as soon as possible,” says Dr. Alexander.

What can I do to alleviate a toothache before I see the dentist?

Before your dental appointment, here are five things you can try, which have been proven to help alleviate dental pain. These things will not treat the cause of your toothache but will help you cope until you can see the dentist for needed treatment.

Over the Counter Pain Killers

Anti-inflammatory medications reduce swelling and the pain related to swelling pressure. Anti-inflammatory medications like Motrin, Advil, and Tylenol can make your toothache more manageable while you wait to see the dentist. These over-the-counter painkillers are not recommended for children. In the case of children, dentists advise a child’s dosage of acetaminophen. Take all over-the-counter pain medications only as directed by the package instructions.

Swishing with Warm Saltwater

Swishing with warm salt water relieves pain and cleanses the area. If food has become impacted in the gum tissue or between teeth, this swishing will help remove the debris. If an infection is present, the warm salt water will help clean away the infection. If swelling is occurring around a tooth or where a tooth is erupting through the gums, the warm salt water will relieve the swelling.

Note that salt-water therapy, like anti-inflammatory medication, is a temporary solution. To make a therapeutic saline solution, add a half teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water. Rinse your mouth for up to 30 seconds and then spit it out. Repeat this a couple of times, then wait for a half-hour or so before swishing again. Ingesting too much salt can be harmful, so avoid swallowing the salt water, and rinse your mouth with plain, warm water after swishing the saltwater.

Rinsing with Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide helps eliminate harmful bacteria and will help prevent an infection from worsening. For temporary relief, you can mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water and swish this solution for thirty seconds. Hydrogen peroxide is likely to burn the soft tissue of your mouth if you do not adequately dilute it, so refrain from more than 50% and do not swish longer. As in the case of saltwater, be careful not to swallow it. Hydrogen peroxide can cause stomach and intestinal problems if ingested. Swish with warm water and spit after using a hydrogen peroxide rinse.

Rinsing with Baking Soda Solution

If you have a toothache or painful mouth sore, dentists recommend mixing two teaspoons of baking soda into a glass of water and using it as a mouthwash. This is a gentler solution than hydrogen peroxide and is known to also reduce mouth discomfort associated with chemotherapy. But like saltwater and hydrogen peroxide solutions, it can upset your digestive tract if much is ingested. Therefore, rinse and spit, then rinse your mouth with warm water.

Application of Ice Packs

Wrap a towel around an ice pack or bag of frozen peas or corn, and then press this against the outside of your face near the painful area. By resting cold against your face for 15 to 20 minutes, it will help with swelling and provide a slight numbing effect. Do this on and off, waiting 20 to 30 minutes before using the ice pack again.

When should I call the dentist?

We urge our patients to call us whenever their teeth feel different or their mouth is sore and the soreness cannot be easily attributed to a temporary cut or burn. You do not need to wait until you are experiencing acute or chronic, nagging pain in a tooth or on your gums, or anywhere on the soft tissue of your mouth. Over the phone, we will sort out true emergencies that warrant same-day care. No matter what your discomfort is, we will find an appointment time that meets your needs, so Dr. Alexander can evaluate the nature of this discomfort.

If you have recently had a tooth extracted or other oral surgery, swelling and pain at the site of the surgery are to be expected for up to three days. Ice packs combined with over-the-counter pain medication usually calm the painful swelling. Warm salt water rinses are a gentle way to promote healing. If you have concerns about the acuteness or nature of your pain, first call the office of the doctor who performed the procedure and expresses your concern.

At Jamie J. Alexander, DDS, in Boynton Beach, FL, we believe every patient deserves quality dental care. We invite new patients and existing patients to give us a call about toothaches and other dental needs.