There you are, relaxing at the end of a long day and watching one of your favorite movies, when all the sudden, one of your teeth begins to painfully throb. Not only is your evening ruined, but it’s too late to make a trip to the emergency dentist. Not to mention that you can’t see how you’ll ever get to sleep in so much pain! What should you do? First, call the dentist’s office and leave a message for them to call you first thing in the morning. In many cases, they’ll be able to see you that same day. Then, use one of the 3 remedies listed below to manage the pain and get a good night’s rest.
Your blood travels to your head when you lay flat, which can increase the pain and inflammation from a toothache. Elevating yourself by putting 2-3 pillows under your upper back and head as you lay down can go a long way towards making you more comfortable.
2. Take Over-the-Counter Pain Reliever
Another effective strategy is taking an over-the-counter pain reliever of your choice, as directed. Ibuprofen works particularly well for dental pain, but you may want to avoid it if you’re already taking a prescription blood thinner such as Warfarin. Ibuprofen, along with other NSAIDs such as aspirin and naproxen, will further thin your blood. Instead, you can take acetaminophen.
Also, don’t apply crushed-up aspirin directly to your tooth or gums. You may have heard this is a good remedy, but it can actually burn your gum tissue.
3. Apply a Cold Compress
Applying a cold compress is a great way to help the blood vessels constrict and “cool” inflammation (and the pain that goes with it). You can either wrap some ice in a towel or use a bag of frozen vegetables like peas. Gently hold it to the outside of your cheek or lip for about 15 minutes at a time (to avoid irritating your skin). If needed, you can repeat these 15-minute intervals every couple of hours until your dental appointment.
Finally, one last note: These 3 temporary fixes are a great way to get relief from a nighttime toothache, but don’t forget that it’s still critical to have your tooth looked at by an emergency dentist, even if your pain goes away. In many cases, a toothache is your body’s “warning system” to let you know you have a dental infection that needs to be addressed.
With that said, these at-home remedies are a great way to help you get through the night as comfortably as possible.
About the Author
Dr. Gladston Silva is a general and emergency dentist who graduated with honors from NOVA Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale. He’s helped countless patients relieve the pain from a toothache while also providing outstanding restorative care to repair the damage from a severe cavity. If you have a toothache or have any questions, he can be reached via his website.