What Can I Do to Make a Toothache Go Away?

Reviewed on 9/16/2021

A toothache is a dental emergency, which requires a visit to the dentist. In the meantime, you can relieve your toothache pain with home remedies such as cold compresses, heat packs, over-the-counter (OTC) pain medicine, pain-relieving oral gel, certain rinses, cautious eating/chewing, and others.
A toothache is a dental emergency, which requires a visit to the dentist. In the meantime, you can relieve your toothache pain with home remedies such as cold compresses, heat packs, over-the-counter (OTC) pain medicine, pain-relieving oral gel, certain rinses, cautious eating/chewing, and others.

If you have a toothache, see your dentist as soon as possible. There are so many reasons for toothaches so it is important to have a proper diagnosis of the cause because treatment for a toothache depends on the reason for the pain. 

You may be able to relieve the pain of a toothache, but the only way to make a toothache go away is to determine the cause and receive the proper treatment. Home remedies can help ease the pain of a toothache while you wait for your scheduled dentist appointment, such as those listed in the table below.

Toothache Remedies Chart
Remedy Instructions
Cold compresses or ice packs/cold gel packs wrapped in a towel Apply for 20 minutes at a time
A hot pack Apply to the cheek over the painful area
Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) for pain and inflammation

  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
  • Naproxen (Aleve)

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain

Pain-relieving oral gel

Apply to the painful tooth or area
Eating soft foods Avoid any foods that could irritate or break the tooth
Eating with caution Avoid chewing on the side with the sore tooth
Rinse with saltwater Swish with a warm saltwater rinse to help prevent infection and soothe your pain

Rinse with a guava mouthwash

  • Boil crushed guava leaves in water to make a mouthwash or chew on fresh guava leaves
  • May help clean the mouth if an infection is present and may help heal any oral wounds

Rinse with homemade thyme mouthwash

  • Add a few drops of thyme essential oil to water to make a mouthwash

Peppermint tea bags

  • These have mild numbing properties
  • Can be applied while warm or cold, whichever is more soothing

Garlic

  • Crush a garlic clove into a sticky paste
  • Apply it to the affected area for pain relief, or chew a clove of fresh garlic and spit it out
Clove oil
  • Can reduce inflammation and has numbing properties 
  • Apply a small amount of the oil to a clean cotton ball and dab it on the affected area
Pressing on acupressure points
  • Point SI 18: Cheek bone hole, which is the lower edge of the cheekbone
  • Point ST 6: Jaw chariot, located between the upper and lower jaw and is the muscle in front of the earlobe
  • Point LI 4: Union valley, found on the hand in the fleshy part between the thumb and index finger
  • Point ST 44: Inner court, located on top of the foot between the second and third toe where the toes meet the foot
  • Point KD 3: Great ravine, located in the hollow part of the ankle outside the circular, or talus, bone

Dental Treatments for Toothache

Once you see the dentist, treatment for a toothache depends on the cause. 

Treatment for enamel damage caused by cavities, chips, or cracks may include: 

  • Dental fillings 
  • Crowns
  • Topical varnish, applied as a liquid that hardens to protect the exposed tooth roots

Treatment for an infection may include: 

  • Antibiotics
  • Removing the infected tissue (for example, with a root canal)

If toothaches are caused by braces or dentures, they may need to be adjusted. 

Impacted wisdom teeth may need to be removed. 

What Are Symptoms of a Toothache?

Symptoms of a toothache may include: 

  • Sharp pain
    • Shooting pain when you eat or drink something hot or cold or sweet or sour
    • May also occur due to pressure, such as from toothbrushing or biting
  • Dull, throbbing pain
    • Pain may involve an area in or around the mouth and jaw 
    • May be a steady ache that continues for days
  • Bad breath, if the toothache is caused by infection or decay

What Causes a Toothache?

Toothaches may be caused by:

  • Cavities
  • Cracked teeth
  • Exposed tooth root
  • Infection
  • Impacted wisdom teeth
  • Braces
  • Dentures

How Is a Toothache Diagnosed?

  • The cause of a toothache is diagnosed with a patient history and a dental examination.  
  • Dental X-rays may be taken to help determine the area or extent of the problem. 

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Reviewed on 9/16/2021
References
https://jada.ada.org/article/S0002-8177(19)30489-1/fulltext

https://dp5th.com/2019/07/acupressure-for-toothaches-top-pressure-points/