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

7 Home Remedies for Toothache….A Dentist’s Opinion

September 12th, 2011 by

As a dentist, I don’t normally use Google to find remedies for dental problems, however, I know that a lot of people do. Especially in the middle of the night or when the dentist’s office is closed. So. I got to wondering what comes up on Google when someone searches “How to Relieve Tooth Pain” and surprisingly, I discovered that the results are mostly lists of home remedies for toothache!

I don’t normally prescribe most of the home remedies that I found in my Google search, but I set out to research the most frequently recommended ones and dispel some of the myths. To my surprise, many of them actually make sense scientifically.

So, here we go:

Common Home Remedies for Toothache

1.     ASPIRIN

Many people believe that placing an aspirin on the gum of the affected tooth is a good way to relieve tooth pain. Don’t do it! Aspirin is an acid and it will burn your gum. (You’d be surprised by how many people I have seen over the years who have tried this only to have caused harm to their soft tissue.)
Note: If you had a headache, would you put an aspirin on your forehead? Swallow the aspirin.

2.     GARLIC

In addition to warding off vampires, garlic does have medicinal value. When crushed or finely chopped two chemicals in the garlic join to form Allicin, which has antibiotic properties and can offer some relief.  You must crush the garlic to form Allicin. Be aware that crushed garlic can be irritating to the gum so restrict it to the cavity in the tooth.
Note: Garlic powder is not a substitute (it’s great on pizza, though).

3.    ONION

A lot of sites tell you to put a piece of raw onion on the affected tooth, and this may give a slight bit of relief because onion also has antimicrobial properties.
Note: This is not good for one’s social life.

4.     CLOVES

Oil of Cloves, also known as Eugenol, is a very common ingredient in dental products and has both antimicrobial and pain relieving properties. Mix 2-3 drops with olive or cooking oil and saturate a piece of cotton. Place the cotton in the tooth cavity and bite down with another piece of dry cotton over the tooth. Also, if you grind or crush whole cloves with a few drops of cooking oil, you can get the same relief that oil of cloves will yield.
Note: Not only will you possibly get some relief, but you’ll smell like the holiday ham. (I can think of worse smells!)


Alcohol is indeed an antiseptic and an astringent and I do have to report that some patients do get some relief by swishing their mouths with bourbon or whiskey. However, the relief is most likely because the irritating effect of the alcohol on gums “distracts” the brain from the pain signals of the tooth.
Note: You’re better off drinking the booze (neat, not on the rocks because cold will aggravate your painful tooth).


This goes down as one of the most recommended and effective ways of soothing a toothache.  Place 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. of salt in 8 ounces of very warm (not hot) water. Swish around in your mouth. The salt water “draws” fluid from the tissues of the affected area and reduces pressure on nerve endings.
Note: Eating salty potato chips does not have the same effect!


Enough has been written on the web about mixing ground bay berry bark and vinegar into a thick paste to be applied to the hurting tooth that I had to give it an honorable mention.
Disclaimer: I have no idea what bay berries are.

And there you have it! A review of some of the most commonly mentioned home remedies for tooth pain found on the web. If you have a home remedy that works for you, or that your grandma passed down, I’d love to hear about it.


A toothache is a horrible thing to endure and it always signals that something is wrong. If left untreated it can lead to serious health problems beyond the affected and most likely infected tooth.  If you are in pain or have swelling in or around your mouth, contacting a dentist should be your first priority. If you are stricken with a toothache during “off hours”, call your dentist’s office anyway. Most dentists have emergency numbers.

At my office, when a patient calls with an emergency when the office is closed, they will get my personal cell number (so help is literally a phone call away.) I usually tell them to drink a big glass of straight bourbon and call it a night (kidding).

For over-the-counter and very effective remedies for toothache pain, check out my blog post 5 Ways to Get Relief for a Toothache

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

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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.

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68 Comments on “7 Home Remedies for Toothache….A Dentist’s Opinion”

  • jacqueline morris September 30th, 2012 11:52 pm

    Salt water mom always had us do that- booze Ok that may help…. Garlic, onions not so much. I know I need this tooth pulled- hopefully this week a UW Dental school (their great, – cheaper- no insurance- & low on funds). I could sit in the ER for hours for a little relief- we’ll see how the night goes. I don’t- I have a regular dentist right now. I wish there were call in Dental ER’s – lol something, I’ve been married faster. —- So I didn’t have to sit in the reg ER for 6 – 8 hours…. It would be so cool to have a couple of pain pills called into Walgreens until I get to the dentist tomorrow- Tues at the very latest …. Just random venting – thanks doc~!!

  • jacqueline morris September 30th, 2012 11:54 pm

    Oh- my mouth does look like there’s a golf call- yeah very attractive, very painful~!!

  • jacqueline morris September 30th, 2012 11:56 pm

    * golf ball…. editors nite off too, on a roll….

  • Candy Garrison November 28th, 2012 11:37 am

    Although i still have this annoying toothache your humor has made me feel better!

  • Cheryl Johnson January 1st, 2013 9:11 pm

    Thanks for the tips! I found this to be informative as well as comical. Hilarious!

  • john mitchell February 26th, 2013 1:13 pm

    I’m begging for a pro bono dentist. I have had 2 broken off teeth in the back of my mouth for years. They hurt for 4-5 days periodically but in the last few weeks the pain has became so intense I cant stand it. I’ve had the role on the floor and cry pain. Thats just the beginning. this pain is more like its been hurting for 2 weeks straight not subsiding. I took 8 Vicodin 10/325’s all broken in half the other day barely touched the pain. It did knock me out though. I’m 24 white male i have a son and wife. please one of you dentists rip these devils out of my face. Have mercy.

  • Michael Sinkin February 27th, 2013 2:55 pm

    I have no doubt that your pain is real and I’m sorry for your suffering. Dental schools and hospital-based dental residency programs offer dental care for a very modest fee. You owe it to yourself, and your health, to do so. Good luck!

  • Edith Ann May 19th, 2013 10:58 pm

    You are right about the aspirin, somebody told me to put one on my gums around the tooth and it burned my gums up, no wonder they say drink plenty of water after taking an aspirin. I get the chewable baby aspirin now, lot milder.

  • Michael Sinkin May 21st, 2013 8:18 am

    As I said, you don’t put an aspirin on your forehead if you have a headache.

  • julia creighton February 18th, 2014 2:38 pm

    Dear Dr. Sinkin: I am writing to ask how I can get through two weeks with a cracked tooth in the top of my mouth. I cracked it while eating almonds and unfortunately there is a sharp point of tooth pushing into my cheek. It is particularly painful at night when I am sleeping. My dentist is away for two weeks. Many thanks for any hints you can give me. Julia

  • Michael Sinkin February 19th, 2014 7:21 am

    Dear Julia,
    My first question is whether your dentist has someone covering his emergencies…2 weeks is a long time not to have contingencies.
    If sufficient tooth remains, get some Dentemp from the pharmacy. Dentemp is a putty-like temporary filling that can fill the void. Good luck to you.
    Dr. Sinkin

  • tasha May 10th, 2014 12:37 pm

    I have a broken tooth in the back of my mouth at the top. And it got my gums hurting to. It’s only one my left side. Do you think aspirin will help and do you think baby orajel will help until I get to the dentist? What can I do?

  • Michael Sinkin May 17th, 2014 7:46 pm

    Dear Tasha,
    I suspect that this is not your first dental emergency. Taking aspirin or any of the NSAID (like ibuprofen, Advil, Alleve) assuming you have no sensitivities to such medications or tylenol will help with the pain. Orajel can help the gums if they’re irritated but not if you have an access forming- in which case you need an antibiotic. You need to see a dentist and hopefully he can save your lone left tooth from the same I’ll fate its neighbors suffered.

  • catie July 13th, 2014 9:23 pm

    Hello, I’m 24 female I have a broken tooth that is completely gone well, two actually. One on the top left side of my mouth and the bottom right side. Both molars. I am unable to afford a dentist as are others that I have asked for loans. I have tried to go to clinics to go on a sliding scale but unfortunately I “make to much money” to get a proper disscount.. this pain is absolutely killing me to the point where I want to go to the e.r… do you have any tips for me please.. I’ve taken 4 800mlg ibuprofen and nothing has worked, not any of your rememdies. :(

  • Michael Sinkin July 14th, 2014 7:31 am

    Dear Catie,
    I am so sorry for your troubles. At 24, you are at a possible dental crossroads of sorts. 2 broken teeth and possibly other as yet undiagnosed unknown dental problems lying in the lurch. You need a good, conscientious dentist to relieve your pain -even as a stopgap measures to alleviate your pain. Dental first-aid-not necessarily definitive treatment like root canal or extraction to give you relief from pain and time to l figure out a way towards dental health. Such emergency dental care will not break the bank and should be of modest cost.
    An emergency room is not the best place to solve your problem. Besides, the cost of an emergency room visit is far in excess of what the cost should be to deal with your current situation. (Whether you personally pay the E.R., your medical insurance pays or the hospital absorbs the cost if you’re uninsured and passes it onto everyone else.) And the likelihood is all you will get from the hospital is pain medication and possibly antibiotics to treat your symptoms and not solve your actual dental problems.
    As I said before, at 24 you could be at a critical point which depending on your course of action can have significant impact on your dental future. Seek out a dentist who can help you with your problem and can offer some guidance. Ask your physician and anyone else you know who can make a recommendation of a good dentist who will be willing to help you. Good luck.

    Dr. Sinkin

  • buck July 30th, 2014 2:19 am

    Hey Doc… My Filling came out a while ago didnt bother me…but not the past few day it’s been killing me and also giving me a headache.. what to do

  • Michael Sinkin July 31st, 2014 6:05 am

    Hey Buck,
    Sounds like it’s time to make a phone call to a dentist. Fillings generally don’t just fall out unless you were chewing something gooey like taffy or a jolly rancher. You may have had a cavity underneath which destabilizedc and undermined the restoration. If this was the case the decay process may have continued. It will not get better by itself and will likely worsen. You don’t want to develop an abcess. So please seek out a dentist for care.
    Best wishes.
    Dr. Sinkin

  • tabytha August 1st, 2014 7:25 pm

    Hey doc, I have been in unbearable agonizing pain in the right side of my mouth and unable to get to a dentist. Nothing works at all!! Any suggestions! O have tried everything!

  • Michael Sinkin August 2nd, 2014 6:45 am

    Dear Tabytha,

    I don’t have any magic words to offer you. If you are on that much pain, you need professional care and not some stop gap home remedy. Please see a dentist ASAP. Good luck.

    Dr Sinkin

  • Christina August 11th, 2014 6:38 am

    Hello doctor thank you for answering our questions :) my questions are, I’ve been told all of my back molars have severely “hooked roots” and dentists refuse to work on my teeth, they say I need a speacialist, why is that :( and also a friend of mine told me to start oil pulling, what are your thoughts on that. Thanks again Dr.

  • Michael Sinkin August 17th, 2014 9:13 am

    Dear Christina,

    It’s not exactly clear to me why dentists refuse to treat your molars unless you are in need of extractions or root canal treatment. Root formation continues for about two years after the tooth first erupts through the gums. It is not uncommon for the roots to curve or deviate from a straight line, especially if forces are applied to the tooth as occurs during orthodontic treatment. Teeth with severely curved roots can be challenging to treat if they need to be removed. That’s the difference between a simple extraction and a more involved surgical extraction which might be more easily performed by an oral surgeon. Root canal treatment can be more complicated in a severely curved root and special techniques are utilized to negotiate the tortuous path to the root tip. A root canal specialist has more experience with these more challenging situations. Certainly in these situations if your dentist feels that you would be better served by the hands of a specialist, he/she is exercising good clinical judgement.
    Oil pulling is a topic for another day.

    Dr Sinkin

  • Jennifer May 6th, 2015 9:17 pm

    I am 6months pregnant and have such severe pain that I can’t eat or sleep. Saw my dentist today and have to wait two weeks to have a cavity filled because of inflammation in my gums from periodontal disease. I tried Tylenol with absolutely no pain relief. What can I do? I have to eat and sleep for the health of my baby but cannot because I’m in so much pain.

  • Michael Sinkin May 8th, 2015 9:17 am

    Dear Jennifer,

    You are in quite a predicament, but something sounds amiss. I understand why your dentist might not be able to place a “permanent” filling in your tooth if your gums,are so inflamed. But, there is much that can be done in the way of dental treatment that can give you relief. I suggest you call your dentist back and tell him that the pain has worsened and you need help. If it’s your tooth hurting, a medicated filling or possibly root canal (if the nerve is exposed or “infected”) can be relief. If your gums are the cause of your pain, then a different course of treatment may be warranted, such as a a deep cleaning and possible antibiotic therapy.
    That you are six months pregnant is all the more reason to have the problem addressed sooner than later. As an aside, untreated gum disease is not desirable in any circumstance, especially during pregnancy and it has been correlated to low birth weight. If your dentist doesn’t respond to your request for care, I would seek out a second opinion. There is no home remedy I can offer aside from Tylenol and warm salt water rinses.

    Good luck and please let me know how you make out.
    Dr Sinkin

  • Danielle June 22nd, 2015 3:58 am

    I went to the dentist about a year ago to get a filling. about a month ago the tooth that I had fixed came out in pieces. What is the cause of this? Is it normal for this to happen, or is it a mistake made by the dentist. I see a new dentist Tuesday for pain from that tooth, because I’m terrified to go back to the original doc. Also, is tooth whitening toothpaste bad if you have bad teeth that need repairing?

  • Michael Sinkin June 23rd, 2015 7:19 am

    Dear Danielle,

    No, it is not normal for a tooth to crumble like that, but I have no way of knowing the condition your tooth was in when it was last treated. Why don’t we wait to see what your new dentist thinks. Good luck today.
    Dr. Sinkin

  • Barbara July 29th, 2015 8:18 pm

    I guess I’d be a rare case … I’m allergic to most medicines n locals. I’ve called a few oral surgeons in my area it’ll cost over $1200 to pull one tooth n I can’t afford that. Nor have I been to the dentist in 20 yrs cuz the last one almost killed me with novacaine Yay me. Wanted to say thank you for your garlic remedies. After 6 days of salt water it worked the pain has lowered in intensity…. ty

  • Michael Sinkin July 30th, 2015 5:07 pm

    Dear Barbara,
    I am glad you found relief from a more unconventional remedy. That said, you really need to see a dentist before you develop an infection. It is not uncommon for people to have allergies/sensitivity to medications, local anesthetics are no exception. Fortunately, there are many local anesthetics available. Some people are allergic to the preservative in the anesthetic solution. Some people are sensitive (not allergic) to the epinephrine in some formulations which can yield palpitations. ou should find a dentist who can listen to your past experiences and come up with a treatment approach. Novacaine has not been used in dentistry for many many years, but it is a term commonly used for local anesthetics (much like Kleenex is a term used for a tissue). I believe a reasonable treatment approach is possible with necessarily involving general anesthesia.
    Dr Sinkin

  • Esther hecker August 5th, 2015 7:39 pm

    I stumbled upon your website and I’m glad I did. It is very nice to have a dentist to ask a question to.
    I am 50 and I have only some front teeth no back teeth left.I can barely afford to pay my bills as it is. I don’t know what to do anymore. I live in Texas. I have dental insurance but I don’t have enough money to do the work that I need I think I need dentures or partials. Just venting thanks for listening.

  • Michael Sinkin August 6th, 2015 7:10 am

    Dear Esther,

    I am so sorry for your travails.
    Since you have dental insurance, you may want to call your insurance carrier and see if they have participating dentists that will accept your insurance.
    Might I suggest that you seek out a dental school or teaching hospital with a dental residency program. You may find affordable care there and they can help you with your insurance claim.
    We also found a list that may help you: http://www.needhelppayingbills.com/html/texas_free_dental_clinics.html
    And, another option is a third party lending institution such as Care Credit (http://www.carecredit.com/) that offer loans for dental care with attractive rates and a variety of terms. I wish you the best, don’t give up hope.

    Dr. Sinkin

  • Nikki August 22nd, 2015 2:58 am

    Would like to know your opinion on swishing with peroxide, I’ve dine this in the past for gum infection and it cleared it up well. I use 3% peroxide mixed half and half with water and within 5 minutes my toothache is dulled to the point I barely notice it. My wisdom tooth went bad fast, within 6 months after it first cut through it just started crumbling so the back half of it is gone and now the nerve is bothering me. Just waiting for my appointment to have it pulled next week but was wondering if swishing peroxide is a good or bad idea.

  • Michael Sinkin August 22nd, 2015 9:47 am

    Dear Nikki,
    In as much as you have made arrangements to have your wisdom tooth problem appropriately addressed, the home remedy of rinsing with a diluted solution of hydrogen peroxide is probably ok. Long-term use of a peroxide rinse is not something I would recommend and in fact, I would discourage as it can dry the tissue of the mouth and disturb the normal pH (acidity). Overuse of Hydrogen peroxide can also disrupt the delicate balance of healthy bacteria that resides in the oral cavity. I recommend that my patients rinse with warm salt water which has a soothing effect. Feel better and good luck with your treatment.
    Dr Sinkin

  • Nikki August 22nd, 2015 4:25 pm

    Thanks for the response. On another note, I had a different tooth pulled about a 1½ yrs ago, the dentist fought to have me save it but I couldn’t afford to at the time so I decided to have it pulled and get a bridge or implant in the future. He cut my tooth into pieces and pulled the roots out in sections leaving a bunch of splinters behind, I still have some splinters, how would I go about getting them out of my gums? I can feel them shifting in my gums which is uncomfortable but bearable and on occasion I rub over it with slight pressure til I feel a piece break through and I can pull it out with tweezers, I’m seeing a new dentist next week but the previous one claimed he didn’t see any pieces on xray or visual exam and sort of brushed me off. I know it shouldn’t take this long to expel splinters, is there something I can request from the new dentist to get rid of them?

  • Dana October 23rd, 2015 2:59 am

    I had my wisdom tooth pulled 2 weeks ago, the yesterday the molar next to it because he accidentally broke it and it was beyond painful. When he pulled my wisdom tooth he dug down into my gum and got the tongue side good. It caused bone to pop through my gum, jaw bone I’m assuming. When I went to get my molar pulled yesterday he sanded the jaw bone part which was ok until the swelling went down ands now I have a long sharp piece of bone cutting up my tongue. Will the bone die and come out or will the gum grow over it. I’ve seen a lot about it coming out, but he said my gum would just grow back over it. Will it? Should I have it sanded some more since it’s soooo sharp. And are all these common enough problems that I shouldn’t find a new dentist. I’m worried because it seems like every time he does something he messes something else up. Thank you in advance.

  • Michael Sinkin October 23rd, 2015 9:13 am

    Dear Dana,

    I am really not sure how to respond to your report of what happened…but on the surface I would say that you experienced enough complications to seek a second opinion. I just don’t have enough facts to render an informed opinion: was your wisdom tooth impacted or badly decayed? was your adjacent tooth healthy or broken down with decay or large fillings? how is your general health? do you have diabetes, osteoporosis, etc. Potentially many factors can be in play to help shed light on your experience. So I won’t comment on the why’s or how’s of what happened. That said, I believe that you should get another professional to evaluate your condition.

    Difficult extractions can yield the type of complications you describe. Pieces of bone called sequestrae can break through the gum days, weeks, sometimes months after such an extraction and can usually be removed like a splinter. Sometimes the bone needs to be reshaped if the gum is to thin or the sharp promenance of remaining bone encompasses too large an area. And sometimes there is “collateral damage” during truly difficult procedures. I suggest you seek out an oral surgeon for an evaluation. You have questions about your dentist’s ability. Seek out a second opinion before making any decisions.
    Good luck and I’m sorry for your troubles.
    Dr Sinkin


  • Lisa November 1st, 2015 10:42 pm

    I had a broken tooth, which my dentist said left a big hole. He said it could be filled, which is what he did about 2 months ago. He said there is about a 75 percent chance that it will stay. Tonight, I have some throbbing in the gum. The throbbing is not painful, but if I barely push on the tooth with my tongue or start to bite down on something, it hurts up in my gum. I have brushed, flossed, and used salt water. Just no idea why it would be swollen. The filling is all still there. Wondering what your thoughts are.

  • Michael Sinkin November 2nd, 2015 9:46 am

    Dear Lisa,
    I can’t diagnose without the benefits of an exam and x-rays, but here’s my impression. You had a very large filling placed and by your dentist’s description I suspect he repaired your tooth by patching it. Finances may have had a play in your treatment often in this type of situation we opt for a crown. Since the filling is very large your tooth’s nerve may have been traumatized or damaged. The swelling in your gum could be an abcess forming. Schedule an appointment with your dentist for an evaluation as soon as possible. Better safe than sorry.

    Good Luck!

    Dr. Sinkin

  • Vito February 12th, 2016 9:34 pm

    Dr. S,

    I happened upon your site and figured I would ask your opinion. I have several tooth issues however, the problem I am having right now that is causing me severe pain is in tooth #31. It has a massive cavity that has sloped the molar from about half way from the top mid section down to the gum line against my cheek. Not having dental insurance until June of this year I have tried many different remedies some work for a bit, some do not. I have seen a dentist but the expense involved is too much for me to currently pay. The dentist did today give me penicillin vk 500mg and tramadol 37.5-325. How long before the tramadol is in my system to help relieve some of the pain and will the penicillin kill off the bacteria enough to cause some relief from the pain? Also, I seem to have better relief from cold things than I do with anything heated. Like cold air, ice, etc. Any idea why that would be? Thanks for any advice.

  • Tammy February 16th, 2016 1:59 pm

    I started getting a toothache on my top molar a couple weeks before my cleaning. It’s very sensitive to anything cold but the pain lingers on and is a dull ache. Similar to the soreness I felt after getting my wisdom teeth out. I had the cleaning yesterday and they said everything looked good and thought the pain could be from a leaky filling since I have a large filling in that tooth that goes down the side but couldn’t find any infection or cavity. I’m scheduled for a crown in a month (the soonest they could get me in). Is it really possible a leaky filling could cause this much pain and the tooth is really alive? Everything online makes it sound like I’d need RCT… Also what would you recommend to handle the pain for the next month? So far I’ve just been taking painkillers and using salt water rinses. I’ve heard a lot of good stuff on clove oil but not to use it for extended periods. I’ll take any recommendations! Thanks!

  • Michael Sinkin February 17th, 2016 8:55 am

    Dear Vito,
    I’m sorry for your dental problems. Unfortunately (as I have stated many times), dental, and for that matter, medical conditions, requiring treatment arise independent of one’s insurance status. TraMadol is an opioid pain medication that is not intended for long term use, especially in your described situation which is of an acute nature. Yes, it will offer relief by dulling your central nervous system’s pain response, but until the cause of the problem is addressed resolution and ultimate relief will not occur. The penicillin prescription will address the infection that I assume you have (why else would you be given an antibiotic?) but the source of your dental abscess needs remedied.
    It would guess that you do have an inflamed/infected dental pulp based on the size of the cavity you describe and the pain elicited by heat and cold. A deteriorating nerve can generate gas build up within the tooth. Heat causes the gas to expand placing more pressure on the nerve endings and hence, pain. Cold water reduces the gas expansion.
    Waiting until June is unlikely a viable option as you may develop a more serious infection and more pain. If my assessment is correct, your tooth may require either root canal (and a crown) or extraction. If you have as many dental problems as you indicated you need to see a dentist and triage (prioritize treatment) your dental landscape and eliminate infections and decay with the mindset that definitive care (i.e. crowns, bridges, possible implants, partial dentures) may take a back seat to getting your mouth stable.
    Seek out a dentist who can help diagnose and plan for treatment for your multiple problems in a thoughtful and logical sequence that takes into consideration your limited financial resources. This can be done. It may take longer to cross the finish line, but dental health and comfort is achievable. Good health.

    Dr. Sinkin

  • Michael Sinkin February 18th, 2016 10:29 am

    Dear Tammy,

    Home remedies are not what you need right now. Lingering discomfort after cold stimulus can be a sign of pulpitis (inflammation of the nerve). The type of pain you describe is likely to be nerve-related.
    Call your dentist immediately and speak with him/her directly (not the staff). Explain what you are experiencing exactly the way you described it in your comment. If you can’t be seen right away, ask for a referral to an endodontist (root canal specialist) to evaluate your tooth.

    Best wishes for a quick resolution,

    Dr. Sinkin

  • Brittany February 22nd, 2016 1:44 am

    Dear Dr
    I have two fractured teeth in the back of my mouth can’t afford to go to dentist I am a stay at home mom and caregiver for my grandmother so I am in severe pain and tried salt water orajel pain meds and the only relief I have got is for like 5 mins and it’s when I put liquid children’s tylenol on the tooth any suggestions I’m hurting really bad maybe another abcess so I started taking some cipro I had laying around the house

  • Michael Sinkin February 23rd, 2016 2:28 pm

    Dear Brittany,

    Oh boy! I am so sorry for your troubles. By the sounds of it, you really need to see a dentist – home remedies will be of limited value and may only offer some very temporary relief. Based on your comments, you have experienced dental abscesses before and while antibiotics can address the acute infection, if you don’t address the “root” cause, it will return (and the bacteria may become more resistant to the antibiotic).
    If you have no allergies or sensitivities to medication or other underlying medical conditions, I suggest Ibuprofen. Warm salt water is always helpful. Over the counter aids that contain eugenol {oil of cloves) can be applied topically for relief.
    With all of your responsibilities, you can’t afford to develop a more serious infection. Seeking out a low cost dental clinic may be the way to go. Call your personal doctor or your children’s pediatrician and ask for some guidance and possible recommendation for a dentist. He/she might be willing to prescribe a broad spectrum antibiotic that is better suited to your problem than Cipro. You can also call the local dental society for a recommendation. But, you need to see a dentist before you have a real crisis. I wish you well.

    Please let me know how you make out.

    Dr. Sinkin

  • Ree March 13th, 2016 4:10 am

    So i went to the dentist Thursday to have braces put on and 4 teeth pulled…well on the top right tooth it’s hurting still really bad. That’s the tooth my dentist crumbled into pieces while trying to pull it out. Is it suppose to hurt like this…i feel like my nerve is throbbing…my other teeth feel fine,except the one she damaged into pieces. HELP!!! Pain pain go away i cant sleep and i even took my pain meds!!!

  • Bob March 15th, 2016 4:50 pm

    Dear Dr,
    I’m 56 and a mouthful of problems and very limited funds. The two pressing issues are a broken front tooth that has ruined my smile and a broken(missing filling)/infected molar. I’m getting some vlc composite resin to build a new front tooth and possibly fill my molar. My question is this: will it work to use a light activated one step etching cement on the broken tooth and then just apply the resin onto that? I don’t think just putting the resin into the tooth and curing the thin applications will actually stick to existing tooth by itself. I’m not needing anything perfect , just better than what it is now. Thank you

  • Michael Sinkin March 16th, 2016 10:16 am

    Dear Bob,
    I truly sympathize with your situation, but I can’t in good conscience advise you how to proceed. It’s a bit more complicated than just sticking material on your tooth. There’s the tooth’s nerve to consider, the surrounding gum tissue, the adjacent teeth, your bite, how are you going to shape and polish once you light cure it? You really need to see a dentist. That’s my advice to you.
    Best of luck,

  • Bob March 16th, 2016 12:10 pm

    I understand your position and thank you for taking the time to reply. I have considered the nerve, gums and protecting adjacent teeth. I’m going to practice building a tooth before I simply stick material on the actual tooth. I’m just unsure of what is actually required to make the resin adhere to the tooth. The acid etching especially makes me nervous and finding laymen information is not easy. Seeing a dentist is just not an option. I understand a person in pain will do or pay anything to make it stop, what i don’t understand is how many dentists can take advantage of that.

  • Michael Sinkin March 16th, 2016 1:25 pm

    Yes, it’s possible to feel the pain you are experiencing because you are obviously feeling it! You need to see your dentist as soon as possible. The other extractions went well, but this one clearly has complications. Your dentist should be able to give you some relief and reassurance.
    Feel better,
    Dr. Sinkin

  • maria March 20th, 2016 8:46 pm

    Hi Dr. Sinkin,

    I need a root canal and that particular tooth the hole got a bit bigger and started killing me a couple days ago.
    Oragel and 800mg ibuprofen was doing the job until last night. I’ve put on some clove and more oragel and the pain is OKAY right now. More of that throbbing pain where my gums hurt too…I have taken some clindamycine for the past couple days just in case. Do you recommend a medicated filling will hold until I get the funds for the root canal? I have one in another tooth that actually needs the same tx, and it’s held for over a year! No pain…thanks . and I did contact my dentist but she hasn’t answered me as of yet.

  • Michael Sinkin March 21st, 2016 9:08 am

    Dear Maria,
    You are certainly resourceful and have managed your mini-crisis effectively. It is possible that an over-the-counter temporary filling may buy you some more time as it usually contains cloves and might offer continued relief. BUT…sealing up a potentially abcessed tooth may make the situation worse. Even if you need root canal and finances are a problem, your dentist could offer palliative care as a stop-gap measure and help you with a treatment plan that will address your needs in a staged treatment approach. Reach out to your dentist again and see if a personalized plan can be devised that considers your dental, personal and financial particulars. Good luck. And, please if you find relief from our discussion of home remedies, remember that pain is a symptom of an underlying condition that needs professional attention. Don’t get lulled into a false sense of security.
    Good luck,
    Dr. Sinkin

  • Tiffany Shuman April 16th, 2016 1:41 am

    I have a hole in my tooth it’s been hurting last few days been eating ibuprofen like candy I am a single mom so can’t really afford a dentist Wat do u suggest

  • Michael Sinkin April 19th, 2016 8:13 pm

    Dear Tiffany,
    I can’t tell you the number of times that I have received cries for help because of tooth pain and financial distress. Either condition is bad enough, but together….uggh! There are certain over-the-counter dental products that you may try, like Dent-Temp. You can usually find them a well stocked pharmacy. Follow the directions on the package. You will need to see a dentist at some point as your tooth most likely has decay which will only get worse. Be well and good luck.
    Dr. Sinkin

  • Beth May 8th, 2016 11:00 pm

    Hi doc,
    I’m 15 years old and have got agonising tooth ache in the top and bottom of my mouth on the right side. I have tried doing the salty water and I’ve also taken 2 nefopam. I cannot sleep because the pain is agonising and as it is a Sunday//Monday morning all emergency dentists are closed until 9am. I don’t know what has caused this however I have got decay in the base of my tooth. My gums are inflamed and the pain just won’t go away! Help me please???

    Many thanks Beth

  • Michael Sinkin May 9th, 2016 12:58 pm

    Dear Beth,

    I am sorry for your troubles. Nefopam is not a commonly prescribed medication, but is in the family of non-opioid centrally acting pain relievers. You simply need to see a dentist. Warm salt water swishing and possibly an NSAID, like ibuprofen (assuming you have no allergies or have not experienced effects from similar medications) or Tylenol is all I can recommend. Given your age, I am reticent to give you any advice that would postpone your needed dental visit. Good luck and feel better.

    Dr. Sinkin

  • Kay May 14th, 2016 1:50 am

    Hello, I have a broken maxillary bicuspid that my dentist told me was infected, and she recommended extraction. The problem? I live in an a very remote area where the only options are oral surgery at a hospital known for having an inordinately high rate of death during non-risky procedures. I have multiple sclerosis, and our hospital’s high rate of septic deaths concerns me greatly. Because infection alone can lead to disability for me thanks to the M.S., I’m automatically wary of any place with less than stellar reputation for infections. On top of the M.S., I also have a midline anomaly which in youth complicated my dental health (have one singular front tooth, exactly in the middle).

    Oral surgery when I was young to “make room” in my mouth removed 8 teeth, including 2 impacted teeth up top that they’d said were blocked by baby teeth, but I recall actually losing the teeth that were in the way (i.e., the surgeon actually removed permanent teeth even though he assumed they were deciduous teeth, probably because other teeth were still stuck beneath them), so I think what I had maybe fits under the category of “supernumary teeth” even though it was only two of them.

    After surgery, I began having sinus problems, requiring 2 sinus surgeries, one of which my surgeon said was the worst case of swelling he’d seen in his 3,000 times performing the procedure. I had large gaps in my upper jaw due to the oral surgery, that eventually filled in but I suspect I’ve experienced some bone loss in my alveolar plate over the years (I’m 40, have family history of severe osteoporosis, and the broken tooth crumbled pretty easily…. it’s immediately adjacent to a bridge, and it actually broke while I was flossing!).

    After the oral and sinus surgeries, I went on to develop chronic migraines and M.S….. I’ve no idea how this is all related, if at all, but I’m far too worried about post-surgical complications in an area with one neurologist in a 600 mile radius (no joke), and a “Hotel California” type hospital. I’m considering traveling to a city near my family, where I could get an oral surgeon well versed in some of the sinus issues and hopefully some of the congenital dental anomalies I have as well.

    What subspecialty of oral surgeon should I seek out for this? Is a craniofacial surgeon appropriate?

    And should I return to my dentist for antibiotic treatment for the infection, until I can get to a surgeon out of state? I feel like the infection may be affecting my M.S. Thank you.

  • Michael Sinkin May 15th, 2016 11:57 am

    Hello there,

    That is quite a story….sounds, more like A Little Shop of Horrors than Hotel California!
    May I suggest you see a board-certified (or equivalent if you’re not in the U.S) oral and maxillary surgeon to evaluate your condition. And yes, you should definitely return to your dentist immediately if you have an infection.

    Good luck and safe travels.

    Dr. Sinkin

  • michelle July 31st, 2016 10:57 pm

    Dr. Sinkin, you are so wonderful and kind for answering these dental questions. I am 46 and have had all 4 wisdom teeth out. This weekend I developed serious pain in one of my top molars. Out of the blue with no previous problems. I have an appointment for the dentist tomorrow but of course I have tremendous anxiety and fear. My whole face is throbbing and I look like a chipmunk. This pain is seriously worse than child birth.

  • Michael Sinkin August 1st, 2016 12:30 pm

    Dear Michelle,
    I am so sorry for your suffering. What you didn’t say was when your wisdom teeth were extracted. So I can’t surmise is whether you are experiencing post-operative sequella or if there might be another problem going on. Either way, you obviously did right by scheduling a dental appointment. I am confident that your dentist will be able to get to the “root” of the problem. Please try to find some calm. The intensity of your pain may be greater than the underlying problem causing it and pain in and of itself can engender a lot of anxiety and stress.
    Good luck and feel better.
    Dr. Sinkin

  • Jennifer August 28th, 2016 8:13 pm

    Hey I have a throbbing pain I my last top left molar. I had broke it months ago and have never felt pain. This pain started a few days ago. First it was a couple of my top left teeth, then the next day the pain was barely there. Then this morning no pain. Then a few hours later I had pain. Took a nap after taking 2 -599mg Tylenol and not my lad too left molar is throbbing. It hurts to bite down. It feels like it might be swollen since that side seems to but down a little lower then the right. What should I do? What could this be? What’s sown temporary relief?? Pleas help thanks

  • Michael Sinkin August 29th, 2016 8:45 pm

    Dear Jenn,
    Sorry for your troubles. Clearly what you need to do is to see a dentist. The swelling that you describe might very well be an abscess (infection). Please, seek out professional care before matters worsen. Good luck.
    Dr. Sinkin

  • Whitney November 16th, 2016 11:32 pm

    Hi ive had a broken tooth since last year i think its been hurting so much latly and i cant go to the dentist till jan and my teeth cannot stand cold water should i try the onion or garlic trick? Also asprin dont rly help either thanks and plz reply and im female

  • Michael Sinkin November 17th, 2016 9:24 am

    Dear Whitney,

    Aside from alternatives to aspirin like Advil or Tylenol (only if you can take them) I can recommend frequent warm salt water rinsing. I’m afraid that home remedies only go so far. You may have an access forming which will most certainly need a dentist’s care. If there’s any way you can get to the dentist before January, do it! If it’s a financial issue, perhaps your dentist will work with you to delay or spread out payments. Good luck.

    Dr. Sinkin

  • Vee November 19th, 2016 9:29 pm

    Hi Doctor! Thank you for your kindness i. Answering all these questions after all this time!

    I had a root canal done about 5 years ago on one of my molars. For the past few days it has been aching really bad. The pain travels to my neck and ear. I’m going to try and schedule something soon with someone, but I’m wondering, how is this possible if a root canal was already done? It hurts worse now than it did pre-root canal. I can’t even bite down or sleep well :(

  • Michael Sinkin November 21st, 2016 9:48 am

    Dear Vee,

    While your tooth may have had root canal that doesn’t mean that you can’t/don’t have sensation. The tooth is not vital in the sense that in as much as the nerve has been removed you won’t respond to cold, sweets or temperature changes. But the tooth is very much a part of your body and will respond to pressure and biting forces because it is surrounded and connected to living tissue such as bone,connective tissue (what is commonly referred to as the periodontal ligament) and of course gums. One possible cause of pain is a gum infection around the tooth. This can manifest itself by the symptoms you describe.
    Also, when a tooth fractures (especially along the root), severe pain on biting and abscess formation can result. Sometimes, even years after root canal was completed, a reinfection can occur around the root. Possibly, there is an extra nerve canal that was not detected when the original treatment was performed. Whatever the cause, clearly you need to see your dentist for an evaluation and hopefully your problem can be easily addressed.
    Best of luck,
    Dr. Sinkin

  • Tubig S. Lasang January 13th, 2017 5:32 am

    Dear Dr, thank you for your posts — very practical and helpful. May I ask for your opinion on my dental issues even if am not based in your country? This is my story: Many years ago my dentist treated me for TMJ. After the 1st 1-yr long step of wearing a brace, she gave me a # of options & I chose overdentures (one metal, the other acrylic which she had made in a lab for me) instead of crowns. Despite some discomfort in using an overdenture, I was generally ok. Till I turned 60. My problem is that most of my teeth ache every now & then especially w/ hot & cold food. I notice dental caries forming. Am wondering if the overdenture/s, especially the metal one are aggravating this condition which, according to my dentist, comes w/ age. Are crowns a better option? I did not like the idea of “damaging” my relatively healthy teeth but maybe now that they are (given the chronic pain), is it advisable? Thank you very much.

  • Michael Sinkin January 13th, 2017 9:18 am

    Dear Tubig,

    From your description, I am going to assume that what you are describing as over dentures are in fact partial dentures. Partial dentures replace the missing teeth and gum tissue and generally have some sort of clasp or hook to grab onto the existing teeth for support. Over dentures are very different and involve either implants or “filed down” teeth with coverings called copings over which the denture sits, The teeth/implants are not visible when the denture is in place.

    Well-fitting partial dentures can be an excellent treatment option. However, impeccable home care and proper maintenance are very important because the supporting teeth can be more vulnerable to decay and stress if the fit and stability of the partial is altered. Crowns and permanent bridges are an excellent option if there is a sufficient number and health of the teeth.
    Crowns can also be used on the remaining teeth to help better support the partial and obviate the need for clasps. Crowns can also help protect the teeth from decay by covering exposed tooth structure. Excellent home care and professional monitoring is still critical.

    I hope this information helps. Wishing you well.

    Dr. Sinkin

  • Tubig S. Lasang January 17th, 2017 6:25 am

    Thank you so much for your extreme kindness and very informative response to my concern.

    My dentist used the term “over denture” for what she made for me many years ago, but indeed, it does look like the partial denture you described (does not have a clasp for one). She even said it’s what Hollywood actors use to enhance their teeth *smile* and is not a common practice here in the Philippines. This in effect was her way of saying that she did something special for me because I dreaded, w/ crowns, “destroying” my yet-healthy teeth at that time.

    And now that my teeth under the partial denture are aching (one got chipped) I guess it’s time to talk about the possibility of crowns — if my teeth can be saved that is, I guess. (Whew! I can’t help but wonder why things have become complicated — TMJ, removal of mercury amalgams which were put there by past dentists in the first place, & the like. Thank you for bearing with my ramblings, Dr.)

    In wholeness,TsL

  • Edelle Waller January 22nd, 2017 5:13 pm

    I lost an inlay yesterday and cannot get dental service until Monday. I am not having pain in the tooth. A small ache in my jaw. A friend said there is some temporary filling material I could find at the drugstore, over the counter. Are you familiar with it? Is anyone?

  • Michael Sinkin January 23rd, 2017 10:05 am

    Dear Edelle,

    Yes there is temporary dental filling material available at most pharmacies in the oral care department. For the most part, they work very well to protect a broken tooth or to fill a void that was,once occupied by a filling that has been lost. It can also serve to cover and fill the exposed tooth that was once the home of your now displaced inlay. But, before you proceed with dental first-aid for your tooth, I would want to know if you still have your inlay. If you do and it is tooth colored, as in a porcelain inlay, and you have no pain or sensitivity AND you are seeing your dentist in a day or two, I would refrain from filling your tooth with a store bought material. These materials generally have eugenol (oil of cloves) which is sedative in nature. This is good for sensitivity but potentially bad for bonding which is how a porcelain inlay is cemented. This active ingredient in the temporary filling may weaken the re-cementation process.
    Good luck.
    Dr. Sinkin

© 2008 Dr. Michael Sinkin, D.D.S.