Rarely does a toothache start at a convenient time. I don’t think I’ve known a patient who’s said, “I’m really glad this started hurting when it did. I was already in your parking lot and you happened to have time available!” Fortunately, we typically accommodate emergencies and make arrangements to help patients find comfort again quickly. Better still, regular dental visits can help reduce your risks of developing toothaches by catching at risk areas early.
Why do teeth hurt? Most often, the pain perception is a result of inflammation coming from cavities (which rarely hurt until they compromise the nerve of the tooth), wisdom teeth, fractures, periodontal disease where the tissue and bone supporting the tooth is infected, abscesses, and teeth which are severely worn due to grinding. While home remedies won’t resolve the source of the pain nor restore the form and function of a tooth, they sure can make life tolerable until a visit to the dentist can be arranged.
How can I manage the pain? Many options exist, and the typical first line of defense is over the counter pain medications. Anti-inflammatories work amazingly well, with choices ranging from natural medicines to products such as Advil and Aleve. Topical gels, like Oragel, work on the tissue AROUND the pain, but infrequently help tooth pain. Warm salt water rinses are effective to flush and soothe inflamed gums, and can also irrigate large cavities to remove debris. One final home remedy for a toothache is to hold a cool peppermint tea bag or a small amount of clove oil on a cotton ball. The menthol present in peppermint is a desensitizer in some of our whitening products, and, like eugenol present in clove oil, it works to provide a mild natural anesthetic. The anti-inflammatory aspect of clove oil is an added benefit.
Visiting your dentist (or check us out at mywhitedental.com and give us a call) can help minimize your risk of further infection or damage from a toothache, and help save some money, too. Here’s to a summer of no toothaches from all of us at White Dental Studio!