Toothache Overview (cont.)
Donna S. Bautista, DDS
Dr. Donna S. Bautista, DDS, completed her undergraduate studies at the University of California, San Diego with a bachelor of arts in biochemistry and cell biology. During her time at UC San Diego, she was involved in basic research including studying processes related to DNA transcription in the field of molecular biology. Upon graduation, she went on to attend dental school at the University of California, San Francisco. In addition to her formal dental training, she provided dental care for underserved communities in the Bay Area through clinics and health fairs. She also worked toward mentoring high school students interested in the field of dentistry.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- What is a toothache?
- What causes a toothache?
- What are toothache symptoms and signs?
- How is a toothache diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for a toothache?
- Are home remedies effective for a toothache?
- How is a toothache treated during pregnancy?
- What is the prognosis for a toothache?
- Is it possible to prevent a toothache?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
Are home remedies effective for a toothache?
Generally, home remedies are only effective as a temporary measure to calm a toothache and are not intended to cure a toothache. Over-the-counter pain medicines such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) are called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and are best taken on a schedule to provide pain relief. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is an alternative painkiller. In some cases, alternating doses of ibuprofen and acetaminophen is effective.
Clove oil is a natural ingredient that is used in some sedative dental filling materials and can be found at the pharmacy. It can be applied to an exposed area of the tooth by biting into a small cotton ball that is soaked with clove oil. Other products which contain benzocaine (including Orajel or Anbesol) can temporarily numb the affected tooth or gums and provide relief as well.
One should avoid chewing on the affected tooth/area and minimize extreme temperatures of hot and cold. Keeping the area clean and free of food debris may help as well.
Above all, proper diagnosis and treatment by a dental professional is strongly advised to effectively treat a toothache.
How is a toothache treated during pregnancy?
Dental treatment can be safely performed during pregnancy as long as a few guidelines are followed.
Generally, if dental work is required to treat a toothache, the recommended time for treatment is during the second trimester of pregnancy. However, if there is a risk of infection or severe pain, dental treatment may need to be performed at any point during a pregnancy. The obstetrician is consulted on what would be the safest option to avoid any possible complications during dental treatment.
If a dental X-ray is needed, a lead apron is always used to properly protect the patient and baby. For a pregnant patient, this is particularly important in protecting the unborn child.
Careful consideration should be made to ensure that any medications that are used are safe during pregnancy. This applies to local anesthetics administered during dental treatment and antibiotics (such as amoxicillin [Amoxil, Trimox, Moxatag, Larotid]) taken before or after treatment. Over-the-counter drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen are avoided as these are not considered safe during pregnancy. Acetaminophen is considered safe for pain management.
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