If a toothache strikes when you can't see your dentist – like in the middle of the night – you may feel desperate to relieve the pain. For temporary relief, consider trying one of these home remedies for toothache.
1. Cold Compresses
If your toothache is associated with swelling, holding a cold compressagainst the outside of your cheek (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off) may provide some relief. Cold compresses may offer temporary relief and help you fall back asleep but they won't address the root cause of your toothache. If you have a cavity or another dental problem, it won't get better until you see your dentist.
2. Clove Oil
Clove oil can be used to temporarily reduce the pain associated with toothache. For this home toothache remedy, dip a cotton ball in clove oil and soak up a few drops. Gently rub the cotton ball over the sore area of your tooth.
Clove oil contains eugenol, a natural anaesthetic, which is why this remedy works. However, clove oil only helps with the pain of your toothache; it won't cure the underlying problem. Clove oil also tastes bad, so this remedy may be unpleasant to try.
3. Salt Water Rinses
If your gums are swollen, rinsing your mouth with warm salt may offer some relief. Add a couple teaspoons of salt to a cup of warm water. Swish the mixture around your mouth and then spit it out.
While both hot and cold water can be uncomfortable when you have a toothache, warm water can be soothing in some cases. The warm water and salt may help to ease the pain and reduce the swelling in your gum tissue. Again, these effects are only temporary.
4. Tooth Pain Medications
To cope with the pain of a toothache, you can take over-the-counter pain medications according to the package directions. It's important that you don't hold the medication against your sore tooth since this can burn the nearby gum tissue and lead to further discomfort.
Pain medications can keep you comfortable while you're waiting for your dentist appointment but like other home remedies, they're not a long-term solution. If you medicate your pain and don't seek treatment, your tooth will almost certainly get worse.
When to See a Dentist
The Australian Dental Association recommends having your toothache evaluated immediately by a dentist, so make an appointment right away. Dentists often leave time slots available for emergency patients, so you may be able to get a same-day appointment. If you experience symptoms – like a fever, facial swelling or incessant pain in your tooth – and can't be seen by your dentist, visit the emergency department for treatment.
While several dental conditions can cause toothaches, cavities are the most likely cause. Fortunately, there are many things you can do at home to protect your teeth from cavities. Brushing your teeth twice per day with a fluoride toothpaste, such as Colgate Total Toothpaste, helps to prevent cavities. It's also important to visit your dentist regularly for check-ups. If you develop a cavity, it can be detected and treated before it gives you a painful toothache.
Home remedies for toothache can keep you comfortable while you wait for your dentist appointment but they don't get to the root of the problem.