Tooth pain can be intense, but many safe home remedies will make this common ailment easier to bear until you can get to a dentist. Experiment with these easily available products and simple lifestyle adjustments to see what works for you.
Easily Available Products for Tooth Pain
1. Take Ibuprofen. Ibuprofen or naproxen sodium are usually the top choices for dental pain because of their powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Most people can take these safely for up to 10 days unless a doctor or dentist gives other instructions.
2. Use any pain reliever as directed. Disregard any advice you may hear about crushing aspirin or other pain relievers and rubbing them on your gums. This can cause damage. Oral pain relievers need to be taken orally.
3. Gargle with salt water. Even if this feels uncomfortable at first, salt water will soothe irritated gums and promote healing. Mix a little salt in warm water and swish gently. You may find the taste unpleasant but resist the urge to rinse afterwards.
4. Drink water. Dryness is one common trigger for dental nerve pain. Drink plenty of water so you stay well hydrated.
5. Apply chewing gum. If you have an exposed dental nerve, pick up a package of any sugar free gum. Wrapping a little of it around the damaged tooth will help shield it from air and other irritants.
6. Rub on natural oils. Clove oil is an ancient remedy for tooth pain. Prolonged use may cause adverse side effects, but many dentists approve of it as a temporary measure. Peppermint oil works in a similar way.
7. Check out your drugstore dental aisle. Some people report positive results using mouthwash, toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth, and temporary filling kits. The same is true for gels that contain Benzocaine or other topical anesthetics.
Simple Lifestyle Adjustments for Toothaches
1. Apply heat or cold. Heat packs or bags of frozen vegetables wrapped in a washcloth can be held over the sore area. You’ll need to find the temperature that works for you. Just avoid extreme heat or cold that could damage your skin or aggravate an exposed nerve.
2. Sleep with your head elevated. Keeping your head up helps prevent additional blood from pooling in your gums and increasing sensitivity. Sleep in a lounge chair or use plenty of pillows.
3. Meditate. Meditation will train your mind to endure pain with more patience. If you’re a rookie to the practice, try just focusing your mind on another body part.
4. Relax your body. Your body naturally tenses up if you’re going through a difficult time. Hot baths, yoga, or massage may be soothing and distracting.
5. Avoid tobacco. All tobacco products irritate the tissues in your mouth. Plus, the sucking action used with a cigarette or even a drinking straw increases blood flow and puts more pressure on the sore area.
6. Limit snacking. Keeping your mouth clean of food particles will go a long way towards helping you stay comfortable. Try to eat fewer times each day. Immediately afterwards, brush and floss thoroughly.
7. Cut down on sugar. Sugar is especially harmful to your teeth. Cut out the sweets temporarily. Satisfy any cravings with sugar-free gum or tea sweetened with sugar substitutes.
Good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups can help prevent tooth pain. Fortunately, if you’re already in pain, there are a variety of safe home remedies that often provide relief until your dentist can treat the underlying cause.
We’ve all been hurt by another person at some time or another — we were treated badly, trust was broken, hearts were hurt.
And while this pain is normal, sometimes that pain lingers for too long. We relive the pain over and over, and have a hard time letting go.
This causes problems. It not only causes us to be unhappy, but can strain or ruin relationships, distract us from work and family and other important things, make us reluctant to open up to new things and people. We get trapped in a cycle of anger and hurt, and miss out on the beauty of life as it happens.
We need to learn to let go. We need to be able to forgive, so we can move on and be happy.
This is something I learned the hard way — after years of holding onto anger at a loved one that stemmed from my childhood and teen-age years, I finally let go of this anger (about 8 years ago or so). I forgave, and not only has it improved my relationship with this loved one tremendously, it has also helped me to be happier.
Forgiveness does not mean you erase the past, or forget what has happened. It doesn’t even mean the other person will change his behavior — you cannot control that. All it means is that you are letting go of the anger and pain, and moving on to a better place.
It’s not easy. But you can learn to do it.
If you’re holding onto pain, reliving it, and can’t let go and forgive, read on for some things I’ve learned.
1. Commit to letting go. You aren’t going to do it in a second or maybe not even in a day. It can take time to get over something. So commit to changing, because you recognize that the pain is hurting you.
2. Think about the pros and cons. What problems does this pain cause you? Does it affect your relationship with this person? With others? Does it affect work or family? Does it stop you from pursuing your dreams, or becoming a better person? Does it cause you unhappiness? Think of all these problems, and realize you need to change. Then think of the benefits of forgiveness — how it will make you happier, free you from the past and the pain, improve things with your relationships and life in general.
3. Realize you have a choice. You cannot control the actions of others, and shouldn’t try. But you can control not only your actions, but your thoughts. You can stop reliving the hurt, and can choose to move on. You have this power. You just need to learn how to exercise it.
4. Empathize. Try this: put yourself in that person’s shoes. Try to understand why the person did what he did. Start from the assumption that the person isn’t a bad person, but just did something wrong. What could he have been thinking, what could have happened to him in the past to make him do what he did? What could he have felt as he did it, and what did he feel afterward? How does he feel now? You aren’t saying what he did is right, but are instead trying to understand and empathize.
5. Understand your responsibility. Try to figure out how you could have been partially responsible for what happened. What could you have done to prevent it, and how can you prevent it from happening next time? This isn’t to say you’re taking all the blame, or taking responsibility away from the other person, but to realize that we are not victims but participants in life.
6. Focus on the present. Now that you’ve reflected on the past, realize that the past is over. It isn’t happening anymore, except in your mind. And that causes problems — unhappiness and stress. Instead, bring your focus back to the present moment. What are you doing now? What joy can you find in what is happening right now? Find the joy in life now, as it happens, and stop reliving the past. Btw, you will inevitably start thinking about the past, but just acknowledge that, and gently bring yourself back to the present moment.
7. Allow peace to enter your life. As you focus on the present, try focusing on your breathing. Imagine each breath going out is the pain and the past, being released from your body and mind. And imagine each breath coming in is peace, entering you and filling you up. Release the pain and the past. Let peace enter your life. And go forward, thinking no longer of the past, but of peace and the present.
8. Feel compassion. Finally, forgive the person and realize that in forgiveness, you are allowing yourself to be happy and move on. Feel empathy for the person and wish happiness on them. Let love for them, and life in general, grow in your heart. It may take time, but if you’re stuck on this point, repeat some of the ones above until you can get here.
Pain. Wake up. Stand up. Pain. Walk, sit, squat, kneel. Pain, pain, pain, pain. Get into a car, get out of a car. Pain, Pain. Sit for more than ten minutes, stand up for more than ten minutes. Pain and pain.
This was my life from November of 2009 and onward.
It was a stupid injury. I drove a truck (18-wheeler) with a tight clutch all night. Limped for about a week. Two days before I was going to see my doctor, I was getting back into the truck when the door slowly drifted closed. My left foot big toe brushed the door and turned my sore leg. POP!
The pain was incredible, like getting hit with a two by four.
They said ‘mal-tracking patella.’ I say popped knee cap. Everyone I tell says, “no big deal.”
Either way, what it translated to was that every time I straightened out my leg– POP, the knee cap shifted and I got pain.
It meant that when I walked on it, the leg and knee hurt. It meant that I limped, making the other leg get sore. It meant that every little misstep or unintended twist or accidental bump was like a renewal on my pain subscription. Later came the back and wrist pain (having to push up from any position takes its toll on the carpal tunnel thing).
Two surgeries and four different multi-week sessions of worker compensation paid for physical therapy later, and I was not better. And now I was out of a job. You can’t drive a truck, they said, we have nothing for you.
I am not the type to ask for or accept help from others. I was the “I can muddle through this and make things better on my own” type of person. Damn the torpedoes and full steam ahead.
But the bills were piling up, my pay had been drastically reduced (about $200 a week) for the year and a half while I was trying to get better. And the settlement money was barely enough to cover the really behind bills. And I found out that if you settle, there is no unemployment insurance to fall back on. So I looked for help and found the South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department.
It is a four week program, where they test you and assess you, both physically and mentally. And they work with you to determine the extent of whatever disability you have and help you determine a future where you can work and contribute and stop feeling like such a drain on everyone. It is a program that helps people with work related injuries, life related injuries, mental and physical disabilities (like muscular dystrophy, autism, spinal cord injuries, and the list goes on).
They teach you how to deal with your limitations while not thinking along the lines of limitations.
And this has been the most important lesson I learned while working with these wonderful, caring people. Since November of 2009, I had been living with my disability. But what I had to understand and learn was that I needed to start dealing with my own limitations. I had been in denial, even as the doctors and therapists were telling me that there was nothing more they could do. I was working from the self imposed assumption that I was going to get better, and then things would be able to go back to normal.
What I realized while going through the program, almost in an epiphany moment, is that I needed to change my view of what had happened to me. I needed to see my injury as the life changing thing that it was. All the while seeing that I was not alone in this. There was a community of people, some with lesser degrees of disability, others with more severe problems that I couldn’t even fathom how they could cope with. But a community nonetheless.
I now understand that I will not get 100% better, but I will learn how to work with what I have. I now understand that I will never play basketball or football with my grandsons the way I had envisioned, but I can do it in ways that include my new knowledge of my limitations. I now understand that even though I will have limitations it doesn’t have to define me or what I do, but I can work within those changes in my life to still live a full life. I now understand that by dealing with my injury instead of just living with it, I can now actually live life again.
I know the pain will never fully go away, but I now know ways of limiting the pain. And I now know what it means; it means my body is telling me “you can’t do it that way anymore.” But that doesn’t have to mean I can’t do it a different way. It is almost like driving down a road you have taken to work for years and coming upon a collapse in the road. Instead of complaining that I can now not get to work, I have discovered an alternate way to get there.
They say not to let your disability define you. But I have found that this is not exactly the best thing. Your injury will always define something about you, however it doesn’t have to define who you are. It will only define your limitations; limitations that are only a challenge for you to discover a new road to take in life. For some it will be simply a new way to walk or a new way to lessen or avoid pain. For others it will be a change in career or mobility or a complete way of thinking. For all of us dealing with injury or disability, physical or mental or both, we are all different. But we are never truly alone. It may seem that way at times but we just need to reach out and ask for help, even if we’re not used to doing that.
It is a change in view, a change in the mechanics of living and, above all, a change in attitude. As Janney, one of my instructors who views life from a wheel chair due to cerebral palsy, always says, you need to have a positive attitude and at least fifteen good belly laughs a day.
I got my laughs in today. Did you?
About the Author
Charles B Reynolds has been blogging for four years, writing news, commentary, poems and recipes for just as long. He has been working on several books in several forms and formats for way too many years to like thinking about. A former genre writer from the 1990’s in the small press realm and romance writer on the internet, Charles is married to a wonderful woman who is also a writer and editor. He has three super talented children and two amazing grandsons. One thing he would say about himself that many people would be surprised is that he nearly ran as a write-in Independent candidate for the 2008 Presidential race. But his decision was vetoed by the family, who love their privacy too much to let the media hounds in. Outside of writing, Charles has a wide variety of interests, from history to composing music to enjoying a swim with his grandsons.