For many people, a toothache can be almost unbearable. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to get to a dentist quickly in order to get the problem resolved.
If you’re in the position of suffering from a raging toothache that can’t be treated immediately by a dentist, it’s always helpful to have some options for dealing with the problem temporarily.
Here we cover the common causes of a toothache, as well as suggest a number of easy remedies that can make a real difference to your pain levels, relieving discomfort considerably until you’re able to visit a dental professional and enjoy a more permanent solution.
What Causes Toothache?
The main reason that a toothache arises is due to inflammation of the tooth. Beneath the tough layer of tooth enamel which forms the exterior of a healthy tooth, there is a layer of spongy tissue (dentine) along with a nerve and blood vessels.
Normally the dentine, nerves and blood supply are protected by the enamel; when bacteria break down the tooth enamel and enter the inner part of the tooth, the body fights the bacteria using its immune system. Part of the immune system’s reaction to bacteria is the inflammation response, which results in swelling.
Whereas in other parts of the body swelling can extend outwards, within the tooth, swelling results in increased pressure on the nerve, as there isn’t anywhere for the swollen tissue to expand into. It is this pressure on the nerve that causes the significant pain that is experienced due to toothache.
Advil can Help when it Comes to Stopping Toothache
Obviously, if the key cause of the discomfort which comes from a toothache is due to inflammation, an anti-inflammatory can go a long way to relieving the problem.
Advil or some other form of the over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug is ideal if you wish to reduce the level of swelling within the tooth (and therefore the amount of pressure on the nerve which is causing the pain).
We suggest taking the recommended dose of Advil (or a similar ibuprofen-containing painkiller) three times a day, for a maximum of three days.
Whilst it is unlikely that ibuprofen will completely clear the discomfort, it should at least make it more bearable until you can get to a dentist to get the problem taken care of on a long-term basis.
Remember to read the dosing instructions carefully and don’t take more than the recommended number of tablets.
Stop Toothache with Natural Remedies
Although ibuprofen can work extremely well when it comes to reducing inflammation and swelling in an infected tooth, there are a sizeable number of people who aren’t able to tolerate ibuprofen or who prefer not to use pharmaceutical solutions for aches and pains.
A popular remedy that’s suitable for almost everyone is using a strong salt solution as a mouthwash up to five times a day. The solution is easily made by adding as much salt as possible (Himalayan or rock salt is best, although ordinary table salt will do) to hot water.
Stir the solution thoroughly and use as required. The salt solution works to relieve inflammation, as well as acting as an anti-bacterial agent.
Salt solution may not work for all cases, but it’s worth a try.
Clove oil – a natural painkiller
Found in some studies to be nearly as effective as Benzocaine, a drop of clove oil, applied at the site of the pain with a cotton bud, can provide excellent short-term pain relief. Clove oil can be particularly effective when the tissue around a nerve has eroded so that the nerve is bare.
As clove oil is a topical pain treatment, it’s important that it’s applied at the site of the pain. Some health professionals have raised concerns about the safety of clove oil, but as a short-term pain solution, many people find it highly effective.
Just remember that clove oil can be effective as long as the nerve is exposed.
Keep your Head High!
Most people will tell you that exercising, lying down with their head at the same level as their body or bending forward all increases the level of pain when they have a toothache.
This is due to changes in pressure in the circulatory system. Simple actions such as using an extra pillow when you try to sleep, avoiding undue exertion and making sure that your head stays higher than the rest of you can all go a long way to preventing a spike of unwanted additional pain.
It may also help to keep head movement to a minimum, as even a small movement may be enough to make the problem worse.
Remember to Visit your Dentist
Although all of the remedies listed above can provide some temporary relief from the misery which a toothache can bring, they are by no means a permanent solution.
It’s important to remember that inflammation is not the only cause of toothache – problems such as a gum infection, a foreign body lodged between the teeth or in the gum (often a fragment of food) or some sinus and ear, nose and throat conditions can all result in toothache.
This is why it’s important to consult a dental professional as soon as you can so that the right treatment can be provided to resolve the problem correctly. Often antibiotics will be required, as well as potentially a filling (if the issue is due to tooth decay) or even an extraction if the tooth is in very poor condition.
If the problem isn’t due to tooth decay, you may need to visit a doctor to ensure you get the treatment you need to treat the issue effectively.
Regular check-ups and a good dental hygiene regime can go a long way to minimising the risk of a painful toothache developing. Prevention is nearly always better than cure, so remember to keep up with your annual dental check-up appointments so that any issues that might result in a toothache if left untreated can be put right in a timely manner.
If you want to stop toothache in the short-term, any of the above remedies could be helpful; for longer-term solutions, your dentist should always be the first port of call.