Have you been tossing and turning all night because of an intense toothache? If so, you’re probably thinking that you should call your emergency dentist first thing in the morning when they open. That’s the smart thing to do – your dentist can target the source of your pain and bring you relief right away. But how can you get some shuteye in the meantime? These five tips may help you temporarily soothe the pain and fall asleep when you have a stubborn toothache at night.
1. Take Over-the-Counter Pain Medication
Many store-bought pain medications can relieve minor tooth pain long enough for you to get to sleep. Ibuprofen (Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol), and aspirin are often the most effective options for toothache. Just be sure that if you take aspirin, do NOT directly apply it to the hurting area; it could create a burning sensation in your gums that makes your whole situation worse.
Additionally, you could use an oral numbing gel or paste to dull the pain. These products often contain benzocaine, a potent pain reliever.
2. Elevate Your Head
As a rule of thumb, propping up a sore body part is a good idea to relieve discomfort. In the case of a toothache, elevating your head prevents blood from rushing to the area, which could intensify the pain and end up keeping you awake. Try to sleep on at least two or three pillows. If you don’t have enough pillows, you can fold up an extra blanket, shirt, or another article of clothing to create more elevation.
3. Rinse with Saltwater
Dissolve one teaspoon of table salt into an eight-ounce glass of warm water. Rinse your mouth with this solution for about thirty seconds, then spit it out. This not only soothes irritated oral tissues, but also acts as a disinfectant by reducing the number of harmful bacteria in your mouth.
4. Use an Ice Pack
Wrap an ice pack in a clean cloth and apply it to the hurting side of your face. This can help cut down on pain as well as swelling, which is especially helpful if your toothache is the result of an infection. Just be sure to only apply the ice pack for ten minutes at a time. Then, wait ten minutes before applying it again.
5. Avoid Foods That Will Aggravate Your Toothache
Certain foods and beverages can worsen a toothache, particularly if the pain was caused by a cavity. For a few hours before bed, stay away from items that are cold, hot, spicy, or acidic.
Very few things are as frustrating as being unable to sleep due to a toothache at night. With these tips, though, you should be able to get enough rest until you can call your dentist the next morning!
About the Author
With almost 20 years of experience, state-of-the-art dental technology, and same-day emergency appointments, Dr. Darren Koch provides outstanding care for patients dealing with toothaches and other dental emergencies. He’ll get to the bottom of your tooth pain and bring you the relief you need right away. If you’re looking for an emergency dentist in Cary, NC, contact Dr. Koch’s office by calling 919-859-6633.