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Fight Against Toothache

A piece of fine advice for survival

Toothache may sneak up on you overnight. It may also take months to develop. Well, it doesn't really matter, as the end result is always the same: "Oooouch! Darn, it hurts, it really hurts." But you can make yourself more comfortable if you handle the pain appropriately. Here are some common questions about fighting against toothache that are often asked by patients. Check them out. They may be those questions you have in mind about toothache.


My tooth has just started hurting. How do I know when to see the dentist or to take pain medications?

Toothache is best treated when it just starts. See your dentist as soon as possible. If you need pain reliever, take it before the pain gets worst.

There are so many different types of pain relievers in the market. Which one is the best?

The main pain medications available over the counter are Acetaminophen (found in Tylenol), Acetylsalicylic Acid (found in Aspirin), Ibuprofen (found in Motrin, Advil) and Naproxen Sodium (Aleve). The eclectic choice of painkiller on the shelf in the pharmacy can be confusing but most of them contain at least one of the aforementioned ingredients. Two medications with the same ingredients with different brand name serve the same function. So there is no simple answer as each medication is good for different type of pain. (please read on for more details).

My tooth is aching. At the same time the area around it feels like burning and swelling as well. What should I do?

Burning and swelling can be caused by inflammation. Painkiller with anti-inflammatory properties is perhaps the best reliefer to take. Good examples are acetylsalicylic acid (found in Asprin), ibuprofen (found in Motrin, Advil), and Naproxen Sodium (Aleve). But they may not be suitable for you if your stomach can easily get upset. If you think you may need to have the tooth taken out soon, don't take any reliefer with acetylsalicylic acid (found in Asprin), so to avoid excessive bleeding after the operation.

What is a good drug to take if I have a toothache and my stomach can get easily upset?

Stick with Acetaminophen (found in Tylenol). You may also want to try to take some acetylsalicylic acid (found in Asprin) and ibuprofen (found in Motrin, Advil ) together. A word of warning: NEVER take the "cocktail" with either at the maximum dose, as it may cause more harm. Consult your pharmacist if you have any doubt.

My toothache has settled down after I took some pain medications. Do I still need to see a dentist?

Definitely. The pain medication may help relieving the pain for you but not resolving the problem. The pain may eventually come back only to hit you harder.

I don't think it is my tooth but my jawthat is hurting. What is a good medication to take?

A reason to hurting jaws can be the muscles around them go into spasm or there is an inflammation around the jaw joint or the surrounding muscles. Some pain medications for back pain may be a good drug to try. Other good ones include those pain medications with anti-inflammatory functions, such as acetylsalicylic acid, ibuprofen, and Naproxen Sodium. Again, consult your pharmacist or dentist if you have any doubt.

I have taken the pain medication according to the directions on the label. It is not working too well. Would it be all right if I double up the maximum dose?

ABSOLUTELY NOT. Overdose can be very harmful to your health. Indeed, that harm done can be long-term. If one pain medication is not working, it can be due to the fact that your body has developed tolerance towards that particular type of pain medication. Try to switch to another kind of pain medication. If the pain is very intense, and you cannot reach your dentist or physician, the doctor at the emergency room at any hospitals may be able to prescribe you something stronger to temporarily relieve the pain.

My grandma told me to place an aspirin right beside the tooth to relief toothache. Does it work?

It may only work after you have swallowed that aspirin. Putting aspirin on the gum can only burn the tissue and cause more pain. For aspirin to work, you just have to take it.

My gum is very sore. Apart from taking pain medication, is there anything else I can do?

Rinsing diluted warm salt water always help. Many perceive commercial mouthwash to be a great alternative to salt water. It may not be the case since monthwash contains a high percentage of alcohol, which irritates gum tissue. At the same time, it is a good idea to avoid food that is too hot, too spicy or too acidic.

I always get cold sores in my mouth. What is the best to use to cure it?

Unfortunately, there isn't anything that is very effective to cure cold sores. However, there are some topical medications available in drug stores or prescribed by your dentist to speed up the healing. Choose those with anti-bacterial or anti-inflammatory ingredients. Products that merely contain topical anesthetics (e.g. benzocaine) can only numb the sores. In other words, they can make you feel better but have no therapeutic value.