When your teeth have issues, it can be glaringly obvious. Pain and tenderness can make it difficult to chew, and you may even experience these symptoms when you're going about your day. Here are four tips to help you treat a toothache:
1. Make an emergency appointment with your dentist.
Typically you have to wait at least a week to see your dentist, but they may be willing to see you sooner if you let them know you're having a dental emergency. Call your dentist as soon as you can and ask to schedule an appointment. In some cases, you may be able to get an appointment on the same day. Your dentist will be able to diagnose your problem and prescribe the correct treatment plan. Depending on what's wrong with your teeth, you may need root canal therapy, antibiotics, or a cavity filling. If your pain is severe, your dentist may prescribe you prescription painkillers to help you cope until you can remedy the problem.
2. Take over the counter painkillers.
You can take ibuprofen or acetaminophen in order to treat your pain until you can see the dentist. Make sure to always follow the directions on the bottle of painkillers in order to prevent dangerous side effects, and don't take more medication than is strictly necessary to treat your condition. Ibuprofen can case stomach bleeding in rare cases, but you can protect your stomach by eating a small meal or snack before taking this drug.
3. Avoid problematic foods.
Until you can get your dental problem resolved, it's best to avoid food and drinks that cause you pain. Eating soft foods that don't require much chewing can alleviate your symptoms. Cold food and drink is another common trigger for dental sensitivity, so you might want to stick to lukewarm liquids until your pain has been treated. If hot liquid causes you pain, that's a sign that you may have an abscessed tooth. In this case, you will need a root canal.
4. Try topical numbing agents.
If oral painkillers aren't providing enough relief, you can double up on your pain relief medication using topical numbing agents. Lidocaine is a popular topical anesthetic, and you can find it in most drug stores. Follow the instructions on the tube and apply it to the gums around the affected tooth. Clove oil can also help, and it's a good option for people who prefer natural treatments.