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There are primarily four events that can cause a toothache.
- The tooth can be impacted in the bone and trying to move or grow placing pressure and pain on the area.
- The gum around the tooth has been invaded by bacteria causing the tooth to loosen and become sore.
- The tooth has been infected by bacteria and over time the bacteria can eat its way to the nerve of the tooth. Often the bacteria will enter the nerve and cause an abscess.
- Outside forces can work on the tooth causing it to break and become very sore. We often find a combination of one or more of these factors working together to make it impossible for you to tolerate the pain.
There are several home remedies that can provide pain relief until you are able to see a dentist.
If you are simply experiencing tooth sensitivity due to cold or heat, there are some over the counter toothpastes designed to control pain. When the toothpaste is used in combination with an anti-inflammatory medication such as aspirin, Ibuprofen (Advil) or Naproxen Sodium (Aleve) it may relieve the pain until you are able to see a dentist. The strongest over the counter pain relief is Iburofen 400mgs erery 4 hours with Acetaminophen (Tylenol) 1000mgs every 4-6 hours.
If you broke a tooth and it is feels rough against your cheek or tongue, try smoothing it with sandpaper or an emery board until you see a dentist.
If the soreness is only around the gum at the place where the tooth and gum meet, you may try using hydrogen peroxide or numbing the gum with an anesthetic agent such as benzocaine or oral gel to give some added relief.
Most advanced toothaches are caused by bacteria entering the bone and blood stream. If this is the case, you will need antibiotics such as penicillin to kill the infection and prevent further swelling. Using a cold pack on the outside of your face may also reduce pain. Never use heat on the outside of the face, it will increase pain and swelling. Some Canadian studies have shown that rubbing ice on the skin between your thumb and first finger helped some people.
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