A toothache is a painful tooth. Sometimes it is just a temporarily sensitive tooth. If the toothache persists, however, it usually means tooth decay or a cavity is present. One complication of a decaying tooth is a gum boil just below the gum line. The infection in the tooth may also spread to the face (giving a swollen cheek) or to the lymph node just under the jawbone.
First use dental floss on either side of the painful tooth. The removal of a jammed piece of food may bring quick relief.
Treat your toothache with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil). If the pain lasts more than a day or becomes severe, call your dentist. A cold pack on the jaw for 20 minutes may also help.
If you cannot see a dentist for several days and an open cavity is visible, clean all food out of the cavity with a toothpick, Water-Pik, or water in a syringe. Put in a few drops of oil of cloves (80% eugenol). You won't need a prescription to get oil of cloves at your drugstore. If the cavity is large, pack it with a small piece of cotton soaked with oil of cloves. Try to keep the oil of cloves off the tongue because it stings. The cavity can also be temporarily sealed with melted candle wax. Just rub it in with your fingertip.
Swish warm salt water around in your mouth. This can help reduce gum swelling and reduce tooth pain.
Brush your teeth, especially the back molars, after every meal. Be sure to use a fluoride toothpaste. Have regular dental check-ups.
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