Tooth decay destroys the hard enamel and dentin of your teeth, exposing the nerves and leading to sensitive teeth and toothaches. You need to see your dentist to get your tooth decay repaired, but what do you do until your appointment?
Here are some quick dos and don’ts for dealing with cavity pain:
Here are specific guidelines for dealing with pain
Before you take any pain-relief steps, call your dentist for an appointment as soon as possible. If you can’t be seen right away, ask the dentist what you can do to relieve the pain.
To prevent drug interactions, be sure to tell him or her what medications you’re currently taking. If the pain fades temporarily, don’t cancel that appointment—the pain is bound to return, and the damage won’t have repaired itself.
Your teeth are sensitive because bacteria in plaque produce acid that eats away tooth enamel. Avoid foods and beverages that are very cold or very hot.
Since the dentin layer of the tooth has been invaded by the tooth decay, it may react painfully to extremes in temperature. You may want to brush your teeth with warm water rather than cold water as well.
You should also avoid foods and beverages that are very high in sugar or are very acidic as these both can worsen tooth decay. Your teeth may or may not be immediately sensitive to them the same way as hot and cold, but they can contribute to further decay and more pain.
If your dentist agrees, take an over-the-counter (OTC) pain relief medication.1 These products often relieve tooth decay pain, although perhaps not entirely. Never exceed the recommended dose in an attempt to get more relief.
Generally speaking, a pain relief medication that reduces inflammation works best for dental pain, because most toothaches are caused by inflammation of the tissues or the nerve..
Found in most health food stores, eugenol is used in various dental materials because of its antiseptic and anesthetic properties. Using eugenol at home may help reduce your tooth decay pain.2
Soak a small piece of cotton in the oil, then blot the cotton on a piece of tissue to remove the excess. Using a clean pair of tweezers, hold the cotton on the painful tooth for 10 seconds, making sure you don’t swallow any of the oil.
Don’t avoid brushing or flossing the painful area. Keeping your mouth clean can help, as clumps of bacteria produce acid that can further trigger pain. Try flossing between the teeth that are painful. Removing the food particles and plaque may help reduce the toothache pain.
Some pharmacies have OTC temporary filling material that you may be able to use to seal the decay-created hole, at least temporarily. If you can identify where the decay has caused a cavity, you might use this tactic.
However, some dentists don’t agree with sealing an affected/infected tooth as it may cause more pain and may cause infection to build up if the tooth is completely sealed with the bacteria already inside. It’s advisable to consult your dentist prior to trying an OTC filling.
We love our patients and love to help them form healthy dental life that will last them a lifetime. For more information call us today to answer all of your questions, so get an appointment today.