To begin, we would like to provide a friendly reminder that Little Rock Family Dental is available for emergency dentistry between the hours of 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday – Friday, even during lunch.
What is Emergency Dental Care?
Emergency dental care is an incredibly important service, one that we strive to make available to our customers.
Sudden toothaches are very painful, so much so that it can even hinder you from getting to your local dentist who can solve the problem. Toothache symptoms might include:
- Sharp tooth pain that feels like someone is stabbing at your tooth with something pointed, like a pick
- Throbbing tooth pain where you might feel like your tooth has its own heartbeat
- Inflammation around the tooth, such as in the gumline
- Red, irritated gums
- Generalized mouth pain that is hard to pinpoint
Tooth pain can be a symptom of another larger issue, such as tooth decay. If left untreated, tooth decay can be seriously difficult and expensive problem to treat. If you have other serious symptoms, such as fever and chills, trouble swallowing or breathing, or a foul tasting discharge, there is a chance you have more serious dental issues that need to be addressed immediately.
Causes of Tooth Pain
The most vital part of the tooth is dental pulp — it is what enables sensations of tooth sensitivity or pain. The pulp is the soft area within the center of the tooth that contains the nerve, blood vessels, and connective tissues. It is commonly referred to as the nerve and branches down each root through the canals of the tooth.
When the pulp is irritated or stimulated, you experience pain or pressure. A toothache includes any pain, soreness, or ache in or around a tooth. The pain can be sharp or dull, can be painful when chewing or biting, and your tooth may even be extra sensitive to temperature. Tooth pain can be an extremely unpleasant and frustrating experience, especially when the cause of the pain is unknown. If you can determine what might be causing the ache, it is easier to help relieve the pain in the meantime before your dental appointment.
Toothaches and pain are commonly caused by these factors:
- Tooth decay – Bacteria “eat” through the hard enamel outer layer of a tooth
- Gum disease – Infection of the gums, such as gingivitis, causes bacteria to build up around the roots resulting in toothaches
- Teeth grinding and clenching (Bruxism) – often occur while sleeping and without you knowing it
- Sensitive teeth – Develops from exposed dentin (the tissue that lies underneath the enamel and the cementum) caused by cavities, worn fillings, cracked teeth, or receding gums
- Tooth pulp inflammation (Pulpitis) – Tooth decay extends deep into the tooth pulp causing it to become inflamed and irritated
- Fractured tooth – A crack or split can happen by biting on something hard, or falling or getting hit in the jaw or face with something hard
- Abscess – Part or all of the pulp inside the tooth dies, and the dead tissue makes a “pocket” of bacteria and pus called an abscess
- Impacted tooth – When teeth (most commonly wisdom teeth) are prevented from moving into their proper position in the mouth by other teeth, gums, or bone
We understand tooth pain is not something to take lightly, so we wanted to provide some quick pain relief techniques using natural remedies to hold the pain at bay until you can get help. These are helpful because many of the items used to provide the relief can be found in almost every household.
Note: these pain relief techniques are only temporary and are in no way a substitute for seeking dental advice or help. We are incredibly grateful to our large, committed, and experienced staff that allows us to remain available outside regular business hours to help our customers in emergency situations.
How to Stop a Toothache with Home Remedies
If you are unable to have your toothache examined right away by a dental professional, you’re still likely seeking relief from the pain. Luckily, many items you can find right in your home can help!
Salt + Hot Water
The most common, and arguably the easiest, method for relieving tooth pain can be accomplished easily with just salt and water, something everyone has in their kitchen. Salt and hot water has long been known to provide relief for toothaches. This solution will draw out the fluids from the gums that are causing the irritation and help reduce the aching sensation.
Mixing a single tablespoon (1 tbsp) of salt in a glass of hot or warm water and then rinsing/gargling will provide the relief, which can be repeated if necessary.
Ice or Cold Compress
Probably the most obvious and easiest to do method of pain relief, using ice or a cold compress on the inside or outside of the side of your mouth that has the hurting tooth.
Head to the bathroom of your house and find this common ingredient to help with pain relief. Use hydrogen peroxide by itself or diluted in water – simply gargle it and spit!
Want to numb your tooth pain? Swishing alcohol like whiskey, scotch, vodka, and brandy will kill the germs and help numb the area around the tooth. A cotton ball soaked in alcohol and applied to the affected area might also be a good way to apply this pain reliever.
Note: We do not recommend this method for patients under the age of 21 under any circumstances.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Not only does apple cider vinegar have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, but because it is acidic, it also kills the bacteria causing your toothache. You can use apple cider vinegar for pain by soaking a cotton ball in it and pressing it gently on the tooth.
Peppermint Leaves, Peppermint Extract, or Peppermint Tea
Peppermint is known for its ability to reduce swelling and soreness, so it’s no wonder there are so many ways you can utilize it to help with a toothache! If you have fresh peppermint leaves, you can chew them to help with the pain, or if they are dry, simply hold them against the tooth.
If you have peppermint extract on hand, soak a cotton ball or a Q-tip in it and hold it on the affected tooth for a brief time.
Finally, you can use peppermint in tea with just a few dry leaves in a cup of warm water. Simply steep them for 20 minutes and swish some in your mouth.
Vanilla, Almond, Or Lemon Extract
Soaking a cotton ball or cotton swab (Q-Tip) in any of these extracts will provide temporary pain relief to an aching tooth or mouth. Simply hold the extract-soaked cotton to the pained area for a short period of time.
There are several oils that contain pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties that can be used to temporarily reduce toothache pain. Methods of application can be rinsing your mouth with a small amount of oil combined with water, or applying the oil directly to a cotton swab or cotton ball.
Here is a list of oils that can be used for tooth pain relief:
- Sunflower oil
- Sesame oil
- Oregano oil
- Nutmeg oil
- Clove oil
- Tea tree oil
Leaves & Roots
Plantain leaves, ginger root, and garlic are all able to reduce pain similarly to the above mentioned temporary treatments. The leaves have anti inflammatory properties and the roots have antibacterial properties, both of which will help relieve pain to the sore area(s).
Plantain leaves relieve tooth pain easily. To release the anti inflammatory agents, you will need to chew the leaves. Once this is done, hold the pieces of leaves over the sore area(s) to continue aiding in the pain relief process.
To use garlic for relief, crush a garlic clove into a paste. For additional pain reduction, you can mix rock salt into the paste and then apply directly to the sore area.
Using ginger to relieve pain is much a much simpler process. Like with the plantain leaves, all you need to do is take a fresh piece of ginger and chew it. Doing this should bring pain relief shortly.
They may be a bit sour, but lemons and limes can also provide relief from a toothache. High amounts of citric acid and vitamin C present in both fruits work to destroy bacteria and support the immune system. To use lemons and limes for tooth pain relief, prepare the lemons and limes by cutting them into slices, bite into them partially to release the juice, and then place into sore areas.
Believe it or not, a raw potato can absorb excess moisture (as many people who experience tooth pain might also notice they are producing extra saliva) and help reduce swelling. If you have a potato and want to explore this method, slice a medium size piece and hold it inside your cheek against the painful tooth. You can also try mashing some potato with some sea salt and applying it like a paste to the tooth.
Onions are another root vegetable that can aid in the toothache relief process. Like with some previously mentioned methods, simply chew a small slice of fresh onion for a few minutes, or you can hold the slice in your mouth and bite it to release the juices that soothe the pain.
You have probably heard before that using cucumber as a household remedy for pain and inflammation is popular, but how about using it on a sore tooth? A chilled cucumber or slice of fresh cucumber can be held against the tooth that hurts.Also, like other methods that use food, try mashing some of the cucumber into a paste and applying it to the area.
You might find this spice in your spice rack or pantry, but turmeric utilizes antiseptic and antibacterial properties that aid in relieving pain. Make a paste using this spice and water, then apply to the tooth. Raw turmeric can also be ingested.
Similar to acupuncture, but without the needles, acupressure is a home remedy you can try that doesn’t involve ingesting, mixing, mashing, or applying anything to the tooth. To relieve tooth pain with acupressure, find the pressure point on the back of your hand between the thumb and forefinger (also called the index finger). Massage this spot for two minutes or try applying ice to release endorphins.
Tooth Pain Relief is in Sight!
Again, all of the above are temporary methods of toothache relief that can be achieved with household items, and are not intended to replace a dental check-up to diagnose the cause of the pain. Dental offices take emergency cases very seriously, and we are no exception, so if you have a dental emergency, please don’t wait to call your local dentist.
Lastly, you should always call us in an emergency if at all possible.
If you have any questions about our services, hours of operation, or would simply like to set up
an appointment with one of our dentists, don’t hesitate to contact us immediately or by calling (501) 954-9900.