Toothache Treatment

Reviewed by Alfred D. Wyatt Jr., DMD on February 27, 2020

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

  • If swelling and pain occur immediately after treatment, apply cold compresses to the outside of the mouth or cheek for the first 24-36 hours.
  • Do not put aspirin against gums near aching tooth. It can burn gum tissue.

3. When to See a Dentist

See a dentist if:

  • The person has any pain whether it resolves or not. Even short lived pain can indicate a dental problem that needs attention.

4. Follow Up

If you seek dental care:

  • The dentist will examine the person's teeth and may take an X-ray in order to diagnose the origin of the pain and make treatment recommendations.
  • If there are signs of infection, the dentist may prescribe an antibiotic.
  • Treatment for TMJ may include a mouth guard to prevent tooth grinding, stress reduction techniques, or surgery.
WebMD Medical Reference



Cleveland Clinic: "Handling Dental Emergencies."

American Dental Association: "Dental Emergencies" and "TMJ/TMD (Facial Pain)."

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry: "Emergency Care."

Merck Manuals: "Toothache and Infection."


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