There’s nothing worse than experiencing an emergency toothache – especially when your dentist isn’t available to call or visit for help.
But don’t fret!
Our Salt Lake City dentists are experts in emergency dental care and pain management. To help you relieve your pain, they have put together a list of the best home remedies to relieve toothaches before visiting an emergency dentist. This list includes:
- Warm saltwater rinse
- Over-the-counter pain medication
- A cold compress or ice pack
- Rubbing an ice cube
- Elevating your head
- Medicinal foods
- Visit your dentist
This list should help tide you over until you can visit your preferred dentist for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Because you must remember: Toothaches are a sign something is wrong – even when the pain goes away. Delaying or avoiding visiting your dentist can end up causing you more pain, more expenses, and more time-intensive treatments to solve your problem than merely having it taken care of at the first sign.
For example, listen to this true story about a home remedy gone wrong…
Why you must see a dentist for a toothache
We had an emergency dental patient come to us with severe swelling in his face. This cause of this was an infection called cellulitis, which can spread to your brain and become life-threatening if left untreated.
So, how did that infection form in the first place?
This patient informed us he had been filling a hole (cavity) in his tooth with over-the-counter dental paste for the past four years.
The paste likely helped prevent sensitivity issues, but it did not get rid of the cavity. In fact, it got worse. So much so that the cavity spread to the pulp (inside) of the tooth and turned into a potentially fatal infection.
Thankfully, it did not come to that. Our emergency dentist was able to drain the infection and treat his tooth with a root canal and crown.
Now, if this patient had adhered to the paste’s instructions on the packaging, which almost always advised you to see your dentist ASAP, he would not have been in this situation.
Most likely, if he had seen a dentist when he first noticed the hole, it would have been treated with filling – a simple procedure.
But instead, by band-aiding his problem with a home remedy for too long, he faced costs far more expensive than a filling, more time off work for appointments and recovery, and put his overall health at risk.
The moral of the story:
Home remedies should only be used as temporary solutions until you can see your dentist as soon as possible. Having your toothache or other dental problem examined early can save you time, money, pain, and your health!
With that, here are home remedies you can use as a temporary answer.
Home remedies for toothache relief
Rinse with warm saltwater
Saltwater has natural disinfectant qualities. It can kill harmful bacteria, reduce inflammation, promote quicker healing, relieve a sore throat, and more.
Here are steps for a Opens new tab to article on saltwater rinseswarm saltwater rinse:
- Boil water and pour it into a glass. Let cool until lukewarm.
- Mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt into the water.
- Swirl the saltwater rinse in your mouth for 15 seconds.
- Spit out the rinse.
Take over-the-counter medication
A tried-and-true method for relieving pain is taking an over-the-counter medication like Tylenol or Advil. Follow the medication’s instructions on the label.
Important note: Do not crush the medication and place it on your gums (old myth). This can cause adverse side effects like a chemical burn.
Apply a cold compress
Toothaches are often caused by inflammation. To reduce this swelling and your pain, apply a cold compress or ice pack to the inflicted site.
Our Salt Lake City dentists recommend using a bag of ice wrapped in a towel and applying it for 20 minutes at a time. Repeat every few hours as needed.
Side note: Inflammation is a common symptom of gum disease. If left untreated, you risk losing your tooth and increase your chance for other health problems like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Rub an ice cube
If you don’t have the materials for a cold compress, rub an ice cube between your thumb and your forefinger, until your fingers become numb. How does this help?
Opens new tab to WebMD websiteResearchers believe when your fingers send “cold” signals to your brain, they override the “pain” signals.
Elevate your head
Keep your head higher than your body to prevent a blood rush. An increase in blood to your head (mouth) can intensify your toothache. Additionally, if swelling or inflammation is present, this will help to keep it down.
Try using these foods
Here are seven different Opens new tab to Healthline websitefoods or beverages, which you likely have in your house, that are perfect for relieving toothaches:
- Garlic: Has many medicinal purposes. You can choose to chew a clove of fresh garlic or crush it into a paste and apply it directly to the affected area.
- Vanilla extract: Contains alcohol, which can relieve pain, and it’s an antioxidant, which can heal your toothache. Place a dab of vanilla extract to your finger or a cotton ball and apply it directly to the area.
- Clove: Is an ancient toothache reliever. Place a dab of clove oil onto a cotton ball and apply it directly to the inflicted site. You may want to dilute the clove oil with olive oil or water.
- Thyme: Has antibacterial and antioxidant qualities to treat tooth pain. Apply a few dabs of thyme essential oil with a few drops of water to a cotton ball and apply it to the affected area.
- Guava leaves: Have anti-inflammatory qualities. You can chew on guava leaves or boil them with water to make a rinse.
- Wheatgrass: Contains high chlorophyll to fight bacteria. Wheatgrass juice can be used as a mouthwash to relieve your toothache.
- Peppermint tea: Has numbing properties to soothe tooth pain. Make a rinse with it by placing one teaspoon of dried peppermint leaves in a glass of boiling water, steeped for 20 minutes. Once cool, swish it around your mouth and spit it out.
Final Tip: Visit your dentist
Our emergency toothache home remedies do not substitute for visiting the dentist. They should only be used as temporary relief. The best way to permanently relieve your symptoms and pain is to seek professional dental care.
At Legacy Dental, we highly encourage our patients to visit us if they experience toothaches or any other kind of abnormal behavior with their smile.
If your pain does not go away, call our emergency dentists in Salt Lake City to get emergency toothache relief.
Our emergency dental care includes same-day appointments, weekend and evening hours, and on-call Salt Lake City dentists ready to help you get out of pain.
If you’re not currently experiencing a dental emergency, save our phone number, just in case! You never know when you may need to call us.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November 2010 and has been completely revamped for comprehensiveness and timeliness.