Cavities do not always cause symptoms, but when they do, they can be downright painful. However, a cavity is not typically considered a dental emergency, so you may have to wait a few days before your dentist can get you in for a filling appointment. What can you do to manage the pain in the meantime? Here's a look.
There are a number of over-the-counter pain relievers, but ibuprofen is probably the best one to take for cavity pain. It does not just mask the pain. Instead, it helps relieve inflammation, which in turn reduces your pain. Some of the pain associated with a cavity is due to inflammation of tissues around the nerves leading to the affected tooth. Ibuprofen will relieve this inflammation, reducing the pain and throbbing you're experiencing. Take the medication according to package instructions, which will typically tell you to take one or two 200 mg pills every 4 - 6 hours.
Use clove oil
Clove oil is a good topical treatment for your sore tooth. You can buy it in most pharmacies in the tooth care section. Often, it is sold as a gel preparation, which makes it easier to apply than plain clove oil. Use a cotton swab to dab a little on your sore tooth. Be careful not to wipe it away with your tongue. You should feel the pain relief wash over you within minutes of applying the clove oil.
If you cannot find clove oil, you can try mixing a spoonful of ground cloves with a little olive oil and spreading that mixture on your tooth. Ground cloves can be found in the baking section of most grocery stores.
Swish with salt water
Cavities are caused by oral bacteria. The longer the bacteria keep eating away at your tooth, the more pain you'll experience. Mix a teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water and swish it around in your mouth, a tablespoon or so at a time. The salt will help kill the bacteria so they don't keep deepening the cavity. You should notice a reduction in pain, too.
When you feel a sharp pain in your tooth, you can hold an ice pack against the outside of your mouth. It will help further reduce inflammation in your jaw. Make sure you use a thin cloth between your mouth and the ice to prevent injury to the skin.
For more information and tips, speak with your family dentist.