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Help! My Tooth is Killing Me

Aug 17, 2007
In the past eight years, I have talked to thousands of people with tooth pain. With my job with an Endodontist or root canal specialist, I had opportunities every day to soothe nerves, answer questions and give comfort to those in pain and fear of root canals.

To 'outsiders' my job seemed somewhat morbid. I'd get comments like, "you work at a root canal office? Yuk, that can't be much fun". Actually, it was very rewarding. It was my experience that people are at their best when in pain and need your help.

Take note, though. If you are in pain and need help right away, it will not help to be demanding of your dentist or others. If you call your dentist and they cannot see you right away, explain that you are in misery ask to be put on their emergency call list. If you do not hear back from them in a few hours, call back and nicely explain, again, that you desperately need help. If they are unable or unwilling to help you or are uncooperative, ask for a referral (name and number) to an Endodontist.

Call the Endodontist and explain that you are in pain and your dentist cannot fit you into their schedule. Ask to be put on the Endodontist emergency call list and keep in touch with them once or twice a day at the most, until they can work you in. This works most of the time if you currently have no dentist. It depends on how full their schedule is.

Do not ask for special favors concerning the payment if you want to be seen right away. Do discuss payment policy and make sure you understand what is required of you because most Endodontist have a different financial policy than general dentists.

So what can you do in the mean time for toothache relief?

First, try taking an anti-inflammatory like Ibuprofen (such as Advil(tm) unless you've been advised not to by your medical doctor. Follow the maximum dosage stated on the bottle.
If this does not alleviate the pain, try adding acetaminophen (Tylenol(tm) in between the doses of Ibuprofen. In other words, take Ibuprofen, and then 4 hours later take acetaminophen, and continue alternating these medications every 4 hours.

These medications work differently and work well together to help with pain and are readily available over the counter at any drug store or supermarket. Ask your pharmacist how much you can safely take and discuss any interactions it may have with your current medications before taking them.

Do not apply aspirin or any pain medication in pill form directly to the tooth or gum as it may contain ingredients that will burn the area.

Over the counter oral numbing products, like Ambesol“ or Orajel(tm), can help temporarily, as does Oil of Cloves. Ask your pharmacist for his advice, if you can get to a pharmacy that is open.

A cold pack pressed to the cheek outside the painful area can be helpful. You can make one with a towel and ice cubes.

Rubbing a cold ice cube over your cheek has been recommended, also. Pain follows a 'cycle' of nerves. The cold sensation formed when rubbing ice on the cheek diverts the pain from your tooth to your cheek area. Yes, it may burn somewhat, but has been known to work.

Sometimes it helps to rinse your mouth with lukewarm salt water, one-teaspoon of salt in one cup of water.

The main thing is to try to stay calm. Getting your blood pressure up will only make the pain worse. Sit in an upright position as opposed to lying down to keep pressure from your head area.

IMPORTANT: These are emergency stopgap methods successfully tried by many. If you are allergic to any medications, or are taking other medications these might interfere with, seek proper medical advice and ask your doctor or pharmacist. These instructions are for those people that know they can take over-the-counter medication with no problems or side effects and in no way claims to take the place of professional or medical advice.
About the Author
Debbie Boynton has worked in dental field for eight years. Find more info at:
Toothache and Root Canal Help
Use this article on your website as long as this resource box is included and this article remains unchanged. ©2006 Debbie L Boynton
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