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Toothache Medicine and At-Home Tips to Relieve Pain

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications


Toothaches are unpleasant at the best of times, and they have a nasty habit of creeping up at the most inconvenient moments. It is not always possible to get to the dentist right away, and even when it is, sometimes your practitioner's recommended toothache treatment takes time. The good news is that there are a number of steps you can take at home to get some relief from the pain. Run these tricks by your dentist first to make sure they do not clash with his or her treatment plan.

Relieving Toothache Pain


An over-the-counter medicine like acetaminophen is useful to treating toothaches and it is the most common medications given after dental treatment, according to the Indian Dental Association the pain should be managed with appropriate analgesia such as a nonsteroidal anti-Inflammatory drug (NSAID) or a weak opoid combined with an NSAID or acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is an analgesic and changes the way your body perceives pain, which is what makes an ache tolerable.


Toothaches are often accompanied by inflammation, swelling and redness of the gums, or irritation to other parts of the mouth. These symptoms may benefit from taking an anti-inflammatory, such as naproxen or ibuprofen, or any of the other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). You should only take one of these medications if you know for certain that you have no allergies to the ingredients, and you should always ensure you take an NSAID with food to avoid irritation to the stomach.

Topical Medication

According to Journal of Dental Anesthesia, topical anesthetic products in the form of sprays, solutions, gels, and ointments are widely used for their low toxicity and potent topical anesthetic effect. Products such as benzocaine applied directly to the tooth can also provide you with some short-term relief from pain.

Ice Packs

Holding an ice pack or a package of frozen peas to the outside of your face can be surprisingly helpful. The cold helps numb the pain. Apply the ice for a few minutes at a time and then take a break.

Avoid Hard Foods

Toothaches are frequently caused either by a broken tooth or a dental cavity, so until you are sure of the reason for your pain, it is best to take precautions. While you are waiting for and directly after toothache treatment, sticking to soft foods will help you to avoid further damage to brittle or sensitive teeth.

Keep it Clean

It is essential to maintain good dental hygiene even when you have toothache. If it's too painful to perform your regular daily brushing and flossing, continue to use mouthwash, which cleans and alleviates discomfort to promote healing.

It is not always convenient to get the treatment you require at the time you need it, but these options will help reduce the pain enough to see you through until you can get professional help.