It couldn’t have happened at a worse time. You have a sudden toothache… and there’s going to be a wait to see a dentist. This may be for a variety of reasons, like it being a holiday weekend or you may be away at a remote place. What can you do in the interim to keep the problem from getting worse. Having a toothache is enough of a stressor, but the wait can add to it.
Fortunately, there are a variety of things that you can find in your own home to at least manage the situation and sooth any aches that you may have until you can see a dental professional. That last part is the most important – do not assume that the tooth will automatically get better. Doing that can lead to it becoming drastically worse… like becoming infected.
This post assumes that you are not in such pain that you need to go to the emergency room. If you are, then go there. Otherwise, open up your pantry and see what you can do to relieve a toothache at home.
Think of this part as trying to halt the progress of the toothache. You want to keep it contained to that particular tooth and not have to worry about it spreading along your gums or other teeth. Then things can rapidly deteriorate and require a lot more work.
Get a large cup and fill it with very warm water. Find a container of salt and fill half a teaspoon’s worth. Dump that into the water and stir it vigorously. Take a mouthful and rinse out your mouth with it for 30 seconds before spitting it out into the sink. This can both disinfect the area and also jar any food particles loose. If you don’t have salt, you can use a diluted form of hydrogen peroxide. The peroxide has to be watered down… and don’t swallow it.
Cold compresses can be quite useful. It can keep any swelling down and also numb any pain. Generally, do it for 20 minutes at a time and press it against your jaw.
The above steps are for irritations that you can tolerate for a day or two. If it worsens, then you had best think about making a trip to the emergency room.
You may get some relief from the first steps. There’s also a lot more out there that can help and you don’t need to look further than your kitchen or your medicine cabinets. A quick trip to a natural food store may be in order. Whatever the case, they are quite common and very easy to find. You won’t have to hurt your budget, either.
These things are not guaranteed to work, since each person is different, but it’s worth a try. See if you can find these:
- Garlic – There’s an ingredient in it called allicin, which is both antibacterial and antimicrobial. Try to use fresh garlic, since garlic powder does not have allicin. Either chew a fresh clove or make a paste. Ensure that you are not allergic.
- Thyme – Chew on thyme like you would garlic. It has both antibacterial and antioxidant properties.
- Vanilla Extract – This contains alcohol, which can be quite useful in temporarily stopping the pain.
- Peppermint tea bags – Peppermint can numb the pain. Put a warm tea bag on the tooth and it will feel cooler.
There’s another great option in your freezer – ice. Rub it in between your thumb and forefinger, Make sure that you do it on the hand that is on the same side as where your tooth hurts. Look in your medicine cabinet to see if there are any painkillers like ibuprofen.
Despite your best efforts, you may find that the tooth has decayed too much. You may have also developed swelling in the area, a fever, pain for more than two days, red gums, discharge or difficulty breathing. All of those point to needing emergency dental work, whether at your dentist or hospital. Leaving it alone can lead to ramifications ranging from lost teeth to possible health problems down the road.
Ultimately, you will need to see a dental professional in any case. You are just doing the home remedies to keep things manageable until you are seen. These are intended to be a stop-gap, not a cure. Only a dentist can fully fix the situation.