A toothache must be the most painful of all other kinds of pain that I can think of. The worst part of this symptom, or the toothache that I am talking about, is that it occurs usually in the middle of the night when everybody else is fast asleep! Yes, that includes your dentist and the chemist shops too, unless you are lucky enough to be staying close to one of the 24hrs open types. This toothache will either be a sharp, throbbing and continuous or a nagging kind of pain that just won’t fade away.
So, what can you do in this kind of an emergency? For, it is an emergency for you to get relief from that pain as soon as you can, so that you can at least go back to sleep and think of finally making that “fearful” and as yet much “postponed” trip to the DENTIST, that you didn’t want to in the first place!
Well, the first thing I would recommend you to do is something that you should have done much before you could get any pain, and that is stocking your medicine box with painkillers. If you have done that, then half your problems are solved. All you need is a strong painkiller that you can easily get ‘over the counter’ at the chemist. There are different kinds of painkillers that are available like: paracetamol, aspirin, dispirin, ibuprofen, mefenamic acid etc…
Now, before you start taking any medication, I would recommend you to follow these simple steps:
· Take warm water with a little salt in it and rinse out your mouth thoroughly so as to clean any debris or food particle that may be stuck in between your teeth and gums. You may add an antiseptic mouthwash to this water also if you have any.
· Use floss, and or a toothpick if required to remove any particles that may be stuck in between the teeth.
· If this hasn’t taken care of the pain and it still persists then check yourself and see if you have any swelling intraorally or extraorally, (inside the mouth or outside the mouth in relation to the offending tooth) and or any discharge. Do you have any fever? If your answer is no to all the above questions then you are in a better position.
· If you have answered NO to the above questions then go ahead and take a painkiller. A paracetamol and ibuprofen combination would be best, as it would take care of pain and inflammation together.
However, if you do not have paracetamol and ibuprofen then you can take one tablet of any other painkiller like aspirin, or dispirin or mefenamic acid for the time being.
· Now, since a medicine takes some time to act, in the meantime you could try to apply some clove oil (eugenol) to the tooth in question. This gives instant relief. The other alternative to this is clove, which can be crushed and placed on the tooth. Bite on it for a few minutes. However, do not place anything like aspirin or clove between your gums and teeth, as it will burn the tissue.
· Another alternative is to simply keep water in your mouth; it gives relief to the toothache. (This is my personal experience) The water should not be hot or cold.
These simple steps should take care of your toothache till the morning when you can then rush to your dentist (which you must) for immediate treatment. The dentist can then prescribe the proper medicines and antibiotics if required, according to the condition of the tooth.
· In case you find that you have a swelling intraorally or extraorally along with fever then you can take the painkiller as mentioned above to relieve the pain and inflammation. You can also apply some ice to the affected area from outside for five to ten minutes, which will provide some relief.
· However, DO NOT apply heat to the affected area as this will only exacerbate the condition even more and help in spreading the infection to deeper parts.
In this case, you probably have an abscess that needs to be drained and the tooth has to be extracted at the earliest. Therefore, visit the DENTIST in the morning as soon as possible so that he can prescribe antibiotics and appropriate painkillers and treat the abscess at the earliest.
*Pregnant women, and people who suffer from any other complications like asthma, heart problems or diabetes etc, need to be cautious about ANY medication that they take, and should consult with a doctor beforehand about such emergencies.