Nobody likes toothaches, and those in acute dental pain are often desperate for relief. Fortunately, dentists can provide the best possible comfort with their most powerful recommendations for toothache medications. Let’s take a glance at some of these top choices for the safest ad strongest toothache medicine now!
Causes of Tooth Pain
Several possible causes of tooth pain include:
- A cracked or broken tooth
- An abscessed tooth
- Gum infections
- Advanced gum disease
- Wisdom teeth eruption
Although managing dental pain yourself is possible, it is essential to contact your dentist promptly in order to receive treatment and avoid the risk of additional problems.
What to consider when taking pain relievers
When selecting an over-the-counter pain reliever to alleviate your toothache, it is essential to consider which one will be safe for you. Luckily, understanding how these medications manage and reduce discomfort can help make a decision easier. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Some medical conditions (e.g., digestive problems, kidney or liver disease) make certain pain medications unsafe. The same goes for pregnancy. Ask your healthcare provider what’s safe for you.
The fact that these drugs are widely used and easily accessible doesn’t mean using them is risk-free.
Some potential side effects of short-term use are outlined for each OTC drug option covered here. Think twice about those drugs that pose concerns that may be especially problematic for you.
Some pain relievers may not be safe to take with other medications you may be on.
Drugs that may be unsafe to mix with OTC pain relievers include:
- Blood pressure drugs: Vasotec (enalapril), Zestoretic (lisinopril), Tenormin (atenolol), Lopressor (metoprolol)
- Blood thinners: Warfarin, Eliquis (apixaban), Xarelto (rivaroxaban)
- Some antidepressants: Prozac (fluoxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), Cymbalta (duloxetine), Effexor XR (venlafaxine)
These are just a few of the many possible drugs that may be dangerous to combine with pain relievers. Ask your dentist, healthcare provider, or pharmacist what OTC products are safe.
Potential for Overdose
Suppose you take a pain reliever with an active ingredient in another medication (like a multi-symptom cold medicine). In that case, you run the risk of overdosing, which can have harmful side effects.
Ibuprofen is one of the most-used OTC painkillers for tooth pain. It’s sold under the popular brand names:
These medicines are available in tablets, liquid gel capsules, and oral suspensions.
Ibuprofen is classified as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It works well for dental pain because it relieves pain and lowers inflammation—a cause of many mouth-related aches and pains.
Common side effects of ibuprofen include:
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Gas or bloating
Call your healthcare provider immediately if you experience serious side effects such as:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Swelling in the abdomen, lower legs, ankles, or feet
- Blisters, hives, or a rash
- Swelling of the face, eyes, throat, arms, or hands
- Difficulty swallowing
Acetaminophen is a popular way to manage dental pain. However, it doesn’t reduce inflammation like NSAIDs, so it may not be as effective for tooth pain.8
Acetaminophen is available under the brand names:
Acetaminophen is especially useful if you can’t take NSAIDs. It is available in several forms that may work for toothache medicine, including:
- Liquid gel capsules
- Oral suspension
Acetaminophen can cause side effects. Common ones include:9
- Blood pressure changes
Large doses of acetaminophen can cause liver damage. Alcohol also damages the liver, so you should avoid drinking wine or liquor while taking this medication.
If any of these serious side effects occur, call your healthcare provider right away:8
- Red, blistering, or peeling skin
- Rash or hives
- Swelling of the face, eyes, lips, tongue, throat, hands, lower legs, ankles, or feet
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
Opioids are a class of painkillers that can reduce pain by binding to opioid receptors. When this occurs, opioids block the body’s pain messages sent through the spinal cord. Dental pain is often the reason for a person’s first encounter with opioids.
These drugs, like codeine, are effective for relieving pain and are generally safe when people use them for a short time or as their doctor prescribes.
Codeine is used less frequently than either ibuprofen or acetaminophen due to its stronger effects and potential for addiction and abuse; it is still sometimes prescribed by dentists as a more powerful option than the other two medicines when they prove insufficiently strong on their own.
However, opioid analgesics can lead to use disorders, overdose incidents, and death. As such, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that a person only takes this medication in circumstances where the benefits for pain outweigh the risks.
Codeine tablets usually contain 15–60 mg every 4 hours as necessary, but they should not exceed 360 mg in 24 hours. This depends on the level of strength desired by patients and should not be taken more than five times daily if prescribed by a doctor for toothache purposes. Extended use can lead to increased tolerance in many people or even physical dependency if abused or misused in extreme cases.
Lastly, dentists may prescribe antibiotics to treat an infection accompanying a toothache. This is necessary because dental pain can become more intense if left untreated with proper medication in its early stages.
Depending on allergies, existing medications that are well tolerated, and underlying health conditions, combinations such as amoxicillin/clavulanate or metronidazole can be prescribed in conjunction with the previously discussed medicines. This ensures that adverse effects will be avoided as much as possible.
Without proper drug absorption from the gastrointestinal tract into the bloodstream, dangerous ailments such as kidney trouble and diabetes may interfere with pharmacokinetic profiles during systemic circulation of restful states. This means a reliable therapeutic assessment can only be made when complete pharmaceutically-relevant information is provided.
Alternative drug-free options
A person may want to address their toothache with natural remedies. Some options may include the following:
- Saline solution: Using salt water as a mouthwash can help loosen debris between the teeth, which may aggravate the sore tooth. As salt is a natural disinfectant, it can help reduce inflammation.
- Cold compress: Wrapping a cold pack in a cloth and then placing it against the side of the face can help to reduce swelling and pain.
- Elevation: Resting with the head propped up on a pillow can help to reduce dental pain when lying down.
- Garlic: This plant contains many compounds, such as allicin, that may possess antibacterial properties. Therefore, using garlic may help with toothache due to bacteria.
A person may also consider eating foods that are soft and easy to chew to prevent discomfort with a sore tooth. They may also want to avoid food and drinks at extreme temperatures and try to limit smoking, if applicable.
Learn more about other toothache remedies and how to treat a toothache at night.
Fighting off toothache starts with a healthy smile! The American Dental Association recommends following best practices to ensure your pearly whites remain in tip-top shape – brush twice daily, floss regularly, and visit the dentist every 6 months. Investing in oral hygiene now can help you avoid dental issues down the road.
- brushing teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
- cleaning between teeth daily using floss or sticks
- eating a balanced diet that limits sugary beverages and snacks
- visiting a dentist regularly
- avoiding tobacco products
When to contact a dentist
Although pharmaceuticals and other treatments can assist with toothache, it is always a wise decision to consult a dental professional. Regular visits to the dentist are essential as they often spot oral health issues before they become too serious. Health experts recommend that one should visit their dentist at least yearly; although some may need more frequent check-ups depending on individual needs.
From mild discomfort to full-blown agony, a toothache can bring immense suffering that requires prompt attention from an experienced dentist. Without visiting the dental office as soon as possible, you could be exposing yourself to potential complications down the line. A trusted professional is your best bet for ascertaining and treating whatever issue may be causing your pain. Experts strongly advise people to book an appointment with their dentist as soon as possible if they experience any of the following symptoms:
- pain that lasts more than two days
- they have additional symptoms, such as:
- bad taste in the mouth
- medication is not relieving the pain
- swollen cheek or jaw
Are you suffering the agonising effects of a toothache? You’re not alone! Although there are several over-the-counter medications, such as analgesics and antibiotics, that can help to reduce pain, it’s important to take proactive measures beforehand in order to prevent future discomfort. Don’t forget about home remedies either – these may prove beneficial for relieving symptoms. Consistent dental care is key when it comes to avoiding toothaches: remember that brushing your teeth daily and scheduling regular cleanings with your dentist will likely make all the difference.