Toothaches are common, but that doesn’t make them any less uncomfortable. Pain is the body’s signal that something needs your attention. If you’re suffering from discomfort in your tooth or mouth, it’s important to find out the reason for that twinge, but there are also some things you can do to help you feel a bit better until you can see a dentist. Here are 3 ways to treat a toothache while you wait for your dental appointment.

1. Rinsing with Salt Water

Many people’s first line of defense and one of the easiest ways to treat a toothache can be found in almost any cupboard and many public places such as restaurants and cafeterias. Rinsing with salt water is a natural and often effective remedy. A salt water rinse is commonly recommended by dentists and doctors after an oral procedure or surgery to aid in healing and it can also be helpful for other tooth or mouth discomfort. Salt water has natural disinfectant and anti-inflammatory properties and can also help to wash away pieces of food or debris that might be stuck between your teeth or along your gum line.

To make a salt water rinse, mix ½ teaspoon of salt into a glass of water, preferably warm so that the temperature won’t trigger more sensitivity.

2. Using a Cold Compress

It may provide helpful relief to apply a cold compress to the affected area or your cheek or jaw. This can be very effective if your toothache was caused by an injury or other trauma. Cold can make the blood vessels constrict as well as reduce inflammation. Take care not to let the cold touch your affected tooth directly or too suddenly as direct contact may also cause increased sensitivity if there is a cavity or other damage.

To make a cold compress, wrap a bag of ice or other frozen item in a towel and apply to the affected area for up to 20 minutes at a time. This is often one of the more effective ways to treat a toothache, and can be repeated throughout the day.

3. Use Over the Counter Pain Relief

Most pharmacies and drug stores stock over the counter pain relief gels for toothaches. These will numb the affected area and can be helpful when you need strong and quick topical relief. Common over the counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen may also reduce your discomfort. Check with your doctor or dentist before using any medication or over the counter remedy to ensure it is safe for you and that there are no ingredients you might have an adverse reaction to. They can help you find ways to treat a toothache that protect your health.

As you employ these 3 ways to treat a toothache, keep in mind that relief for discomfort is no substitute for discovering what the underlying cause of the toothache is. Getting a dental exam as soon as possible is important if you are experiencing a toothache as it could be a sign of a cavity, gum disease or other issue that may get worse over time if not treated by a dental professional.

Call our Amarillo, Dumas or Canyon dental offices to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.