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First Aid & Emergencies

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Toothache Treatment

1. Clean Mouth

  • Have the person rinse mouth with warm water.
  • The person should gently floss teeth to remove food particles from area.

2. Control Swelling and Pain

  • Apply a cool compress to outside of mouth or cheek.
  • Give acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for pain. Do not give aspirin to anyone under age 18.
  • Do not put aspirin against gums near aching tooth. It can burn gum tissue.

3. When to See a Dentist

See a dentist if:

  • Pain persists.
  • The person has jaw pain accompanied by a popping or clicking noise; this could signal temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).

4. Follow Up

If you seek dental care:

  • The dentist will examine the person's teeth and may take an X-ray.
  • If there are signs of infection, the dentist will prescribe an antibiotic.
  • Treatment for TMJ may include a mouth guard to prevent tooth grinding, stress reduction techniques, or surgery.

WebMD Medical Reference from eMedicineHealth

Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood, MD on January 10, 2014

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