Throughout America, countless people are spending more time at home in response to stay-at-home orders designed to combat the COVID-19 outbreak. Unfortunately, as their lives are disrupted, many people adopt poor dietary habits that impact their dental health. If you’ve developed a toothache during the outbreak, here’s what you should know.
When to See a Dentist
While many dental offices are still open during the COVID-19 outbreak, most are only providing essential or emergency care. If you have a toothache, swelling, loose tooth, infection or cracked/broken tooth, you may need emergency treatment. Call your dental office to find out whether your toothache or other dental concern might require timely attention. If you can’t get through to your dentist, call us at (800) Gentle-1 or (800) 436-8531. Our agents will help you find the help you need.
Treating a Toothache at Home
If your dental pain isn’t caused by a serious underlying issue, you may be able to treat it at home for a short period of time while scheduling an appointment. There are essentially two ways to treat a toothache: reducing inflammation or interrupting the signals from the injury leading to the brain.
You can treat inflammation by applying a cold pack to the side of your face. Just be sure to use a cloth barrier between the cold pack and your skin. You can also treat inflammation by taking an over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen. This will also help interrupt the signals from the injury leading to the brain.
Acetaminophen alone will reduce pain, but it isn’t an anti-inflammatory.
Natural Ways to Stop a Toothache
In addition to over-the-counter medications and cold packs, there are some natural ways you can lessen tooth pain. These include:
Warm Salt Water
Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water every few hours can clean out infected areas and provide temporary pain relief.
Sometimes, when the pain comes from the jaw joint and not from the teeth, discomfort can be eased by applying a hot pack to your jaw. If you don’t have a hot pack, dampen a small towel and place in the microwave to warm it up (careful not to overheat). Apply to the face for alternating periods of 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off for one hour.
Peppermint Tea Bags
Peppermint tea bags have mild numbing effects that can ease oral pain. Most people cool their tea bags in the refrigerator or freezer before use.
Tooth Sensitivity Relief
Quite often, oral pain results from tooth sensitivity; in fact, research suggests that 1 in 8 Americans suffer from sensitive teeth. If your pain is caused by sensitive teeth, you can try these tips for reducing tooth sensitivity.
Over-The-Counter Pain Relievers
For a short period of time, you can also try an OTC product containing benzocaine, such as Anbesol, Orabase or Orajel. These should not be used for longer than a few days.