Dr. Sinkin's Blog: The Dental And The Incidental

5 Ways to Get Relief for a Toothache

July 7th, 2011 by

There’s nothing more painful than a toothache (except maybe childbirth!). It can come on without warning and knock you right off your feet. If you’ve ever had one, you know what I mean. While the best thing to do is get to a dentist immediately, I understand that’s not always possible.

So, instead of trying “home remedies” here are some tried and true temporary toothache pain relief solutions that have worked really well for many of my patients through the years. You can find most of them right in your local pharmacy.

5 Ways to Relieve a Toothache

1. Warm Salt Water: Rinse your mouth with warm salt water for soothing relief.

2. Dent’s Toothache Gum: This nifty remedy has been around for decades, (and no, you don’t chew it!) You simply press a piece on the affected tooth and it can relieve your pain.

3. Ambesol: Their motto is “Dentist Strong so the Pain is Gone!” Apply to your gums for temporary relief.

4. Sensodyne Toothpaste: Rub continually on the affected tooth.

5. Advil, Motrin, Aleve, or Tylenol (as long as you aren’t allergic) will help with the pain. (I have discovered that taking 2-3 Advils and 1 Extra-Strength Tylenol together can be very effective in providing pain relief for toothaches.)

Remember, a toothache is a sign of a problem that won’t go away by itself. It can be caused by tooth decay (a cavity), an infection, or even a cracked tooth. Please see a dentist as soon as you can.

Feel Better!

Dr. Michael Sinkin is a general dentist in New York City. He loves being a dentist and is known throughout the city for taking wonderful care of his patients and for his wicked sense of humor. For more about Dr. Sinkin, click here

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it:
DISCLAIMER: The advice I offer in response to your questions is intended to be informational only and generic in nature. Namely, I am in no way offering a definitive diagnosis or specific treatment recommendations for your particular situation. My intent is solely educational and my responses to your actual questions serve as springboard to discussion of a variety of dental topics that come up in day-to-day dental practice. Any advice offered is no substitute for proper evaluation and care by a qualified dentist.

Related Posts:

16 Comments on “5 Ways to Get Relief for a Toothache”

  • 7 Home Remedies for Toothache: A Dentist’s Opinion | Dr. Michael Sinkin, D.D.S September 12th, 2011 10:51 am

    […] 5 Ways to Get Relief for a Toothache […]

  • Jamie February 5th, 2013 5:55 pm

    Hi I’m Jamie Guthrie! I went to the Dentist to get my cavity fixed and the Dentist fixed it but it started hurting so I went back to him. He told me it was just a nerve! He gave me medicine for it! Then after all that it started hurting again! This is my 5 toothache this year idk what it could be! Please help me with things I can do for it! Thanks

  • Michael Sinkin February 7th, 2013 1:13 pm

    Hi Jamie,

    Thanks so much for reading my blog.
    I’m sorry for your dental woes. 5 toothaches in a year?! Something sounds amiss. Have you had a thorough exam by your dentist and have been under treatment or have you been dealing with emergencies as they develop? If it’s the latter situation, you need to have a complete evaluation and treatment plan. It’s easier and more economical to prevent a crisis before it happens. If you have multiple problems and limited finances, there are ways to stabilize your teeth and stage your treatment over time to ma age costs. If you have been going for regular dental care and are having these problems, maybe a second opinion is a good idea. A tooth that hurts before and after treatment sounds like a situation that warrants further care-most likely root canal. Just the nerve? That’s what brought you to the dentist in the first place. It sounds to me that a change is in order.
    Hope this was of some help. -Dr. Sinkin

  • Jamie February 7th, 2013 9:57 pm

    Thanks! I called the Dentist again to tell him my tooth was hurting he just said ohh its a nerve just come to my office. The last time I went my tooth was hurting he tapped on it 6 times and told me it was a nerve. He didn’t take a X-ray. He just gave me medicine for it. The next day it was swollen. It looked like a baseball was in my jaw. I called him and asked him why it was swollen he just told me to start taking 2 doses of my medicine. So I’m just thinking about going to another Dentist

  • angel wright March 29th, 2013 1:14 am

    Hi my name is ángel and ur blog helped me out alot. My problem is that my insurance dosnt Pau for dental visite and I have 4 wisdom Terry and 2 ole Root Canals that Ness to b pulled. Its been hurting now for over 2months and im getting to the point Where I just want to pull it my self. Ive tired everything from pills evn mixing them, jells,salt water that Sesma to hurt jus to swish around my mouth and nothing is working. The pills take affect for only 1hr. I cant sleep or nothing. Is there any other Medicine i can try? One that Sesma to work great? Ive found out that 100% Vanilla extract works but I got used to it.please help me.thanks alot.

  • Michael Sinkin April 1st, 2013 9:36 am

    Dear Angel,
    I’m truly sorry to hear of the severity of your dental woes. Home remedies are intended to give relief from pain due to minor dental or oral maladies until they either resolve by themselves (as in the case of an apthous ulcer) or you can get to a dentist for proper evaluation and treatment. The problems you describe sound severe and no self-administered first aid is going to resolve them. YOU MUST SEE A DENTIST ASAP. I fear you are at risk of serious infection which could very well endanger your health. Severe oral infections can be life threatening. Ludwig’s angina is one example of an oral infection gone awry compromising one’s ability to breathe. Bacteria causing infection don’t care about it’s “victim’s ” insurance status. Please seek out professional care.

  • Kristy Pederson April 2nd, 2015 9:05 pm

    Hi, I have a Vitamin D deficency thats causing severe hair loss and alot of my lower back teeth have broken at the gumline. Some split in half, the first tooth to break was a root canal that the dental school didnt cap. The master posts are sticking out. I havent had any serious discomfort until another part of a tooth broke 3 days ago, and the jagged edges have shredded the side of my tongue, salt water burns the broken tooth areas (i didnt have a sore tongue when I used warm salt water) and OTC pain relief last about 3 hours. I already take alot of OTC for migraines, and Im concerned about upping the dose to cope with this horrible pain. No swelling, no drainage, nothing yet. 2 weeks until my insurance kicks in, and I was thinking about going to the dentist to get an exam and xrays and pay cash….just to start….just to make sure no infection and if I need a 800mg motrin or something more, he can prescribe it. What can I do to chill out for this 2 weeks, without going to this cash pay dr…..or do you think I should just go to cash pay Dentist to be safe??

  • Michael Sinkin April 5th, 2015 9:22 pm

    Dear James,

    You have quite a bit of activity going on in your mouth. With a severe Vitamin D deficiency and exfoliating hair, I am concerned about your overall health and its implications on your dental state. Your broken teeth and multiple lost restorations have less to do with your systemic problems as they do with much needed dental care that seems to have been avoided for quite some time. I’m not making any judgments and perhaps there’s more to your story, but teeth don’t normally break at the gum-line because of a vitamin D deficiency. Certainly I am concerned about your periodontal (gum) health because vitamin D is critical for maintaining good bone homeostasis.

    My suggestion is that you make haste to the dentist you plan on seeing when the insurance coverage kicks in. Let him evaluate the most immediate problem (2 weeks is a long time to wait considering the condition of your post baring tooth.) You don’t want to split the tooth or develop an infection. Explain to the dentist that you will be back in two weeks for a complete exam and x-rays but would like the current problem to be addressed in the mean time. Good luck.

    Dr. Sinkin

  • danielle June 16th, 2015 9:21 pm

    I have pain on the bottom left second to the last tooth. I had a filling that fell out about 4 yrs ago. I went to have it fixed and the dentist started the root canal before getting rid of the infection. After drilling my jaw swelled up to the point where i had to be hospitalized for a week. Now its bothering me again. I saw a dentist and he suggested a surgical extraction. What do you think ? I was told a root canal would be pointless because the tooth would just end up getting infected again down the road.

  • Michael Sinkin June 17th, 2015 6:33 am

    Dear Danielle,
    How terrible! I don’t hear of many people ending up in a hospital for what would be considered routine dental care (and yes, root canal is considered routine.) I really can’t offer you much in the way of advice. I can’t help but wonder if you have some medical condition that would lead to such a dramatic infection requiring hospitalization. Also, if the tooth was the source of that infection, why wasn’t the treatment completed 4 years ago? There seems to be more to this than meets the eye.That said, I can’t imagine a tooth with a lost filling and an incomplete root canal from 4 years ago having a very good prognosis. Needing a surgical extraction suggests alot of lost and compromised tooth structure. I suggest you see an oral surgeon for an evaluation and probable extraction. I wouldn’t want you to end up in the hospital again. You may be able to have a dental implant to replace the tooth, once you have healed. Good luck.
    Dr. Sinkin

  • Qbert November 18th, 2015 4:08 am

    Last week my last bottom wisdom tooth starting hurting (it had a filling from 15 years ago). At one point at night time my tooth and my right jaw hurt so much I had trouble sleeping. Now one week later the pain has subsided but I am noticing muscle tension and stiffness around my ear and lower jaw and neck area, is this a sign of infection spreading down my neck? The toothache is barely bothering me but now but the neck pain is more of an issue . I can’t see a dentist until later this week but in the meantime I am taking Advil to relieve some pain. What’s your advice? Thanks in advance.

  • Michael Sinkin November 19th, 2015 7:51 am

    Dear Mr. Wung,

    I believe that it is entirely possible that the pain in your neck and ear is “referred pain” from your tooth. Please try to see your dentist immediately. Hope you feel better soon.

    Dr. Sinkin

  • Rebecca January 23rd, 2016 2:52 am

    I’ve been using sensodyne toothpaste on a broken tooth that has been causing excruciating pain for two days. It has helped so much, my concern is the fluoride in it and acute fluoride poisoning. Is using the toothpaste safe or should I be concerned. (I can’t go to the dentist till monday.)

  • Michael Sinkin January 23rd, 2016 11:14 am

    Dear Rebecca,

    Do not worry! As long as you apply the Sensodyne topically in small pea-sized increments and do not consume cases of toothpaste at a time (or use it as a sandwich spread) you won’t ingest enough in four days to warrant concern about fluoride toxicity. In fact, toothpaste contains miniscule quantities of fluoride. Continue to use it to feel better. I’m glad to know you will see your dentist on Monday.

    Best of luck!

    Dr. Sinkin

  • Rebecca January 23rd, 2016 12:41 pm

    Thank you so much. When I came across your blog and you suggested the toothpaste I immediately went and bought a tube. It is a complete life saver. I couldn’t sleep and did nothing but cry. I highly suggest it. It burns for a second but the relief is worth it. I cannot wait to see my dentist Monday. Too bad you’re not closer, I’d definitely give you my business.
    Looking forward to reading more of your blog post and once again, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!
    You rock!

  • Michael Sinkin January 23rd, 2016 6:59 pm

    Dear Rebecca,
    I’m so glad you discovered my blog AND that I was able to help you in your time of need. Your feedback is much appreciated and motivates me to continue in kind.Be well.
    Dr. Sinkin

Leave a Comment

© 2008 Dr. Michael Sinkin, D.D.S.