Toothache is sometimes impossible to tolerate, and you don't need to," experts say. Before visiting the dentist, it is important to take care of safe and effective pain relief, which can be provided by over-the-counter medications.
What medications from your home medicine cabinet can soothe a toothache?
What other over-the-counter remedies can be used if you have contraindications to medications?
Do not tolerate, but act: analgesics and NSAIDs
Tooth decay, tooth damage, gum disease or wisdom teeth - there can be several causes of toothache, but only your doctor can pinpoint them. The first thing experts recommend for an acute toothache is over-the-counter analgesics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These medications are probably in your home medicine cabinet. If not, they can be purchased at any pharmacy.
Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin)
A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic effects, so it is often used as an over-the-counter, toothache pain reliever. NSAIDs block COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes, which are involved in the synthesis of prostaglandins, hormones that cause fever and inflammation and increase pain sensitivity.
Ibuprofen is available in tablets, liquid gel capsules and suspensions . The drug should not be taken for a long time, as it can cause gastric ulcers.
- Side effects: peptic ulcer, headache, nausea, upset stomach, vomiting.
Naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosyn)
The medication also belongs to the group of NSAIDs that are often recommended for toothache. In a study on the analgesic effects of Naproxen, American scientists proved that the drug is as effective for acute postoperative toothache as the narcotic painkiller Vicodin. Naproxen is also not recommended for long-term use, as it can cause stomach ulcers. At the same time, experts warn: the risk may be even higher, since the drug is eliminated from the body much longer than other NSAIDs.
- Side effects: GI upset, heartburn, headache, drowsiness.
Aspirin, acetylsalicylic acid (Anacin, Bayer, Bufferin, Excedrin)
Aspirin is clinically proven to be effective for mild toothache, as well as for moderate and severe toothache. The drug is available in the form of tablets, chewable tablets, and suppositories.
- Side effects: Aspirin can cause side effects from the GI tract: nausea, heartburn, abdominal pain, vomiting.
Acetaminophen, paracetamol (Tylenol, Actamin, Feverall)
An analgesic with analgesic and antipyretic effects that acts on COX-1 and COX-2. Acetaminophen may not be as effective in treating severe toothache caused by inflammation. That said, experts recommend paracetamol for those patients who cannot take NSAIDs due to stomach ulcers or other side effects.
- Side effects: nausea, headache, insomnia, constipation, liver damage. Contraindicated in patients diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver.
Diclofenac sodium also belongs to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, available in the form of tablets, pills and gel for topical application. The drug reduces the formation of prostaglandins and inflammation, and is effective in treating toothache.
- Side effects: abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea.
The drug belongs to the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which is used to treat pain and inflammation. It comes in various forms including tablets, capsules and suppositories. Mephenamic acid can help to effectively relieve toothache.
- Side effects include diarrhea, constipation, and dizziness.
A topical analgesic recommended for the topical treatment of mouth ulcers and toothache. The drug is intended for temporary pain relief, applied directly to the affected area. Benzocaine blocks pain receptors in the mouth and gums. It can be applied with a cotton swab or finger. The drug is available in many forms, including gels, liquids, and creams.
Drug-free relief: natural remedies for toothaches
Essential oils, plant extracts and special rinse solutions can also provide toothache relief. For those who are not recommended chemical drugs, experts recommend using such natural remedies:
- clove oil - has a pleasant, spicy flavor and aroma, has an antiseptic effect, relieves toothache and reduces inflammation;
- white willow bark contains the anti-inflammatory substance salicin, which is chemically similar to acetylsalicylic acid. The bark of the plant is recommended to be applied in the form of a paste on the affected gums.
- Peppermint oil also has antiseptic and analgesic properties and can help relieve toothache.
- Fresh garlic has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, thanks to the compound allicin.
For an acute toothache, doctors also recommend applying a cold compress to the cheek for 20 minutes several times a day. Regular mouth rinses with warm salt water will also help relieve pain and gently reduce inflammation. It is also important to avoid excessively cold or hot foods and drinks, and avoid sweet and sour foods.
Toothache medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics, and topical anesthetics can help relieve unbearable pain. But it's important to remember that this is only temporary relief until you visit your doctor for proper dental treatment.