How to relieve a toothache

Dr. Holloway recommends that when in doubt, seek your dentist out! Often times, once a tooth hurts, it is too late to have minimal or no treatment at all. If there is only sensitivity when eating or drinking cold foods and drinks, waiting to see if it subsides is perfectly reasonable. If the pain is more of an aching and throbbing, you should see your dentist as soon as possible because that type of pain does not go away without intervention.

There are five home remedies that can help with tooth pain:

  1. Fluoride application or using a tooth sensitivity toothpaste
  2. Occlusal guard, or night guard, to stop the negative impact of teeth grinding
  3. Afrin nasal spray
  4. Clove oil
  5. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as Ibuprofen

1. Toothpaste for sensitive teeth

There are many over-the-counter toothpaste brands which include fluoride, or toothpaste that specifically treats tooth sensitivity, such as Sensodyne. These toothpastes can help with tooth sensitivity caused by areas of gum recession or abfraction from teeth grinding. Dr. Holloway recommends using these toothpastes both morning and night when brushing. If sensitivity persist, take a small pea-sized amount of sensitivity or fluoridated toothpaste and apply it along the gum line after brushing and rinsing at night. Then allow it to soak in overnight. It may take anywhere from 1-2 weeks for there to be a full effect in decreasing your tooth sensitivity.

Toothpaste for sensitive teeth

2. Night Guards to prevent teeth grinding

Over-the-counter “boil and bite” night guards can be a good place to start if you feel your sensitivity is caused by teeth grinding, known as bruxim. You can purchase these at most drug stores like CVS and Walgreens. Follow the directions on the packaging: boil water; place the night guard in the water for a period of time; remove and place the night guard in your mouth while it’s still warm, but not hot enough to burn you; bite down to form the guard to your teeth.

One of the downsides of an over-the-counter night guard solution is a feeling of bulkiness. If relief is experienced from this solution, you can visit your dentist in the future and have a custom made occlusal/bite guard that will have a better fit and be far less bulky.

3. Afrin nasal spray for molar sensitivity

Afrin nasal spray can be a good home remedy if you are experiencing tooth sensitivity and pain on your upper premolar or molar region. Many times, sinus congestion can lead to low grade tooth sensitivity. If the Afrin clears up the sensitivity, then the pain is most likely sinus related. If the tooth sensitivity persists, then make an appointment with your dentist.

4. Clove oil to relieve tooth pain caused by decay

Clove oil can be extremely beneficial if the tooth pain is caused by tooth decay. Placing a small amount on a cotton swab and then applying it in or near the area of the mouth causing sensitivity and toothaches should help relieve your symptoms until you can get in to see your dentist. If you have decay it is very important you see your dentist as soon as possible so that it can be treated early before the cavity turns into a larger issue.

5. Ibuprofen and anti-inflamatories to relieve tooth pain

Lastly, let’s not forget the benefits of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS, such as Ibuprofen. NSAIDs can be very helpful in decreasing tooth sensitivity and pain. If you need either clove oil or NSAIDs to control pain, Dr. Holloway strongly recommends these only be a temporary fix until you can get into your dentist to have your teeth and mouth fully checked to determine the cause of sensitivity or toothache.