You’re munching on a delicious, buttery tub of popcorn when you hear it… Crack!
This crack is usually followed by a sudden, intense pain in your tooth. And that pain won’t go away anytime soon.
Yes, a cracked tooth can be a real pain in the you-know-what (um, tooth?). And you can’t always make it to the dentist right away to get it fixed. That’s where we can help!
Check out this guide to the best pain relief for toothache pain.
Common Toothache Causes
Tooth pain is almost always caused by swelling inside the tooth or gum. In our example above, that swelling comes because of a cracked tooth. But there are other things that can cause these sensitive areas to swell too.
Your teeth, like a character in a romantic comedy, are tough on the outside and soft on the inside. That soft part on the inside, called the pulp, is full of nerve endings and blood vessels. A cracked tooth injures the pulp which causes it to become inflamed and painful.
A cavity is a hole in the tooth enamel that causes bacteria to seep into the tooth pulp and cause infection. And infected pulp quickly becomes painful. Get cavities filled right away to avoid this infection spreading.
Gum disease is another common culprit of tooth pain. It’s caused when the gums become weak and infected. This disease makes your teeth more susceptible to cavities.
Some people have more sensitive teeth than others. The more sensitive your teeth to hot and cold, the more pain you’ll suffer when you eat and drink. This pain can last for hours after you’ve finished your meal.
Do you grind your teeth at night? Grinding causes toothaches over time. And it’s responsible for headaches and jaw pain as well.
Wisdom is usually associated with good stuff like an open mind and an awareness of the world. But wisdom teeth are another story. These teeth grow in behind your regular molars in the back of your mouth.
Many times, wisdom teeth become impacted underneath the other teeth. This puts a lot of pressure on your teeth and on your jaw. And all that pressure leads to one heck of a toothache.
The Best Pain Relief for Toothache Pain
Remember that tooth pain is not normal. If you’re suffering from pain for any of the reasons above, you need to see a dentist asap. Here are a few ways that you can deal with the pain in the meantime.
Over-the-counter pain medications like Ibuprofen, Aspirin, and Tylenol are the best ways to relieve tooth pain fast. Plus, these medications have anti-inflammatory properties. So they’ll help bring down the swelling inside the tooth or gum.
Your dentist might prescribe stronger pain medication if your pain isn’t controlled by over-the-counter options. But it’s best to get the problem fixed so you don’t need medication at all.
If your tooth pain is caused by infection, you can help relieve the pain by rinsing your mouth with an antiseptic rinse. There are rinses available at your local pharmacy. But there are some natural rinses you can try too.
Saltwater makes an excellent rinse because it’s easy for anyone to make. Use 1/2 teaspoon of salt added to 8 oz of warm water. Swish the mixture around in your mouth.
Salt kills the bacteria inside the abscess. It also reduces inflammation by pulling fluid out of the swollen tooth.
Another effective rinse is hydrogen peroxide. It works in the same way as salt. And should be mixed with water to make it easier on the painful tooth.
Babies deal with tooth problems a lot more than us older folks. So take a page from a baby manual and use a topical anesthetic on painful teeth.
Orajel (or a generic variety) can be found in any pharmacy. Apply it to the tooth and the surrounding gum. It’s a cheap remedy and it’s fast-acting for instant results.
Elevate & Ice
If your tooth is swollen, your best bet is to sleep with your head elevated. This helps fluid to drain away from the area. That draining relieves some of the pressure on the tooth.
You can also try a cold compress. Cold makes blood vessels narrow, meaning the tooth gets less blood flow. Less blood flow to the area means less pain.
Cold is also a good way to reduce swelling and it helps numb the pain. Use an ice pack (or bag of frozen peas) wrapped in a thin towel. Apply this directly to the jaw and hold it on for as long as you can.
Avoid Certain Food & Drink
Hot and cold foods will irritate the tooth, so it’s best to avoid them until you can see your dentist. Also, avoid foods that are acidic, like citrus fruit or juice. These acids can eat away at the tooth and cause the pain to worsen.
Soda is carbonated, which adds to the acidity level. It also contains sugar which is bad for your teeth anyway. Stay away from soda if you can.
Also, avoid chewing on hard foods like ice and hard candy. Your tooth is already weak because of the underlying problem. Crunching down on these may make the problem worse.
Other Natural Remedies
Peppermint tea bags are a great way to help numb the area. Wet the teabag with warm water and apply it directly to the affected tooth. Never apply a hot teabag to a painful tooth.
Many people swear by chewing on a piece of garlic. Garlic has antibacterial and antiseptic properties. You won’t win a popularity contest, but the garlic can kill bacteria and offers a mild pain reliever.
Clove oil contains a natural antiseptic. You can apply it directly to the affected tooth to ease the pain. Or, if it’s too strong, mix it with a carrier oil, like olive oil, before you put it on your tooth.
See Your Dentist for Tooth Pain
To get the best pain relief for toothache pain, see your dentist asap. The remedies we’ve listed here are helpful, but your best bet is to correct the underlying problem.
It’s especially important to see the dentist if your teeth or gums are infected. You’ll notice that they’re red, hot to the touch, and may leak blood or other fluids. It’s important to get that cleared up before the infection spreads.
Worried that you might have periodontal disease? Here are 7 signs of periodontal disease that you need to get checked out asap.