I remember when my mum had toothache which lasted days till she saw her dentist. She would not stop emphasising how childbirth was not as horrible. I have also heard this from several other people. Toothache is horrible, accompanied by a throbbing head, pulsating ear and eyes with sore mouth. Yes, it’s that bad. Therefore, you should see your dentist as soon as possible.
There are few things you can do to achieve a short-term relief in the mean time.
- Warm saline : Swishing warm saline mouth-rinse in the mouth has been proven to provide a soothing effect. Add a levelled-teaspoon of salt to about 16 ounces of warm water and VOILA! you are good to go. You can do this as many times as possible. There is no overdose but ensure that you are spitting out the warm saline and not swallowing it.
- Over the counter (OTC) pain relief: The OTC analgesic that is usually given is acetaminophen (a.k.a paracetamol). Ibuprofen can also be given to adults. Ensure to use the right dosage. This will provide quick relief, however, this should not stop you from visiting the dentist. If you do not get treatment, after a while the analgesic might become ineffective. Note that any pain relief given should be swallowed and not applied topically on the teeth or gum. Applying topically will cause further harm to the teeth and surrounding tissue.
- Topical anaesthesia: This can be applied on the teeth and gum to block the pain, an example is Benzocaine. Feeding can be made possible with this. An alternative, which is a natural remedy, is clove oil. Its mechanism of action is similar to topical anaesthesia.It can be applied using a ball of cotton wool.
Shout out to my Nigerian readers, please never use ‘TOUCH AND GO’; a popular toothache remedy usually sold on the streets. It contains an acidic solution and it is usually applied topically. It worsens the toothache by leading to abscess formation and this is the case with every patient I have treated who used the solution. Please avoid this toxic substance.
The ultimate solution to toothache to visit your dentist and get the appropriate treatment (not the above dentist though). Brush twice daily with fluoride-containing toothpaste and medium-textured toothbrush, reduce the consumption of refined sugar and ensure routine dental visits. Take care of those teeth, you need them all through life.
The naija dentist